Conference Response 1

OK, Catalyst is over. Its a Christian Leadership Conference. All the best speakers to focus and fine tune Christians who lead. Even Guy Kawasaki - not a pastor, a former CEO at Apple/Mac. I've been to one of these conferences 2 times before, and each time I gain more momentum for fulfilling my mission. It's amazing.

One of the things I like about the conference is that it is not a bookish conference where you sit down and fill out pages of notes, stand up and take a 15 minute break and sit down to take notes again. Its an experience with meaningful worship, incredible speakers, and some outrageous let-your-guard-down fun in between.

Peter, if you are reading... I wish you could have been here. Even though it was assumed that the audience was dealing with a more classic congregational model, I thought of your situation and things you shared often and how meaningful much of this could have been for you.

So, I'm going to unpack some of the things that God stuck to my heart through this experience. I'm gonna do it over several posts, so as not to bore you by entering one long post (which this one seems to be quickly becoming), and to help me work things out over time instead of walking away from the experience too quickly.

For today I'm going back to the first speaker and I'm gonna unpack what what stuck to me from just him. Andy Stanley said (in a nut shell) "Uncertainty is more than OK in a ministry organization. It is more than normal. It is necessary." Wow. I mean the reality that God is in charge and I am not, and that things are not going to be certain to me because I see through the glass dimly is not new. But applying that to the fact that as the pastor I don't have to have all of the answers all the time is new to my spirit. At least I have forgotten it if I ever knew it in this context.

I mean as a pastor I have always tried to achieve certainty: a plan that I know will work just like I plan it, a circumstance that is so stable that it is predictably certain, an organization that doesn't run into bumps along the way.

Those situations are human situations. Andy said that those situations in Churches only happen when the church is JUST MAINTAINING WHAT IT ALREADY HAS. A church moving forward is always uncertain because God is Spirit and following Him by faith is believing with out seeing... uncertain.

Just a quick epic application (and I have more Andy Stanley to share in another post). Jordan and Sarah Bentley have made a significant niche for themselves at epic since they joined us about 9 months ago. In worship and in student ministry, and Jordan has become in some sense an overall partner in the epic vision (someone who never failed anything I asked him to fulfill for epic's ministry - and I asked more than worship and more than students often). Well in their faith journey, God is taking them to Spain for a couple of years. Sarah landed a dream job working with students abroad as a kind of Resident Director for students studying there through her alma mater (Azusa Pacific - a sub-par pretender to Vanguard University). For newly weds, both recently out of college and Sarah prepared to teach Spanish this is an unusually GREAT opportunity. and God obviously planned it for them overcoming several obvious obstacles.

Their soon departure (August) will leave some uncertainty in more than one area of epic's ministry. THAT IS NOT A CHALLENGE TO GOD'S PLAN FOR EPIC. IT IS A REVELATION OF GOD'S PLAN FOR EPIC. In this unforeseen change in my plan, I am learning more of God's plan. As a leader I should not be resisting these uncertainties, or trying to prevent them (which if I had enough budget to offer them a job at epic with a salary beg enough to dissuade them from going to Spain - I WOULD), I should embrace them. Uncertainty is my leadership job. It's why I am here. To embrace the uncertainty and find God's revelation through it.

OK, the post go long even though I told you I was going to try to avoid that. Sorry. I have another Andy Stanly thought for the next post.


Peter P April 26, 2009 at 9:38 AM  

I only found out about the conference by your post which said you were already there!

I would love to have gone..... how about a little advance warning next time :-)

Thanks for thinking of me though Bruce, I really would like to go next time!

israel May 10, 2009 at 10:52 PM  

John Wimber: "Faith is spelled R.I.S.K."
yes...let's do it! Good stuff man.

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