Hello again from Phoenix! My first thought of this post is to inquire as to why it is not warmer in the desert? I mean, come on...there's sand, cacti, and lots of adobe around here...why isn't it warm outside. If I wanted mid-50s and gusty winds I could have stayed in Dallas. Oh well que sera sera.
On to the day's activities...
We started with our first workshop at 9am. I went to "Reaching the Unchurched Male: Programming and Planning with Guys in Mind" led by the Two Chads (as only I refer to them...and then only in my head and here on this blog). I was interested in this workshop because for some reason I personally have a harder time connecting with guys that with girls on a relational/pastoral level. Maybe its just my personality. Maybe its that I feel threatened. Maybe I'm just a moron at talking about "guy things." This session helped me to learn that I need to be intentional about offering programming opportunities that appeal and attract men - tailgate parties, meetings at Buffalo Wild Wings/Fox & Hound, and hunting trips. The only problem with that is that I do not currently do any of those things. I don't hunt, fish, go to many football games, or hang out at sports bars. Should I? Not sure about this one, but I am willing to do what it takes to make guys feel welcome and comfortable.
The next scheduled activity was worship...which Jon and I proceeded to blow off in favor of Starbucks and conversation (very emerging if I do say so myself). We talked about our churches and our visions/dreams for their future and what we would do differently if we could start over with our current ministry situations. It was time well spent. Thanks Jon!
We then went to lunch outside on the patio of the resort where the conference is being held (did I mention that it was cold and windy?). We sat at "regional tables" which for us meant that we sat with a bunch of other people from Texas....it is a big state after all. Enjoyed the conversation, but the food was just OK, nothing spectacular. We soon retreated to the inside in order to prepare for our next workshop, but also to defrost (did I mention that it's a little chilly here?).
Workshop two was by far the best one of the day. The session, entitled "The Attraction Factor: How Leadership Really Happens" by Aaron Stern, gave me hope that I can manage the growth of my ministry and be prepared to lead people in new directions. Aaron gave us five "ideas" which he used to mold and shape his leadership team into the mighty force that it is today. Each of the "ideas" is not really anything new to me, but in combination and if used strategically, the possibilities are almost limitless. I look forward to visioning the future of the young adult ministry at Trietsch with those ideas and that leadership structure in mind.
Workshop three took me on a quick trip thru the world of the Alpha course. I chose this session because Trietsch already offers an Alpha course and I was thinking about encouraging a core group of my "constituents" to attend this fall and then look for people outside our church to invite to the next session (in the spring of 07). I still think that idea can work, but it needs some tweaking and refining. Please pray for me to continue to seek God's direction with that particular piece of my ministry.
My fourth workshop of the day was "Spiritual Formation thru Community" with Doug Pagitt of Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis, MN. His approach to spiritual formation (holistic) and his understanding of what the body of Christ should be about were not technically new to me, but they were just enough foreign from what I know and understand for the session not to resonate as fully with me as it could have. I truly enjoy what Doug has to say about preaching, but I guess I need some more time to process his ecclesiology.
Our evening culminated in a trip to Christ's Church of the Valley and dinner and worship. This church hosts over 12k people each weekend and they have gone to great lengths to intentionally program for 25-45 year old males (the Two Chads work there) and it shows in their worship space, their Cafe, and their campus in general. (Check out their website too!) Dinner was excellent. Worship was powerful and authentic. The speaker, Ken Baugh challenged us to be leaders and to overcome the doubt that so easily plagues our ministries/lives/relationships. He used the example of Gideon from Judges 6-7 to illustrate the doubt we have and the way God can use us inspite of what we think we can or cannot do.
Ok, if you have read this far, I applaud you. Thanks for your time. More tomorrow!