Reflecting on NOLA – P2 – Desperation Conference

Prior to arriving to New Olreans, we took our students to the Desperation Conference in Birmingham, Alabama.  I was surprised how normal Birmingham was since it was in … Alabama.  It was an experience filled with souther drawl and terrible driving skills.  There were good things too like Krispy Kreme.  I was disappointed though that I didn’t meet anyone named Bubba.  

Anyway, the Desperation Conference was put on by New Life Church’s  student ministry in Colorado and the host church, Church of the Highlands in Birmingham.  Evan and I felt that the conference was needed for a several reasons (and I think more became apparent while we were there).  One, was to help be prepared spiritually for the mission trip.  No matter how much you stress throughout the year, it always seems that more could have been done.  Second reason was that decent conferences generally don’t come to the Northeast.  (No offense to Battle Cry-Acquire the Fire but I think you need to tone it down and until you do, we won’t be participating).  Thirdly, to see something different.  There’s a lot to say about that but not saying it works too.

One of the themes that the speakers and worship leaders had repeated was the difficulty they’ve experienced this year.  The references to Ted Haggard and the tragic shootings at New Life have got me thinking about a couple things.

It seems that one of the points they made as a leadership was not to slow down the ministry.  This would have been a good year to say, given our situation maybe we should suspend some of our ministries or go into a “safe mode”. This has personal significance to me personally.

This also has significance to me as one of the pastors at our church.  Being without a sr. pastor for the past year (but our new sr. pastor is coming at the end of Aug. Praise God for sending us a great man.  I’m excited, grateful and eager).  In the absence of a sr. pastor, I know sometimes we as a leadership felt that we should wait until the new sr. pastor arrives.  Mostly it was to not intrude on the coming sr. pastor’s vision and possible ideas.  There were other times, when we could have just said, “let’s wait” but didn’t because leadership was needed at that moment.

My point –  rare is the time right to do something difficult, enormous, and controversial.  Certainly all that a church seeks to do must be grounded in where we feel the Spirit leading us after prayer, Scripture, communal discussion, and many other factors.  But the timing is hardly ever ideal and I find myself thinking about that today.