One of the greatest challenges in going to a conference like the Gospel Coalition this past week is really unpacking the material, passion, ideas that have been crammed in the heart, mind and soul. Too often notes get taken and they stay there. On the other hand there are those pastors that go to a conference, get some ideas and try to implement those ideas as soon as they get back. Well, unless it’s a point of doctrinal oversight / error I’m not a big fan of that.
So, what I aim to do with the blog over the next many days is to unpack the things I heard and learned at the conference (plus, it makes up for my guilt of not blogging while there – proved more challenging than I thought). I know this will prove useful for me and I hope that (first) it will edify the members of UBC, who I am privileged to serve, and (second) help any others who just read this to process some of these thoughts to be a benefit in your local church as well.
I’m not going to commit to any framework or order of thought. I’m guessing it will fall along the lines of the days and their order of events as well as categories like observations, lessons learned, provocation, things funny, etc.
Observation #1: I’ve never seen more “soul patches” in one room!
Okay, I wear one of those “soul patches” every once and a while. You know, that little hair clump that grows under the lip, but without connecting to the greater go-tee. I do that only because it’s the last bit of my beard that doesn’t have a ton of gray (vanity, vanity). Anyway, the “soul patch” is no respecter of ages. I saw guys in their 20’s and 60’s sporting these things EVERYWHERE. Kind of enjoyed that. Baptists, Presbyterians, “Bible Church” guys…”Soul Patch” Coalition was strong enough to make it into impression #1.
Don’t worry, no sessions had started by the time this observation was made.
Observation #2: 3300
There were 3300 people gathered. Among us were mostly pastors, ministers and many of their wives and laymen. Worship was STRONG…all hymns to start with and very vocally loud, even though there was a contemporary band leading us. Good balance with the instrument volume being where voices are mostly heard. Sound doctrine, put to familiar tunes can gather the people of God quickly. However, the great gathering of our hearts occurred (in my opinion) as we all read scripture aloud together. Wow!
Observation #3: Seven
That’s how many UBCers went. What a blessing to hear such great teaching and fellowship with 5 of our staff and 2 spouses. This kind of thing continues to deepen our like-minded / like-hearted leadership and service. Thanks UBC for seeing fit to include conference monies for your staff! It’s critical for our ongoing shepherding souls!
More to come…