I’m continuing to re-read process and reflect upon my notes from the Ecclesia National Gathering from several days back. When Dallas Willard and Bob and Mary Hopkins are your speakers, there is a lot to try to wrap your brain around!
I’ve been to a lot of conferences over the years. I’ve got dozens of conference notebooks filled with my scribbled notes that are now collecting dust somewhere on my shelves. I’m growing to realize that what I want in conferences and/or gatherings is to be formed rather than simply be informed. So recently I’ve tried to slow down, revisit, ask questions and let the statements and implications I scribbled down on the paper to spill into and saturate my head and my heart. (If anyone would like a copy of my notes for the week email me).
The speakers at Ecclesia were top notch (Dallas Willard: need I say more?) But one of the reasons I enjoyed the National Gathering so much is because its small and intimate (200 people) and the format and size cultivates natural opportunities for relationships to be formed and deepened.
This is important for church planters, because when you plant a church there is part of you that is absolutely convinced that you’ve lost your mind. That you’ve gone mad. And you begin to wonder if anyone will think you’re legitimately crazy.
I feel that about once a week.
I mentioned to a group of 6 or 7 leaders/church planters before the gathering officially started (and I think I mentioned it earlier either on the blog or on Twitter) that – selfishly, I believe – I want to come to these events hoping that people will assure me that I’m not crazy. But actually what I hoped to find at the Ecclesia National Gathering just the opposite of that: I want to be affirmed that I am crazy – and I want to be reminded that God uses crazy people to impact the kingdom by calling some of them to plant churches.
After I shared this desire with this smaller group of leaders I quietly excused myself to use the restroom while someone else shared. I left my notebook on my chair and returned a few minutes later.
A little while later, I found this page in my Moleskine notebook where I had been taking notes during the gathering:
We all need people who will affirm us in our craziness.