We had our annual regional conference convention this week. It was from 1:30 pm Tuesday, June 18 through 11 am Thursday, June 20. It was over around 4:45 pm each afternoon - though Wednesday they did have an optional supper gathering at the one hotel (which I attended) - and it started at 8:30 am Wednesday & Thursday.
After holding it in Decatur, Illinois for the past several years, this year it was held at Ivy Tech Community College in Terre Haute, Indiana. It was a little different, since the college people were there, but I thought it worked out just fine. It was kind of odd being in an auditorium with stadium seating, instead of seated around tables, but again... it wasn't bad. Plus this is an hour closer to home for me. It took me just about 3 hours exactly to get there. I took I-69 south to Indianapolis, I-465 south to I-70 West, and got off at exit 7. I stayed at the Hampton Inn just off the interstate. It was about a 10 minute drive south to the campus. If we have it there again I will be staying at the Holiday Inn though. It was much nicer.
The theme this year was "DiscipleShift." The idea was to get us to shift our focus from building the church, to making disciples. The speaker they brought in this year was Chris Norman from Grace Gathering church in New Haven. He works with 3dm, and interestingly enough was my huddle coach last year. So it was kind of nice to already know him. He even remembered me.
I went to both of Brian Miller's breakout sessions on Coaching as well. I am kind of intrigued with this and it seems like something that could be really helpful to me. It seems to have really made a difference in Brian, and even though I have always liked him, I have a new respect for him. I want to be like he is. I also went to Lance's breakout, and it was good as well (as always).
I was hesitant to come to conference this year - what with being burned out and on sabbatical and all - but I am glad I did. I intentionally decided I was only going to spend time with people who fed me and who I felt could help me (because of my present condition). So I tried to hang around with Lance and Brian, Bill S., and the Urban Light guys (including Josh, who is taking my place this summer) and a few others (as well as some I didn't get a chance to hang with). I think it was a wise decision. I also came to conference praying to find a mentor. My counselor says I need an accountability partner, and eventually will need a mentor. It would be nice if this could just be the same person. Several people came to mind, but I'm trying to be open and hopefully God will point out who it should be.
All in all I have no complaints about conference this year. I think the numbers were down. Someone thought we usually had around 300 people and only had about 150 this year, but it still seemed quite worthwhile to me. It was much more laid back than in years past. I really enjoyed it. Geez... am I becoming a positive person or something??? Music was provided by the Tulip church and they did a nice job. The main speakers were Andrew, Chris, and Vince W.. Josh led us in communion to close the thing out. He did a really nice job with it - and Andrew's group leading the singing was very nicely done. My only regret is that Jane didn't go, but it was still very helpful to me.