Cecil Murphey has been a great keynote speaker each of the past two mornings. At the risk of sounding “cliche,” he speaks just like a book you can’t put down. Today, he was particularly transparent in dealing with what it means to really surrender to God, not because you’ve heard that when you surrender, you get what you want, but because everything in your life really needs to belong to him. I wonder if I would be willing to acknowledge, in front of a group of conference-goers, that I’ve had periods of time when it seemed God was silent in my life, especially when it takes a while to figure out why.
If I never pick up a pen, so to speak, I’ve gained some valuable insights that will most definitely help me fulfill my calling as a discipleship minister on a church staff. For most people that I’ve met here, the publishing business isn’t a money making enterprise, it is a means of helping people have a transformational encounter with God. Certainly there is a business aspect to Christian publishing, but for most of the people I’ve met here, the spiritual aspect far outweighs the business end. You can see that there is real joy in being able to put products in people’s hands that will help them in their walk with Jesus. To know that writers and publishers who produce materials we use in our church have this on their hearts as they write, and as they plan and publish their work adds something very special to the experience of planning a discipleship curriculum that the people in my church use to grow spiritually. This is a confidence builder for a discipleship minister for sure. And for that alone, the conference has been worth the investment.
But there is more to it than that. I’ve always been a writer of sorts, though aside from an occasional article in a small town weekly in one or two places where I’ve lived, I’ve never been published. Now there is blogging, something which I found myself almost naturally attracted to when I figured out how to work all the bells and whistles, some of which are still to be figured out (such as posting pictures). But I have thought of doing more. The beginning writer seminar here has been absolutely excellent in terms of providing instruction regarding how to get started, and how to get editors to look at your work. Likewise, sessions on writing for curriculum series and Bible studies has also been great help. Mingling with people who might just want to read what you put on paper is also a great opportunity. Understanding that there are other people who are thinking along the same lines as you, and are wondering about these things too is comforting and leans toward some level of optimism when thinking about the possibilities. But this has been an excellent place to do some thinking along those lines.
There is still a day and a half to go, almost an eternity in the way I am measuring the passing of time this week.