Monday, April 11, 2016

2016 midwest convention

Well, we survived the 2016 version of the CGGC Midwest Region Conference convention. The above pic is from the brochure and it was our theme this year. The main speakers were Chris & Kathy Norman from Grace Gathering in New Haven, and Dave & Gwen DeSelm from Fellowship Missionary in Fort Wayne. It was held all day Friday through early Saturday afternoon at Urban Light Community Church of God in Muncie, IN.

I was glad Jane was able to attend with me this year. The last couple years I attended by myself. The lack of participation by so many pastors and entire churches in the region, though, makes me wonder how much longer we will even do things like this. Those decisions have nothing to do with me, but I was surprised at just how bad things seem to have gotten in our three-state region (Iowa, Illinois & Indiana). It would appear I am not the only one who has been ignored by the administration.

At any rate, Jane and I had an okay time. We did not attend any of the business sessions - since we really don't have anything to do with the denomination anymore. Our only reason for attending in the first place is because this is the body that holds my ordination credentials, and supposedly it is mandatory that all those holding such credentials attend the annual convention. So I fulfilled that obligation. We also actually LIKE to attend these things (or at least used to when we were included) because it's a chance to catch up with a lot of old friends and acquaintances, and we like learning. This year was equally ironic in that the main speaker is from the church we have attended for the past three years, and Fellowship is just down the street from our house. Chris & Kathy are great people and we appreciated the connection.

We did get to visit - ever so briefly - with some old friends from the region. We saw Eddie, Lance, Darl, Brent, Steve, and several others that I'm forgetting. There were so many who were not there this year though. There was also a good-sized group from our former church, and one of them was even kind enough to come and speak to us. Matt wasn't part of the leadership when we left, so I suppose he didn't get the memo to ignore us. Anyway, it was good to chat with him, as well as the others.

As the theme suggests, the convention was built around the idea of discipleship. Apparently our tribe is moving toward a 3dm ideology/methodology. We enjoyed listening to the talks. Even though it was nothing new to us it's always good to have things reinforced. I do have to admit that it feels a bit odd that the region of our denomination I am supposedly a part of is going through something I've been invested in for the last 4-5 years, and it's led by people from the church I am currently a part of, yet no one from my denomination has ever even asked me about it. Given the fact that my regional director refuses to acknowledge me or respond to my messages, I guess that shouldn't come as a surprise. It still just seems weird to me; and leaves us feeling pretty completely abandoned, rejected, and dejected about our place in this group of people. It's just plain sad.

On Friday, after we left the convention, we drove over to Anderson and dropped off some supplies at the Exodus House. Stevo was there and we had a nice chat with him. That place has come so far and we are super proud of not only the fact that it's still there, but still growing and developing. 

So, I guess that's about all I've got to say. It was nice to get away from work for a day; nice to see some old friends; the Urban Light band led us in some fantastic worship; but other than that... it was just another conference that left me feeling bummed and bewildered after it was over. Such is life, I suppose.