In November I found myself in Alabama.
I wasn’t there for a football game or family reunion. I had traveled thousands of miles to attend a one-day event for ministry leaders called Idea Day. Idea Day is a day to share ideas for pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and all ministry leaders. We came to share and receive ideas; and this is precisely what we accomplished. But the ideas received at the 5th Idea Day event were not the highlight of my trip.
My mind drifts back to 2 moments that meant more to me than any idea. The 1st took place in a friend’s office the night before Idea Day. We spoke of ministry frustrations. We spoke of personal heartaches. We spoke of God’s increasing mercy. We laughed together. We cried together. That pastor and I share much history and I love him like a brother.
The 2nd moment was the night of Idea Day. After dismissal around 6:00pm I joined a few dear friends for dinner at the Texas Roadhouse Grill. Each of these men are giant encouragements, deeply in love with Jesus, and powerful ministers of the Gospel. We spoke of the future! We spoke of dreams, goals, and visions. We spoke of denominational issues, national tragedies, and Gospel solutions. We laughed together. We cried together. We threw peanut shells on the ground together. I love those men.
Over the last 30 days I have thought of those 2 moments often, and I’ve come to a conclusion. One of the great values in Idea Day is…
1. Being with Someone who Understands
I’m a blessed pastor. I have a church that truly does love me. Not a week goes by when a man like Tedd Lauber doesn’t stop me, look me in the eye, express his love, and hug me. My small group holds me up in prayer and knows many of my personal struggles. My deacons are constantly looking out for my welfare and pray for me daily. My team/staff stand with me and work shoulder to shoulder in the trenches of life and ministry. But there is nothing sweeter than sitting with a group ministers who know what it is that you do and are walking the same path that you walk.
2. Letting your Guard Down Completely
I grew up in the ministry as a typical, precocious, PK. You learn pretty quickly that you’d better act “right” when people are around or you’ll hear about it when people aren’t around. Though this is not necessarily a bad habit to form (for some in our society could benefit from learning a bit of decorum), it does lead to a life that can often be solitary and cloistered. I’ve learned that I have multiple layers of “guard” that I continually raise or lower depending on the company I am keeping. The more accepted I feel, the more comfortable I become, and the more relaxed I am. This is why I love Idea Day!
For me, there is nothing like sitting with other ministers who genuinely love and accept you. The culture demands that I change! The church demands that I lead! The kids demand that I father! The denomination demands that I conform! The enemy demands that I quit! But these other ministers demand only that I be myself and enjoy their company. It’s just so very refreshing.
3. Developing and Deepening Friendships
Josh Irmler and I have been friends since the age of 14. We met while working at West Branch of the Bill Rice Ranch. This is going to sound pretentious and possibly fictitious but I assure you that it is true. Even at that early age we spent time in prayer together, dreaming of our future ministries, charting out our preaching calendars, discussing music, preaching styles, and ministry philosophies. Sadly, that relationship could easily dry up if we didn’t spend strategic time deepening it. This is why I need the fellowship that Idea Day provides.
This is an aspect of Idea Day that we often ignore. We are all about the ideas and forget to highlight the simple joys of ministry friendships. Prior to Idea Day I didn’t even know some of my dearest friends like Eric Tastet, Dave Abberger, Jake Potter, Jeremy Rands, Tony Liuzzo, Jonathan Blankenship, & George Riddell.
Now I’m looking forward to January 24th! For this is the day we will be bringing Idea Day back to Las Vegas. It promises to be the biggest Idea Day event we’ve ever seen with 150 registered ministry leaders, multiple round-tables, new coaching seminars, all held in our brand new church building. Ideas will be flowing like never before as we discuss fascinating concepts like Leading Change in an Established Church, Creating a Staff Culture, Financing the Next Step, Creating Sermon Sets & Props, Effective Small Groups, and the Art of Leading Up. Ideas? You’ll get more than you can handle! But what I think I’m looking forward to most is simply spending some time with other ministers of the Gospel of Christ.
If you’d like to join us for #IdeaDayWest 2017 I want to encourage you to register for the event right away! Register before January 5th to receive better pricing.
Register at www.ideaday.cc
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Bob MorrisseyDecember 26, 2016 at 6:45 pm
There really is nothing like a community of encouragement and support of people who understand what you are doing and what you live for. Thanks for all you do.
Leon StevensDecember 27, 2016 at 12:48 am
Great words of wisdom and encouragement…I’m looking forward to attending on January 24th with a pastor friend of mine from Nigeria….
Daniel HesterDecember 30, 2016 at 1:38 am
Josh, thanks for the article. I agree wholeheartedly. As a fellow, PK and now pastor, I know exactly what you were talking about and have lived my most of my life like that as well. The mental fatigue that comes from always being on guard and on edge is probably the toughest part for me. When we go out of town, we love to go and almost “hide” for a couple of days just to have the mental break. I loved Idea Day and I was glad to be able to take some of the ideas and use them in our ministry, but most importantly, I enjoyed the fellowship and comradery with others who are also in the ministry. I am looking forward to being back in Cincinnati in May!