Well, I'm sitting in my hotel room at the smoke-smelling Baymont Inn in Chicago after a wonderful first day at the Arts Conference.
It actually took some convincing on my part for me to be able to come. We are offered the chance to go to one conference a year as part of our training at my church. Since I didn't go to PDYM this past year, and since I've always loved the arts (and use them as a part of my ministry), I wanted to come to the arts conference. I'd never been. I love Chicago. And, quite frankly, I thought getting away could do me some good.
I am so glad that I came! Today's sessions were taylor-made for me! It was as if God made some mental notes on things that have been weighing heavy on my heart, faxed them to the speakers, and brought me out here to hear them.
First up was Nancy Beach, executive vice-president of programming and production for the Willow Creek Association and one of the five teaching pastors at Willow Creek. She spoke on the art of collaboration. I've been trying, for some time now, to think of ways that I can work better with those around me. A lot of the stuff Nancy had to say addressed the problems I've been hitting. Here are a few highlights:
-When having a brainstorming meeting, or any meeting involving creative people trying to determine the direction of anything, you have to have a leader.
-You should always show up to said meeting with ideas.
-You need people at the above meeting who can pre-create (come to the meeting with ideas in hand) and respond (analyze the ideas which were brought).
-You need people there who can think through every aspect of the event or service (details...) and people who can feel through each moment of the event or service (what mood does it set, does it fit the atmosphere, etc...).
-You shouldn't settle for an idea too quickly just to meet a time deadline or to avoid conflict.
-When evaluating a service, you should celebrate what went well in the service.
-You should also define reality and talk about what didn't go well.
Nancy then went over a service that had been prepared on forgiveness and spent a little time unpacking why they chose certain elements. Then, feeling a leading from the spirit, she spent some time encouraging us to forgive anyone whom we might need to in order to better move on and serve God. I kind of felt like I was the only person in the room at this point. And God was pointing at me...
Next up was Patrick Lencioni. First off, this guy's picture does not look like him. Second off, he is amazing. He wrote a book called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. He pretty much spoke from that during his session. But, WOW... If you are in ministry, or management of any kind, and you have anybody working for you or with you or over you, you should read this book. For each of the five dysfunctions, he listed a role of the leader in diffusing them. Super-convicting. I have a lot of growing as a leader to do. I never realized how much of my team's health depended on me.
Lastly, the evening concluded with a concert from Delirious?. They actually recorded a live CD/DVD that will be coming out later this year. They performed songs off of their new CD, The Mission Bell. I have never been a big fan of this band, but after tonight I might be a convert. They put on an UH-mazing show! The picture at the top of this post is actually from this concert. The new songs were great and I love how they mixed in some their oldies as transitions.
OH MY GOSH!!! I almost forget! Our weekend pastor, Rod, has tons of connections out here. Today, he worked them like crazy and hooked us up! Check this out: Thursday night I will be seeing Superman Returns 13 days before it comes out at only the third showing of the movie anywhere in the world! Somehow Willow arranged for a private screening for 500 people and Rod got us in!!! Needless to say, the comic book nerd in me peed himself just a little. Gerry, if I could get you here, I would. As anyone that truly knows me knows, I am a huge nerd. Superman and Spider-man are my two favorites from when I was a kid. I have been looking forward to this movie for at least a year and a half.
I love this conference...