While there’s no question I can improve my preaching and will learn about doing so at this conference, I’m most excited about being able to take a break from what I do, come up for air from the rigors of ministry and spend time with friends. Actually, it’s the “friends” part I’m most pumped about!
I’ve got planned (at least on paper) to get some time with all different kinds of friends…
- Older Friends: I’ve got a cherished older friend named Scott who I hope to see. He’s “older” not because of his age but because of how long I’ve known him – since college to be exact – which makes that close to twenty years (man, I am getting old). He has always inspired me with how his life has followed his mission. His mission statement? Help others while having fun. Hey, you may like the way he has decided to help others and want to help too. His job/ministry/mission is Fair Trade Sports.
- Friends: These are the guys I see and hang out with all the time. I so look forward to hanging out with Bruce and Greg who are a part of our leadership team. All of us preach at the church we serve and I can’t think of any better men to do it with. I don’t just like them as pastor-teachers but more so as guys who are trying to follow Jesus. They’re fun and lighthearted but also serious about what’s serious. If I didn’t see anyone else but just hung out with them it would still be worth going. Add Chuck Land and his crew to the mix and my smile just broadens knowing these guys are coming too. Chuck (plus buddy Tim Barosh) has moved from the new friend to friend stage as time has passed and I’m very grateful for it!
- New Friends: This conference gives me a chance to spend some time with Darrin Patrick, a person who I’m developing a friendship with…at least as much of a friendship you can develop when you both serve as pastors at different churches. We’ve got a breakfast scheduled with each other during the conference, and I’ll preach a couple of times at his church this summer so hopefully we’ll get to know each other even more. My old college roommate attends his church and for years has prodded me to get to know DP telling me how much we are alike. So I was able to catch up with him when he came to Houston a year or so ago and was glad I followed my ex-roomie’s advice. Darrin’s a great guy and I look forward to hanging out with him too.
- Friends Yet To Be: This conference is put together by people who I respect and admire both pastorally and personally, so I assume that I may find many kindred spirits there among the attendees. Thus I hope God allows me to meet future friends whose company and fellowship I can enjoy for years to come as we seek to share the Gospel to the world.
Needless to say, I can’t wait to leave.
May God in his grace watch over us as we leave, attend and return to our families. Amen.