On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, the congregation of Castleton United Methodist blessed me with the opportunity to attend The Leadership Institute at the Church of the Resurrection (further known as COR) in Leawood, KS. COR is pastored by Adam Hamilton and is the largest United Methodist church in the United States. Part of the DNA of COR and the Leadership Institute is to equip, strengthen, and inspire leaders across the nation. I spent the majority of this three-day “conference” listening to speakers, worshiping, going to workshops, asking questions, and making connections with people from all around the nation.
The Leadership Institute helped equip me by giving me opportunities to talk to other church leaders about small groups, preaching, handling conflict, staying healthy in ministry, and a general discussion about the future of the United Methodist Church. I am leaving Leadership Institute with resources and new ideas to explore.
The Leadership Institute helped strengthen me by giving me space to be present. I am a very distracted person and at home, there are tons of distractions. Being out of my routine and being away from home has given me the time to jump-start my prayer life again, to be present with other leaders, and to simply be away. My faith and energy have been strengthened.
The Leadership Institute helped inspire me in more ways than I can count. Even though not all speakers kept my attention (truth-speaking). Being in the new sanctuary and hearing the vision from Adam Hamilton was inspiring. Being a part of worship with thousands of people from all over the nation was inspiring. Hearing about how small group defined and grew a church that is now worshiping with over 1,700 people was inspiring. The new friendships and connections that I made continue to inspire me. God truly inspired me every step of my trip.
Honestly, I was hesitant to go to Leadership Institute because I had already had the opportunity to learn from Adam Hamilton with a previous program but I am so glad I went. Yes, I would have done things differently if I was in charge of the conference and yes, I did not get something from every moment but God truly blessed my time. There is something freeing about going to a church event and not having to run it J
So why share all this? Good question and I am not sure. I guess it is a way to say thank you to my wife, the staff of Castleton UMC, and the laity who gave up something this week so that I might have the opportunity to grow in faith and to be inspired to be the best leader that God would have me to be. Maybe my experience will motivate another pastor, church leader, or laity member to take time to grow.
When was the last time that you got away to grow in your faith? Have you ever been on a spiritual retreat, a Walk to Emmaus, or a church conference? If not, I challenge you to invest the time and money because it is truly worth the investment. Go and make a difference you people called Christ followers…GO!!
Blessings and thank you for reading this far, William<><