I just spent the greater part of this week, “Deep in the heart of Texas!” (sorry, can’t avoid occasionally breaking out into song). I, along with about 130 other folks who are involved in campus ministry in the United Methodist Church attended the Refresh ’06 conference that was held at The Woodlands United Methodist Church. It truly was a refreshing event in so many ways! I was blessed to see some wonderful friends from Seminary, hear some top notch speakers, and connect with some other people who are serving Christ and the Church (yes, both the UMC and the body of Christ). Clearly, with a name like “Refresh,” one of the primary purposes of the conference was to rejuvenate, recharge, and regenerate. I can definitely say that while I got an average of 5.5 hours of sleep for the last 3 nights, I come back feeling refreshed of spirit and of mind. Clearly when one goes away for a conference, one is expected to return with new ideas. Oh, sure I have some new thoughts that I’ve never thought before, but more importantly, I’ve got some “old” thoughts that have risen to the surface again. Here are some of the most important things of which I’ve been reminded:
1.) When pouring out, it is imperative to continue to find opportunities to be refilled. Even a very small child knows the truth of this, but somewhere between preparing to teach several Bible Studies and mentoring students, I’ve neglected my own studies of the Bible and my desire to be mentored myself. This week I was able to be turn to scripture once again, not being expected to share it with another. Also, I was able to be face to face with my two most significant professors and my former boss, three people who have mentored me, befriended me, and shaped the way that I view the ministry to which God has called me.
2.) I really love to learn! While I’m continually putting myself in a position to learn something new, I was reminded that I love formal learning! The speakers were challenging, the conferees were encouraging and the workshops were informative. I love to be in a position when I can learn something new!
3.) God knows the deepest needs of our hearts and hears our prayers. I have been praying about something specific for the last year and a half and I had someone approach me to pray about that very thing. God very tenderly reminded me that He hears my prayers…a simple truth, but one that seems to be forgotten in the busyness of fulltime ministry.
It is at times like these that I can catch a (small in the whole scheme of things) glimpse of the work that God is doing around the world (and in the UMC) and I am grateful. I can see the work that God is doing in the ministries of my co-laborers in Christ, whether they are in Wesley Foundations, local churches, or church-related colleges. Through God’s Spirit, each one of us is doing our little part to build the Kingdom of God. Again, a simple truth, but one that is worth repeating.