As I reflect on the experience of Winter Conference, I am struck by the emotions that were expressed as we wrapped up on Saturday morning. I asked those gathered to give me one word to describe the past few days of the conference. People felt a renewed sense of belonging, encouragement, and healing. Those in attendance were filled with The Holy Spirit, thankful and united. We were sent back to our churches and ministry fields humbled, loved and energized.
We were formed by our time together. The relationship of one to another binds us in a sort of supernatural love. Throughout our time together, this love for each other and a shared love for Our Lord gives our events meaning. From Opening Worship to our Prayer and Healing Service, God was present, shaping our hearts to be more like Christ.
Invitation was on display throughout the conference, starting with Mini-Talks on creating a culture of invitation and sustained by those guests who were invited by Anglican Mission churches and clergy. This culture of invitation fosters a space for those who came to “kick the tires”, to come and see what we are all about. And in coming to Winter Conference they got to know us better as we shared with them the specific characteristics that make us a society on mission.
We welcomed new people from Canada, India and throughout the United States. We spent time with new Mission Partners from Africa and Asia. We heard fresh ideas from young senior pastors, everyday people from the pews and seasoned leaders. We encountered God again and again not only in the various times of worship and prayer, but also in the hallway, the lobby and the restaurant. We were taught new ways to live into the spiritual disciplines. We take all these things back to our churches, to our ministry fields, to our people, and bless them with what has blessed us at Winter Conference.
I am not a coffee drinker. Believe or not, I’ve never had a cup in my life. However, like you, I have other morning routines. I spend time with The Lord. The dog and I go for a jog. I read the Dallas Morning News. But now that I am back in my routines, I ask myself, am I implementing what I learned at Winter Conference? Or is all that just in my rearview mirror?
At All Saints Dallas, I’ve returned to having coffee (tea) with parishioners, attending board meetings and capital campaign meetings, writing sermons, and all the time trying to discern where God is leading us. In the middle of all the busyness God is showing himself mightily. We are seeing a fresh wind of The Holy Spirit in healing prayer. And I look back to our talks at Winter Conference and wonder: is it time for us to expand our ministry of healing and to build on what The Lord is doing in us and through us? I know that the only way I’ll ever find out as the Senior Pastor of All Saints Dallas is to give it a try!
We each have the chance to take the spark of creativity that The Lord kindled in us and use it to build His Church in our own context. Join me in building on the Kingdom momentum we all felt at last month’s Winter Conference. Take time to be still before God and listen to his calling, and then be ready to take risks in your church to start something new. Begin discipling a young person that God has put in your path. Remember, The Lord does the heavy lifting. You are there to say, “Here I am, Lord!”
Drop me a note. I’d love to hear how God has used what you experienced at Winter Conference to inspire a new idea in your church or field of ministry. Let us know how we at Mission Center can help you. We love you and support you in prayer.