Haven't been able to post over the last few days like I had hoped, but I think I can sum up the last few days:
Wednesday & Thursday (Charlotte, NC) Whenever I am together with a large group of folks who are church planters I feel very much at home. There is an incredible collegial spirit and a genuine interest (for the most part) in the work we are all doing in the kingdom. I am also, however, always struck with how different I am from the typical church planter. I am an introvert in a world of often off-the-chart extroverts. It has been an interesting experience for me becoming part of this community. No one has ever questioned my gifts, or abilities, or passions, but when I admit my introversion, folks in these circles are often taken aback. "You're an introvert and you want to plant a church? How does that work?" to be honest, I'm never quite sure how to answer that question, but what I do know is that in my ministry experience my introversion has always served me well. In fact, I would argue that it has helped me be effective in ministry. For example, I believe, is that we introverts are often able to gain insight about people from our natural posture of "listen first." I can't tell you how many people I met this week who would ask me a question and then begin to engage in a conversation with someone else while I was still responding. Either I'm really boring (which is entirely possible) or some extroverts have trouble being attentive to one person at a time. My experience has been that people who are exploring issues of faith and spirituality often need someone who is ready to listen, and listen well. Maybe an introverted people person is the perfect type for the job! I hope so!
Friday – Sunday (Baltimore, MD) I left the conference in Charlotte early Friday morning. My friend Todd and I (mudhouse) led music for a youth gathering for about 250 Sr. High students. While out to lunch with a youth group we had a really cool experience. Our server at the restaurant found out we were from a Christian youth gathering so she shared with us a bit about her church experience. She told us that she used to be Lutheran but didn't really go to church any more, and that she used to teach Sunday school but they asked her to stop because she was giving kids "honest" answers to their tough questions. It was great. Then (this is the coolest part) when she brought out all the food the youth director said to the group, "Let's pray." so she said, "OK, everybody join hands." Then she joined hands with everyone and she led us in prayer. It was really amazing.