Six hundred people excited about their dreams or excited about figuring out what those dreams are.
Six hundred people meeting new friends face-to-face after building community online.
Six hundred people admitting and addressing and conquering their fears.
Six hundred people encouraging each other.
Six hundred people.
I spent the weekend at Jon Acuff’s Start Conference as one of those six hundred. We heard fantastic, funny, and touching speakers talk about their bumpy starts, their voices of fear, their struggles even after achieving amazing things. People that had been Facebooking for the last two months or two years met, hugged, shared meals, and shared dreams. It was so amazing I feel like I have a Start hangover.
One of the little things that struck me is the conference staff wore shirts that said, “Ask me to ask you about your dream.” What an wonderful thing – a place that is safe to express your dreams and fears! The air was electric with the energy of people sharing their passion and vision! “Someone wants to hear my heart!”
The dream/passion/vision I shared over and over was Barnabas House. I told people about you. And every person responded to me, “That’s so needed!” Every one. That tells me that you are seen – your sacrifice, commitment, joys, and struggles. Hold onto that in the dark night or on Monday morning. You are seen. By God, Barnabas House, and by at least six hundred other people. When the enemy says you are alone, know him for the liar he is. Your voice is being heard.
The transformational miracle of the conference was not in the speakers, regardless of how inspiring they were. And they REALLY were! (John Crist, Dana Tanamachi, Jeremy Cowart, Reggie Joiner, Dave Barnes, Steve Moakler, Derek Webb, Alli Worthington, Sammy Rhodes, Jeff Goins, and of course Jon Acuff were absolutely incredible!) It was not in the fantastic facility at Brentwood Baptist church or the cool activity centers (a boxing bag and gloves to punch fear in the face, a brag table to share triumphs big and small, a photo booth to capture the joy). The miracle was in the communities that had sprung up and thrived in preparation for the event.
We are not celebrities or power brokers. We are pilgrims traveling together on the journey to realizing God’s purpose for our lives. There is power in community. There is healing. There is encouragement. There is support. There is challenge to come up higher. There is hope.
Six hundred people didn’t rest much this weekend.
Six hundred people connected in groups big and small.
Six hundred people celebrated the power of community and I was there.
Come join the celebration.