Each year I head to the annual Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor’s conference. This year was my sixth time attending and let me say right off the bat it was by far my favorite. First of all it was in Costa Mesa instead of Murrieta and that made a huge difference. The campus and sanctuary fit the event so much better than the crammed conditions in past years. The Sanctuary was comfortable and conducive to what God wanted to do. Major props to Brian Brodersen and Greg Laurie, plus the staff at Costa Mesa for putting on a great conference
There were ten things I took away from this conference that I am still chewing on
- I need to seek fresh revelation from the Holy Spirit. Damien Kyle kicked off the conference by teaching out of Isaiah 6. To be honest I was most excited about this session. Hadn’t heard Damien teach in years and he exceeded my expectations. He taught about the need to get fresh vision and revelation from the Holy Spirit. I needed to hear this so badly. While we seek vision from so many places it only comes from the Lord. I need to reconnect to this and spend some directed time seeking it.
- Freedom was the True Theme. With Pastor Chuck passion last fall this conference was the first without him leading. You always worry about a vacuum of leadership but there wasn’t. Instead there was great freedom everywhere. I think in past years everyone was too afraid or too respectful to act in true freedom out of respect for Pastor Chuck and what they thought he liked or didn’t like. This year there was true freedom in the speakers, worship, fellowship, and operations. It created and atmosphere where the Holy Spirit could work and He did! My job as pastor is to allow the freedom of the Holy Spirit to work in my heart and church.
- Mistakes and Messiness Glorify God. When you change venues there are always going to be hiccups. There were a few sound issues and other things but they were redeemed for the Glory of God. It set the mood right off the bat that we could be ourselves and I think it set everyone at ease. No worrying about trying to impress just be yourself. That created some great fellowship outside of the sessions.I need to stop worrying about perfection and allow the mistakes and messiness of my life and the people of The Village Chapel glorify God. He can redeem it better than I can plan it.
- Dead Churches can look Alive. Greg Laurie contrasted dead versus living churches the first night and several things struck me. First is that dead churches can have the bodies, buildings, and budgets that look successful on the outside but be totally dead on the inside. He shared 5 traits of dying churches: 1. They worship the past, 2. They are inflexible and indifferent, 3. They have lazy leadership, 4. They neglect the youth, 5. They lack evangelistic zeal. So he exhorted us to wake up and strengthen what remains and be open to the Holy Spirit moving in our churches. I am going to post those five traits in my office as a constant reminder.
- Lack of Life is a Lack of Prayer. Levi Lusko implored us to ask God for something big. We often fall short because we can’t see the harvest in the seed. Be faithful and sow the seeds and then allow God to do the work. My main job as a pastor is to preach the word and pray. If I am not spending the time in prayer I will not see what God wants to do. My dry times in my walk with Christ are often a result of my prayerlessness.
This is part One. Part two will come sometime next week.