As promised here are some wrap-up thoughts (albeit I got this published a bit later than I originally intended!) on the 2010 PAOC General Conference that I had the privilege of attending this year. I’m so grateful for the opportunity granted to me by my church family that made it possible for my wife and I to go – it was our first ever General Conference in the 14 years that I’ve been a PAOC Pastor.
Overall, there are really two “themes” that kind of impacted me the most in all the things I heard and experienced at this conference. There was nothing really groundbreaking or life-changing for me but it was more of a reinforcement of the things I’ve learned in ministry and a reminder of the importance of them.
1. The importance of working together in relationship in the Kingdom
The message was loud and clear this conference – what we accomplish together is far greater than what we’d accomplish individually. Whether that is on the denominational level (i.e. supporting national initiatives or missions internationally), or the local level (working with others in our cities) there was a renewed emphasis on keeping the relationship strong in everything we do.
Another aspect of this is recognizing that a large part of who we are is made up by the people that God has put into our life that we have cultivated relationships with. There was a great reminder (especially by Gordon Franklin) to remember to thank those who invested into our lives. I’ve had time to reflect on that and I would have to say five of the individuals that had the greatest impact on me in terms of how they intentionally invested in me as a person are:
- My Mom: She showed the power of believing in you as a person. She never stopped believing in what was possible for my sister and I and demonstrated that by her willingness to take the time necessary to take us and get us wherever we needed to go in all the different things we were involved in growing up. Mom always had this to say to my sister and I, “You CAN do it”.
- My Dad: My Dad instilled me the value of hard work and doing things right the first time. I’ll always remember the times (now fondly but then I hated it) when Dad would make me do something over again because I didn’t give it my best and cut corners to get it over with.
- My Grade 7 and 8 English Teacher Mrs. Mclean: Under her tutelage I gained an even greater love for books and creative writing. She challenged me and gave me freedom to think creatively, write and speak creatively. I remember being able to choose my homework rather than having to stick to the curriculum because she believed I would do greater things with that freedom. And I did.
- My Youth Pastor, “Barry Risto”. At a difficult time of my life, Barry was one of the first people to show me I had leadership potential and I attribute much of my being in full-time ministry to his encouraging words and Godly example.
- My friend and mentor, Merv Brockwell: Merv was the second Senior Pastor I worked with and under him I grew incredibly as a leader. He also imparted to me the confidence to eventually lead a church. Further, without Merv’s influence in my life there was a time when I might have left full-time minsitry.
There are many others, friends, and people who God used in particular moments. To many to list here. But those five I’ve listed above are the first that come to mind when I think of who has had the most impact in my life.
2. The importance of investing in and releasing the next generation.
As leaders it is always important to be thinking not only of who you are leading but also who you are releasing to lead. This means that leaders need to be intentional about investing in the next generation. As Wayne Cordeiro put it, “What cage are you tapping on?” – a very powerful image (follow link to get context). This investment must be intentional and will require time to be of greatest effectiveness.
Ed Stetzer also reinforced this theme when he drove home the importance of the church equipping people for ministry.
Personally I was really challenged as a leader to think about who I am investing in, and who I am actively equipping to be a future leader.
The questions for you are, “Who has impacted you by virtue of your relationship to them?” and second, “Do you have someone from a generation after you that you are investing in?”