Saturday, September 29, 2007


I’ve spent the last three days in Chicago at the Willow Creek Group Life conference. It’s been a really good time of learning, but I must admit, I’m ready to get home. Ironically, I came to the “community conference” alone. Primarily because of economics and logistics, it worked out easier for me to attend this conference by myself. I thought I would enjoy the time alone. It would give me time to reflect and plan for the upcoming months. In some ways, I think I’m a loner and enjoy being by myself. But throughout the conference, I kept wishing that there were others experiencing it with me. Others who I could bounce ideas off, or just enjoy dinner with. Actually, there were about 3000 other people who were experiencing it along with me, and I met some of them at lunches and breakouts, but I didn’t have any further connection with them. At the end of the day, they all went back with their teams and I was left by myself. Last night was the “big game” for my team USF, as they played #5 in the nation West Virginia. All day, I was trying to figure out how to meet someone who would want to watch the game with me. At my first breakout, I met a man from North Carolina who actually graduated from USF in 1968. I told him about the “big game,” but he wasn’t even aware of it. At the end of our conversation, I didn’t have the nerve to ask him about watching the game with me. At my next breakout, I sat next to a young pastor from the Florida panhandle who also was attending the conference alone. I thought he might be willing to hang out. As soon as the session was over, I turned around to see that he had already left. So I left the church, stopped by Jimmy John’s gourmet sandwiches, and went back to the hotel to watch the game by myself. The game went great! USF upset West Virginia and continued to show everyone that they are for real this year. As exciting as it was, it wasn’t nearly as fun watching it by myself in my hotel room. Some things are just better with others. So at this conference, I learned a number of great things in the context of the main sessions and the breakout sessions, but I also learned something else. I’m sure there are people that come to our church every week, and wish they knew how to connect with others. They probably look around and think that everyone is already connected and probably doesn’t want to meet them anyway. These last few days have confirmed how important life groups are to our church. There is nothing more powerful than people living out their Christianity together, experiencing the highs and lows of life with others who are also growing in their relationship with Christ. It’s also challenged me to be more intentional about living in community with others. But right now, I’m just looking forward to being home with Anne and the girls. I guess I’m less of a loner than I thought.

1 comment:

Jaime Kent said...

Sounds a little lonely. How are you and the family adjusting to your new life?