If you haven’t already been overrun by my non-stop twitter flow of #seedsconf material from breakout sessions and speakers I thought I’d give an overview on some of what I learned from SEEDS CONFERENCE 2012.
The conference for me began in a rental van from enterprise with many from our creative and production teams at NewPointe Community Church. We strapped in for a 15 hour drive, hooked an XBOX up in the van for some dual wielding action and set the iPod to 90’s girl rock and ska shuffle; then off we went.
Getting to know some of our staff on this trip was a true joy for me. One of the downsides to a multisite church is that I don’t get to spend a lot of time with our other campus pastors and leaders. There is a trust that has developed and is still developing among our staff that I believe to be a beautiful and necessary thing when it comes to serving on a staff with people and hour away from your campus. Regardless, the time spent together was awesome. We drove through the night, stopped at Chipotle for dinner and made it safely with the help of our #AustrallianDashboardJesus (GPS) to Tulsa, Oklahoma early the next morning.
Waking up around noon, we grabbed some PeiWei for lunch and made our way to Guitar Center to fiddle with some gear before heading to our first session at Church On The Move (#COTM).
Upon arriving at #COTM I drove up in our van to a guy I thought was a greeter. I rolled my window down and he approached the van. He made eye-contact with me said, “Hey.” and started walking away. To which I responded “Hey.” and drove off. As I drove away he shouted “Welcome To Church On The Move!”
Lessons From #SEEDSConf Numero Uno: If you’re not a greeter don’t pretend to be one.
We parked the van and were greeted by some amazing electronic/dance music playing through the outdoor sound system at the church. Friendly faces greeted us with maroon wrist bands, free copies of RELEVANT Magazine, and directions to the free coffee spot (of which I frequented often).
Lessons From #SEEDSConf Numero Dos: Good music and good people make everything more pleasant. Have lots of both at your first connection point to those attending your church. Don’t wait for them to come in the door. Be awesome from the moment they drive in the parking lot. Also, free stuff is wicked fun (especially if it’s coffee).
We checked out their facilities and store. It was an awesome place. Everything was really open and clean. Very simple to find your way around with more smiling faces strategically placed to answer questions and help you along your way. They were sort of like our #AustralliaDashboardJesus but really they were #TulsaHallwayNotJesusButCoolPeople. There were also some really cool chalkboard paint sections where every day had a new bit of chalk art talking about the schedule for the day or welcoming us to SEEDS. The main artist was a guy they just saw doodling on the chalkboard one night. He was so good they asked him to do it more often. He loves it. They love it. Win, win.
Lessons From #SEEDSConf Numero Tres: There are people all around us wanting to be involved. God has given everyone an amazing gift and most people are looking for ways to express that gift and use it for him. Where are there people drawing on our chalkboards that we’re “erasing” by not noticing their talents?
After sitting down and resting up (trying to catch up from the van lag) we made our way into our first session. There were loads of tech notes here. Their sessions was so professionally done, that when they faked a mistake at the beginning I thought: “Ha, that’s clever they are faking a mistake… Oh, dang this is really a mess up… Wow, they acted out that mistake perfectly.”
The “quality bar” is set high for #COTM. The creative director Whitney George, raises that standard for the entire time and has a say-so in everything that happens in their main event environment. He speaks into everything from when lights cue to the guitar tones and what gear the instrumentalists use.
The time in worship through song was phenomenal and it pointed our hearts to our Savior as we opened with “Go”. As we sang that chorus (We’re giving it all away, away. We’re giving it all to go Your way. We are sold out for Your calling… everything that we are for Your glory.) I felt a holy discontent stir in my soul. I thought, that’s exactly what I’m called to. That’s exactly what my role at NewPointe it is. My role is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus and that can only happen if I’m 100% sold out to His calling on my heart and I’m giving it all for Him.
Lessons From #SEEDSConf Numero Quatro: I’ve I’m not giving everything for His glory then I am cheating not only myself, but my family, my team, and everyone I have the privilege to lead on a Sunday morning of truly experiencing freedom in Christ. I can only lead people to a place in worship where I have been. If I cannot lead in freedom from giving everything then others won’t be able to worship by giving everything.
Steven Furtick was the opening night’s speaker. He brought an amazing message on putting in the hard work or “digging ditches” in anticipation for God to move. Some times God tells us to “go”, but never to where or how far. He’s waiting for us to take the first steps in faith toward Him and put in the pre-work, anticipating His move. Check out my session notes here. It was inspiring and challenging. There were many inspiring talks throughout the conference (duh). I’ve posted links to my notes from each session and breakout below.
Check out the rest of my session notes:
Check out my breakout notes:
Make Art Not Gimmicks
Creating A Worship Experience That Matters
Building A Worship Culture
Beyond the sessions, we got to meet some really cool people. We had dinner with many from other churches and organizations who were on similar missions. It was remarkable to stand in a room and sit across the table to be reminded, we’re not alone in this.
On a practical level, there was much I learned about excellence. There are some little things that myself and our Canton team are working on to up our game in the areas of organization, production, energy, and overall service flow.
I love working at a church that’s willing to change if it will help lead people closer to Jesus. I’m thankful for opportunities to go to events like SEEDS and learn how to do what we do better some we can lift the name of Jesus higher.
Oh… did I mention there was an afterparty?
And there was (baptists cover your ears) dancing….