I had the amazing privilege to volunteer at Exponential in Orlando a month ago!  I have no idea why I haven’t blogged since then, but I think much of it has to do with processing some things I discovered while in Orlando and since I have returned home.

I have wanted to attend Exponential for a few years now, but with Orlando being quite a way from the Bible Belt, it just hasn’t seemed practical.  This year was no exception, as far as practicality goes, but too many doors were flung open for me and too many obstacles were removed.

I heard from quite a diverse group of church planters:

  • big, American church; small, organic church
  • women; men
  • famous, established teachers; grassroots, passionate disciple-makers
  • local; global

As I debriefed, I wrestled with how I fit into this movement; where can my passions and giftings fit into the greater mandate?  How do I fit into God’s global people movements and how do I fit into my own faith family’s goals and plans?

One of the biggest blessings from Exponential was the company I had the joy of keeping!  I was invited to room with my aunt, Linda Bergquist, and her dear friend, Felicity Dale.  The blessing in that was primarily the encouragement this amazing duo provided!  The two of them taught a workshop together: Women in Church Planting Conversations.  Linda works for a big denomination in the Bay area in San Francisco as a church planting catalyst and Felicity has written numerous books and leads in the house church movement.  They brought a beautiful balance of perspectives to the table and I felt like I learned so much!  But, the biggest blessing was simply sitting and listening to them check in with each other and encourage one another in their ventures one night in the hotel room.  I had not intentionally taken the seat on the floor, but as I listened and was encouraged, I knew my posture was absolutely perfect.

Clearly, I was in amazing company.

Because I had some pretty awesome connections, I got to meet some incredible people!

My funny story: My aunt introduced me to a friend of hers – Neil Cole.  I thought the name sounded very familiar, and I said so.  Later that night, I inquired about who Neil was and all my aunt had to say was “organic church” and I was laughing out loud!  This was Neil Cole – only the author of one of my favorite and most marked up articles in the Perspectives reader, also titled Organic Church!  Ha!  I respect Neil’s approach to church planting so much!  It’s replicable in every context and culture.

I might name drop some more in future blog posts.  I met quite a few people {smirk}

More important than all the people I met and the connections I made, though, is what I have come through with on this side of things with: clarity.  I have a renewed sense of vision and purpose and contentment in what I know God has gifted me for and given me a passion to do.  The blessing of that far outweighs any name I might drop or connection I have been given.  After all, one day, all His people will gather around and worship him.  All that will matter is that we are in His presence and that we made much of His name among the nations during this brief blip of time we call life