Exponential Thoughts – Day 1

4.20.2010 — Leave a comment

As I end this day at Exponential I’m reviewing all that I’ve heard/felt/tasted/thought/etc…

I took notes both on my computer and in my journal – and looking back over those notes here before I go to sleep, I find the need to post some of the highlights of what I’m garnishing here on the blog.

My pre-conference workshop this morning was put on by Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson of Community Christian Church and founders of the New Thing Network. This morning’s workshop was initially lead by one of their apprentices, Dave Dummit (@davedummit). The one-thing I took out of that session was the importance of church-brand – not so much what people know your church as “branding”-wise, but the thought and process that goes into building that brand – that identity of your church – questioning what the essentials are and what the non-essentials are. Dave was talking about the multiplication of church campuses, but it plays over into all church-branding, I think – realizing that “brand” is much more than just a logo and that much time/energy/prayer/brainstorming needs to go into the identity you are giving a ministry.

After the pre-conference workshop, I enjoyed sitting on the second-row for “plenary” (fancy word, isn’t it?) session 1 began.

First up was Mark Batterson – a favorite author and communicator of mine. He spoke powerfully for what seemed like only 10-minutes about the ‘back-story’ and just how important it is to know it and celebrate it. His story focused on the story of Balaam in Numbers 22 and the idea that “God is more concerned about who you are becoming than where you are going.” Another quotable, “Thank God that sometimes He gets in the way!” This rang true especially at this transition in my life – I so desire for God to direct our next-steps!

Louie Giglio was up next this afternoon in our main-session. His talk reminded each of us that while we each should be pursuing ministries that model the “Acts 2 Church”, the ‘actual’ church in Acts chapter 2 had no ‘model’ or ‘idea’ of what church should look/feel/taste like. They had only three things: 1. The teachings of Jesus. 2. Eyewitness accounts of the Resurrection. and 3. The Power of the Holy Spirit.

Praise the Lord – we have the same three things! (eyewitness testimony to the ‘dead’ being ‘born again’!) My personal prayer was echoed in Giglio’s words: “Lord, free me from walking by sight!”

After the main session we were able to attend two more “work shops” in the afternoon.

My first workshop was with Kem Meyer – she is the Communications Director at Granger Community Church in Northern Indiana. She gave a great workshop on using Social Media in Ministry. I didn’t learn anything “new” per se, but I did gather some powerful statements that should encourage church leadership to understand the power and influence of Social Media in ministry settings. She posted her PowerPoint slides from her workshop on her website here. My favorite Kem-quote was, “What you put online should be an extension of who you are!” – to me, this meant to be the same guy in real-life that I am on Twitter, Facebook, etc. – not to try and be something different in my offline/online worlds – but to allow my online interactions to be an extension of the real-me. I think I already do this – I just was reminded to continue keeping that as my standard.

After Kem’s workshop we ran across campus to Tim Stevens’ workshop, “Pop Goes the Church” where he encouraged the use of popular culture in media-settings. This idea has polarizing opinions so it was fun to work through some of the issues associated with the opinion.

Tim reminded us that the Apostle Paul used “popular culture” of the day in a few instances to influence the culture and share the Gospel. While I respect the desire to not be influenced negatively by all-aspects of our culture, I also acknowledge the ability we have to re-interpret some of what our popular culture has to offer and use it for furthering the Gospel! I want to be guilty of doing this in wise, relevant, and outside-of-the-box ways.

After our workshops I hit up as many vendors as possible, signing up for numerous freebies and iPad drawings. I also gathered the free resources that were available. I also joined a few dozen Wesleyan Church planters and staff for a relaxing dinner together thanks to Chris Conrad.

I’m looking very much forward to what tomorrow holds for me and my already-overwhelmed brain!