Well, it’s finally over! The 2006 Southeast Pastor’s Conference is in the record books and I had a great time. I always look forward to this conference for many reasons, but quite simply, it’s nice to sit and worship and listen to some great teaching without having to worry about if the A/C is cold enough (Yes, we’re still running the A/C in January in Florida) or why that person just got up. For 3 days in January, that was someone else’s problem.
So here are my highlights:
#1 – Joel Sonnenberg – He spoke on helping those with disabilities. The guy had over 85% of his body burned just before his 2nd birthday. He has a powerful story of how God has been able to use him to speak to millions. He’s a very articulate speaker and very engaging. I was challenged.
#2 – Mark Davis (Workshop on Church Finances) – Some of this was review because I spent 4 years on staff at Calvary Fort Lauderdale. But the content was excellent. The presentation was great. Mark’s illustration of a balance sheet being a snapshot and the P/L being a video was amazing. I never saw it in those terms. Every Senior Pastor needs to hear this stuff. He talked about a lot of accountability issue that I was thrilled we were already doing.
#3 – Chuck Smith (Monday Night) – I love Chuck. His simple style of delivering a message always engages me. I have listened to ALL of Chuck’s tapes through the entire Bible TWICE! But Chuck drove home some powerful points about allowing God’s Spirit to lead your ministry. Many times we want God to bless what we’re doing because we attended a conference or read a book. But the gentle reminder was to simply follow God’s leading. AWESOME!
#4 – Panel Discussion – This was more of a personal thrill than anything. I was able to sit on the stage with 2 of my heroes: Bob Coy and Chuck Smith. I think it’s safe to say that just about everything I know about the Bible I learned from one of these 2 men. So to be in their company and answer questions was a thrill of epic proportions.
#5 – Danny Hodges (Workshop on the Ministry of a Senior Pastor) – Danny reminded us that the direction of the church is our responsibility and CANNOT be delegated. The teaching of God’s Word is our responsibility. I love Danny’s simple style. It’s no wonder why his church in St. Pete is slammin’!
#6 – Pedro Garcia (Worship on Starting a Church) – Pedro is one of my best friends. I was so proud of him to see him talking to young Pastors about planting a church. He’s the perfect one to do it. His church in Kendall is rockin’! They have a great team and a loving group of people who are committed to reaching all of Miami with the Gospel. He did a great job on the workshop and not only provided a Biblical foundation, but gave a lot of practical tips that the guys could use.
#7 – Jim Gallagher – I loved his devotion about not being able to do the work of ministry apart from God’s gifting. He used Solomon as an example of someone was incapable of leading God’s people without the wisdom of God. I’ve known Jim for about 6 years, but had only heard him speak one other time at a small Pastor’s gathering, but he did a great job.
#8 – Ken Graves – I didn’t get to hear Ken’s entire message because my session was right after his, but I did see Ken bring out that huge William Wallace-like sword and talk about what God says His word is like. It was engaging and powerful.
#9 – Me – I can’t judge the content other than to quote American Idol contestant William Hung, "I gave my best performance and I have no regrets." It was such a huge honor to be given the opportunity to speak. I don’t know if it will ever happen again, but man what a feeling!
#10 – Bob Coy – I love listening to Bob. He always seems to shine at conferences like this. This week was no exception. I was once again challenged by Bob’s heart for people and passion for those that don’t know Jesus yet.
I missed a couple of sessions due to traffic (I drove up from Miami each day. Something I will rethink in the future) and there were so many people I hadn’t seen in years that the conversations were tough to stop because I knew it was going to be a while before we spoke again.
All in all, it was a great expeience and I’m already looking forward to next year!