I used to be a conference junkie. Straight out of college and anxious (though I never would have admitted it) to be the next big thing, I though that if I hit enough conferences, rubbed shoulders with big-shot speakers, and played my cards right, I’d be well on my way. What can I say, I was 22 and still naive enough to believe that personal ambition, so long as it was “for God,” was a noble quality as opposed to a liability.
I’m not 22 anymore – I’m 32. And while there are plenty of 32-year-olds out there still nursing a desire for “their time to come,” I am grateful for the people and circumstances God has used over the last 10 years of education and ministry to heal me of the selfish ambition I had previously baptized in my own mind. I’ve simply become much more enthusiastic about the advancement of God’s kingdom than mine – trust me, it’s way less stressful! So now, whenever I am presented with the opportunity to attend or participate in a conference, rather than asking, “Will being there contribute to my own advancement?” I try to ask, “Do I have a passion for how this conference is seeking to contribute to God’s kingdom work in the world?”
This is the central reason that I’ll be at the upcoming Ecclesia National Gathering – because it’s an event that oozes authentic passion for God’s kingdom work rather perpetuates the cult-of-personality tenor of much of current Christian conferencing.
Besides that overarching reason, I’ll be there for a few additional important reasons as well…
I’ll be there because I love the down-to-earth, in-the-trenches, church planters and pastors who attend and focus on encouraging and supporting one another rather than engendering a spirit of competition.
I’ll be there because, in word and action, Ecclesia holds up the value of men and women co-laboring in all aspects of ministry.
I’ll be there because humble submission to God’s mission and not fine doctrinal points is what unites us as a group.
I’ll be there because I’ve never experienced an event or a group of people that is so capable of engaging in serious theological discourse without losing sight of its irrelevance apart from incarnational expression.
In short, I’ll be there because I think God is mightily at work in and through this group of people and this event is central to facilitating and furthering that work. Hope you’ll consider joining us!