Collyde Summit Day 1 – Joan Ball’s Zombie Apocalypse & Links to Other Workshop Speakers – Post 3 #Collyde13

I’ve been blogging about the Collyde Summit – for the context, check out Post 1 and Post 2 but at the moment, I’ve been thinking about the workshops. Yesterday I wrote about Mako Fujimora, today is on Joan Ball. I first ran into Joan at the Collyde gathering in 2010 (the one affectionally known as the “Beta-Collyde”). She’s among the most interesting people you’ll meet at these types of things – generous, conversational, and energetic – it was a good thing One Village was there giving out coffee, otherwise I might not have been able to keep up with her.

IMG_0941Joan began her workshop by summarizing her coming to faith story as it was just 10 years ago she became a Christian. You can read her story in her book, Flirting with Faith. I like the way she shares her story – she had a lot of ups and downs – the same as everyone else. And while it’s wonderful how many people find Jesus during a difficult crisis in the valley, Joan actually goes through a different experience. As she mentioned, she was living a normal life, even a successful one by some standards, but after becoming a Christian, her life goes through a downturn.  Her family is met with financial hurdles, job loss, long periods of life-frustration and significant changes in their family dynamics. I wish she could have shared more here but at least we knew there was no prosperity gospel coming.

During her talk she stressed the need to “wrestle with the now.” Which in so many words, was a theme that Margaret Feinberg would also emphasize. She also admitted that she was intrigued by the Zombie Apocalypse (Hey who isn’t? I even included zombies in a sermon back in the fall which was never recorded – zombie at the sound board or zombie conspiracy? Hmmm…)

Anyway, she said we can all march towards God in our own way and while she thought her calling was in writing, speaking and teaching, she did realize that if the zombie apocalypse happened, her calling wouldn’t survive. Hence she felt the need to dig deeper. Which moved her to ask all of us, “Would you calling in life survive the zombie apocalypse?

As mentioned, I think about zombies too, but I can’t say I have ever asked myself if my calling would survive the zombie apocalypse. I decided not to take that question literally. And I don’t want to tell you what to think or feel but let me encourage you to take the question hyperbolic. I think of the nature of calling quite often but It’s an over-used term meaning all sorts of different thing and worse, it’s often used as a tool of self-justification. Still, calling is a necessary term as I see it leading to identity and mission.

What Joan wants us to consider is more about what the question means. I mean from what I understand of the zombie apocalypse, everyone’s calling is centered on survival, the preservation of life, and resisting the advancing evil. Most of us are going to give up on the idea of fair-trade sustainable resources and focus on whether there is enough gas to operate the chainsaw. Sustainability takes on a new idea there.

The question is really about does our calling have endurance? Does it have any roots in eternity, is it part of the big picture, does it make the world any better, does it have an impact in the Kingdom of God? Joan later added, “Some think fi we are not successful then God isn’t in it.” Those are wise words especially in our often hyper-pragmatic framework.

It was an excellent workshop, the Q&A reinforced that as personal questions were being asked seeking wisdom in discerning God’s will for one’s life. Joan even went so far in offering her email address for those who wanted to engage further. For more, check out her book Flirting with Faith: My Spiritual Journey from Atheism to a Faith-Filled Life and follow Joan on Twitter

It was a great start to Collyde and I wish I could offer the same reviews to all the workshops but for the sake of your time, let me give a few highlights:

Joy Eggerichs from Love and Respect (Now) who does research on the faith of 18-30 year olds (Millennials!) and offers relationship advice gave an energetic presentation in the sanctuary. It’s hard to speak for what an entire generation believes but it’s needed work. I wasn’t able to sit in on Joy’s entire workshop, so I’m not sure I “get her”. Could be a Northwest -Northeast thing, I don’t know but let me point you to Joy’s story here here on a Youtube video which includes her account of going through a time of heartbreak and now serving at Love and Respect (Now). She has a lot of videos you can click through, comes from an active ministry family and you can follow her on Twitter here.

Segun Aiyegbusi gave a workshop/sermon as well. So if you snuck into the chapel for a mid-afternoon nap, Egun probably kept you from it. He’s the pastor of Young adult ministries at theREMIX which is a ministry of Grace the Church on the Mount, Netcong, NJ and you can follow him on Twitter here and check out his site Shegz N’ Stuff.

Christine Jeske gave an insightful presentation on micro finance and the nature of work and what we can do. I was able to listen to most of it. Not only was it well-delivered during such a tough afternoon spot (I think much of the collective attention was almost spent by then) but the content on global poverty and what can be done found the balance between being too guilt-driven and realistic. I think most of us feel, we can contribute to the good here.
Fore more check out her blog Into the Mud which is also the title of a book she wrote a couple years ago.
and has recently co-authored one with her husband Adam, The Ordinary Adventure: Settling Down Without Settling and you can follow her on Twitter here.

IMG_0946Last but certainly not least, Jonathan Golden gave a workshop presentation on coffee and the nature of fair-trade. If you have been to a large Christian conference within the last 5 years, chances are Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee was there handing out free coffee. I know what you’re thinking, free coffee is never good – this is simply not the case with Land of a Thousand Hills.

Here’s what you really need to know – Thousand HIlls Coffee is excellent – It really is. Fortunately there are a lot of great coffee non-profits and Thousand Hills is way up there. I would love to encourage you to drink fair trade coffee exclusively (they also have tea!) and see if you can get your church on-board. It’s affordable, it tastes great and it’s just.
Here’s what else you need to know, their story begins with gathering the former warring people of Rwanda specifically the Tutsi and Hutu tribes. You can learn more here but know that it’s great redemptive work. I’m grateful for their work, their coffee and their story. Follow them on Twitter here.

All said, the pre-conference workshops gave a lot ti think about it and I liked that many of them had a missional-social justice feel to them. Which is a big part of Collyde’s vision. They really want to see people in NJ/NY/PA serve together which is why they created – “A Christ-centered, project-based platform for churches and non-profits. Visit their site at


  1. […] I’ve been blogging about the Collyde Summit. You can check them out here Post 1, Post 2, & Post 3. […]

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