Members of our staff and leadership team arrived in Orlando late on Monday night after a day of planes and automobiles. It’s been two years since my first Exponential Conference experience, and already, the difference is significant.
At my first experience, I was by myself, and I’d come off a particularly trying year as a pastor and church planter in Arkansas. This year, I’m with new leaders at a new church, and we’re here after a particularly blessed several months of God’s gracious favor in the life of our church and families.
I’ll try to post daily about some reflections from the conference, as I did back in 2008, but I assure you that I’ll be kinder to Ed Stetzer. I’ll never forget the call I got from Carolyn after my first conference entry back then. I had attended the first plenary session that day, and Ed was the keynote speaker. I was there as a wounded church planter that had financed his trip on fumes. I just needed a life preserver.
Ed instead threw stats. They were great ones, and they were convicting to us all about the state of the church and our need to adopt a missional strategy and lifestyle, but his talk just left me discouraged. Actually, it was a great talk, but in my frame of mind, it just didn’t connect.
Carolyn called and said, “One of your ‘friends’ is messing with you. They left a comment on your entry claiming to be Ed Stetzer.” I laughed and went to my blog to check the commenter’s email. It was Ed’s.
Bummer. In my blunt hurtness, I had unintentionally wounded someone else. Or so I thought. In the comment exchange (and later email) that followed, I realized it would take much more than that to hurt Ed’s feelings, thank goodness.
One important lesson I learned out of that experience? Never blog when you’re frustrated.
If you’re at Exponential this year, I’d love to hear from you!