Now, you might be expecting me to share all of the profound insights from the various speakers who spoke at the conference. But, I’m not going to do that. Not because I didn’t learn anything because I did, but because they said it a lot better than I ever could. As I was walking through the Orlando airport getting ready to be picked up by my brother in the very large rental car he reserved (Nissan Versa – I ain’t hatin, cuz it was free!) I was praying that God would grant me repentance to crush my pride and the Spirit of God would cultivate a spirit of humility in my heart so that I would enter every conversation with my peers with an open mind to truly desire to learn from them, as well as encourage them as I interacted with them for the next several days. Here are some of the things I learned or that were reaffirmed:
- Laughing is good for the soul. God has given me great friends and most of us most of the time can take a joke and it’s a good thing because we’re constantly making jokes and jabs at one another. I don’t have time to go into the plethora of hilarious moments we had together, but needless to say, we had a lot fun in our short time together.
- Contentment is a spiritual discipline that I need to do better at. Sorry grammarians about ending a sentence with a preposition. Contentment is something I struggle with and I need to constantly keep God’s goodness before me, without looking around to what I don’t have and what others do.
- I have a lot to learn. Okay, so you might be thinking “you had to go to a conference to learn that?” – the answer is no. But, being around several of my peers (more than 20 pastors who attended the conference) I once again learned that I don’t have all the answers even though I think I do at times.
- My identity is in Jesus. My identity is not in nor should it be wrapped up in accolades, accomplishments, speaking engagements (good thing cuz my schedule is pretty open) or how many letters follow my name.
- The necessity of investing and training men. This was front-and-center as more than 20 of us sat in a room and discussed ministry. And all of us were invested in and trained by several great men, most notably for all of us were Jimmy Scroggins and Kevin Ezell.
- We’re all growing up. The days of all of us sitting around “the table” at Highview Baptist Church are years ago. Now, many of us are sitting at our “own tables” or we have more input at the “table” than we ever did before. It’s exciting, encouraging and humbling to see what God has graciously done over these past several years.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to be Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, Jimmy Scroggins or Patrick Salmon. Be who God made you and no one else.
- Ministry is all about a “band of brothers.” Dr. Mohler spoke and wrote about this years ago and I think about it all the time, particularly these past several days. Though only a handful of us have the privilege of working together now, we all in a way work with one another because most of us (except Danny Donato) call, text, and e-mail one another pretty regularly and almost always the content of our calls, texts and e-mails is ministry-related. This is an invaluable aspect of doing ministry with a band of brothers and one I don’t take forgranted.
- You need to have thick skin to be part of the Highview crowd. If you’re reading this and you don’t know what I’m referring to, well, uh, sorry. But if you’re part of the Highview crowd than you know exactly what I mean (getting “punk’d”, Dooley’s hair [or lack thereof], Donato’s commitment to theology but not to philosophy, sprinkling babies or being biblical [ouch], being busy at a staff meeting, doing a better job at training interns, finally getting married, and various other comments from all sorts of men that I love, respect and am privileged to call friends).
Feel free to share whatever you learned (or didn’t). Much love to you guys.