A few weekends ago, I was one of 4,000 women who made up the first ever Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference!
It was a conference for women but not about women, which was really nice. I have realized that it’s not so much that I need more advice on the dance steps of how to be a godly woman. No, what I need is to be reminded of the music of the Gospel…how big my God is and how much He loves me. That propels me to love other Him and to love people.
Have you heard of TGC? I am telling you, next time, you EACH must join me! (Well, at least those of you who are women! :)) It was such a powerful weekend.
I have never enjoyed such great teaching!
In the “pre-conference” alone we heard from Tim and Kathy Keller, John Piper and D.A. Carson!?! Not to mention that from noon Friday until Saturday night, we had heard 16 SERMONS. And I loved every minute of it.
We were furiously taking notes!
Who is “we” you might ask?
Well, it was me and about 5 or 6 other dear staff friends! (They allowed Crusade staff women to attend for $50!!) Erin, Sarah, Laura, Lindsey and Michelle, were so fun to experience this with. I even got to see Lani, my pen pal from 8th grade and now big-girl friend! Plus my friends Courtney, Ty, Toni, etc. were with a fun group from a local church in Columbia (Midtown). It was a blast.
The conference was being translated into Spanish, Mandarin and French and was live-streaming to 165 countries…which of course made me teary! The beauty of technology helping us reach the nations gets me every time!
As you can tell, this hotel was GORGEOUS. I mean, have you ever seen lighting this pretty?!
Sign me up for THAT light fixture in my heavenly mansion :)
Okay, so my favorite speaker of the whole conference (who I MIGHT be slightly obsessed with now…) was Paige Benton Brown. She was an Ole Miss sorority girl whom Jesus redeemed and has set free to offer redemption to others, so obviously that’s right up my alley! But even still, she was the most profound, down-to-earth and powerful speaker that spoke directly to my heart.
Her article on Singleness I HIGHLY recommend reading!! Excerpt: “Can God be any less good to me on the average Tuesday morning than he was on that monumental Friday afternoon when he hung on a cross in my place? The answer is a resounding NO. God will not be less good to me tomorrow either, because God cannot be less good to me. His goodness is not the effect of his disposition but the essence of his person—not an attitude but an attribute.”
But it was her “Relationships Required?” workshop that had tears streaming down my face for a solid hour and 15 minutes!
Here were some of my take-away points…
- There should be no relationships that aren’t ministry. (Do we really believe this?)
- How do we minister Christ to people?
- If you aren’t ministering Christ you aren’t ministering. HE IS THE CONTENT AND CAUSE OF ALL MINISTRY.
- The results aren’t up to us. We aren’t results people. We are responsibility people. Those who have the Son have the life and those who don’t? DON’T! (Do we really believe this?) Then we will have no relationships that aren’t ministry. Our responsibility is to be faithful and obey.
- God sends the Gospel to persons wrapped up in persons. (Persons are individuals. We don’t love people. We love persons. Real faces with real names.) Screwtape Letters: “Let him love the church, but don’t let him see the faces.” You can’t be a people-person without loving individuals.
- All people are called and gifted to minister and give Christ to people.
- God’s ASSIGNMENT (not suggestion or hope for us) is for us to have Gospel relationships.
- We must minister as people who are sacrificially humble. Phil. 2!
- Whom am I responsible for? vs. What do they need? We have to be involved in people’s lives not just meet their needs. Where would your people be without you? We are to be conduits of GOD to our people!
- Are your relationships different because of Jesus?
- God has sovereignly set us up to have new relationships with the same old people. Jesus sent Legion and the Woman at the Well back to their people. New testimony with the same people.
- God initiates and moves toward us…we must move toward people as people for their sake and not for our sake (to use them in our program).
- Are people just players in your game?
- We are to move toward people “Look to the Harvest and GO!” Matthew, Peter, Zaccheus, etc.
- Who are the people who would never approach anyone? Who can we move toward? Who can we love? How do I make time for that?
- Investment is voluntary–what will motivate you is not what do they think about God, but what does God think about them!?! It’s not how important can they be to us, but how important can we be to them? 1 Thess 2.
- Knowing theological truths about people is not the same as knowing individuals. ASK+LISTEN…Get the facts and learn the person. How much do I know about them? How do they feel about that stuff? How much do they know about me? You’re not looking for stuff, you’re looking for THEM. What do they like to talk about? What’s up with that? Don’t steer the convo so much that you miss their hearts.
- Go by the person, not by the playbook.
- It’s not “Talk about something that matters.” but “Talk about whatever because YOU matter.”
- When helping others learn to minister, give them questions to ask, not answers to give.
- There are no kinds of people. There are just people.
- Jesus will always comfort the disturbed and disturb the comforted. Do you know how loved you are? You are too loved for this!
- Who would YOU let confront you? We only let people who are invested in loving us confront and speak truth to us. Relationships=poker chips. You can’t cash in with chips you don’t have! Real love always leads to us giving them the truth.
- Relationship=ongoing discussion
- Are they too messy? Not gonna be a newsletter story this month? If you don’t love people for people you will resent the crap out of people.
- Don’t wait for your heart to go to people. God and it will follow! Where you invest your life, your heart will follow.
- THIS WILL REARRANGE YOUR LIFE…
- Good things never just happen. We must GO! Ministry does not equal good theology, it’s LOVE. Romans 8:38-39 We can never say, “I just can’t love this person.” You have love for them because you have Jesus. You go to them in their world.
- Do you think your gifts eclipse your personal holiness? This is investing in NOT fitting in.
- The liability of technology: It is social, but it is not relational. Friends on FB does not equal real life friendship. Not knowing the difference is devastating. People want to express themselves, but they have no relationships in which they are safe enough to share. Be wise.
- The liability of groups: Having a great community group is NOT the same as having great relationships. Be able to tell about the persons in your group and not just your group. Be in relationship with the individuals in your group.
- The liability of fitting in: There is no ministerial way to sin. Do not compromise your integrity and Christ’s witness for a chance to be accepted.
- Are our lives reinforcing what they know about Scripture, or are they eroding the Gospel?
- Are you so busy with people that you do ministry to avoid persons?
- Who are your persons?
Does anyone else feel insanely convicted or was this workshop solely for KCH??
There was so much more to be shared, but it’s gonna take a good long while to meditate and reflect on the pages of notes I took at the conference (not to mention complete my homework for class!!) But I am sure if you’re like me, this gives you PLENTY to chew on! :)