At church, we launched our first conference for church leaders called Make Room. It attracted pastors and ministry team leaders from over 10 states. I don’t know the total of attendees, but I do know we planned for 200 and had just a few packets left over. It really blew our minds! When we started planning for this conference, it was out of our pastor’s heart to share what God has done with our church. We thought, hey, if we have 40-50 pastors here, it’ll be cool. But God had different plans. As the registrations came in, it became clear that this was not because of anything we did. And the weekend proved that too. Pastor John was, and encouraged us to be too, totally transparent with the struggles, challenges and mind-set shifts that we’ve faced these past 11 years. Our honesty really encouraged some leaders. Church building is tough work. It takes everything you have mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. But anything that requires much, gives back even more. It’s the best thing in the world to see God moving and know that your efforts contributed. It’s awesome to see people come to know Jesus, to see families restored, and see leaders grow and believe in themselves. There’s nothing like it!
At the end of the conference we had a powerful ministry time with worship and prayer. Practically all the leaders came forward to pray at the altar, many weeping. As our team prayed for them, I could almost feel the emotions of those early years of plowing and persevering. I was young then – didn’t really understand all the things we were going through – but I prayed diligently for my pastors. And I did my best to help them any way I could, from babysitting to answering phone calls. We struggled to grow past 200 people for five years while set up and tore down church every week. Looking back it looks more discouraging than it felt at the time. Back then it was a big adventure (it still is!) and I knew in my heart that we were building something much bigger than ourselves.