We had a great time at the Leadership Summit. Every year, our church invests some serious money and time in this event; we take a large group to St. Paul’s Baptist Church to catch the satellite feed of the conference. Generally, they do a great job hosting us. We consider the two-day conference an invaluable way to cast vision, build unity and hear some incredible teaching from some amazing individuals. This year was no exception.
After the final session, we always gather together for a meal and some time to decompress. This year we spent some time at our tables discussing how we were most impacted by the Summit. I heard a wide variety of answers; some folks were feeling affirmed, some sensing that God was really pushing them to move, some wondering what might be opening up for them in the future. Others were convicted that they needed to ‘shake it off and step it up’.
One by one, people stood to talk about their Summit experience. My friends, my colleagues, my brothers and sisters – my heart was warmed, surprised and touched by their words.
Then my daughter stood.
Sarah said that this conference – that she attended at the last minute – had been life-changing. She was transformed. It was time, she said, to walk away from the turmoil of the past and move into the future. Time to accept that God has not given her a spirit of timidity. Time to move into leadership in her church. She said she couldn’t believe that after five years, we were about to move into our first building – that it was time.
Her words were powerful, full of all of the hope and vigor of youth. Her passion is extraordinary. I found myself marveling at this young woman – her words, her ability to convey her desire to honor God with her life, her vision for the community, her passion for more.
And it was as if she was a young woman, standing apart from the reputation and influence of her mother. Standing alone, but with a huge collection of hands around her to hold her up. I had a tremendous sense of our community showing love and support for my daughter. And I was proud, beyond words.
Brian shared some powerful words about the future. Then he read some excerpts from a few emails from folks who had been impacted by what God is doing through PCCC. The words evoked deep emotions; coupled with Kevin’s voice singing in between Brian’s words:
“What a faithful God you’ve been to me
You’ve provided far beyond everything I need
What else can I do but give thanks to you
What a faithful God you’ve been to me…”
I found myself overwhelmed with worship and emotion. Grateful that God called us together to show us, again, why we do what we do. Grateful that we seem to have ‘it’, as Craig Groeschel described today.
Still amazed that I am part of this work. And, at times, terrified. God is leading us to be risky again, to stir the waters, to aim higher, to stretch out for more. It is all directed by him – all for him – all focused on him. And I have no idea what’s ahead of us.
But I can’t wait. I’m in. For keeps.