Saturday, June 29, 2019

Wonderful Week Away

Last week, Heather and I had a wonderful time at both the EFCA One conference and our weekend getaway in Chicago to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

Flat Tire on the Interstate

We almost didn’t make it to either! We hadn’t gotten out of Pennsylvania before we encountered a flat tire. The Lord was gracious, however, and we discovered it at a rest area where the attendant had both an air compressor and directions to a nearby repair shop run by Christians who got our valve stem replaced and us back on the road in about a half an hour!


Our biennial conference of our association of churches was held at Compass Church in Naperville, Illinois, and we got attend it with our friends and fellow LEFC leaders Curtis and Stephanie Quick.

The conference was one of the best I’ve ever attended (and the biggest since the first one Heather and I went to back in 1998!), and there were so many highlights I don’t know where to start.

My friends, Michael Wallenmeyer and Greg Strand, have both written excellent spot-on summaries:
Main Takeaways from EFCA One - Michael Wallenmeyer
One Lord, One Faith, One EFCA - Greg Strand
I was especially encouraged by how many conference participants were not pastors, and how diverse and young the group was. This is the future of the EFCA and not just our past.

At the center of the conference was the big decision we were making together about changing one word in our doctrinal statement. After a long process of discussion (begun, really, about 15 years ago) and deliberation, the conference made the change with about 4/5 of the delegates voting for it. I had the privilege of “calling the question” to end the debate phase and move into the vote. I am very encouraged by the result.

The conference was about so much more than just that decision, however. The focus was on multiplying disciplemakers, and I felt like there was much momentum building towards our shared mission.

By the way, one thing that Greg does not mention in his write-up is that Trinity International University, our EFCA partner school conferred an honorary doctorate on Greg and also on President Kevin Kompelien at a special banquet at the conference. This honor is well deserved and very appropriate in that exact setting.

It was also wonderful to catch up with everyone. EFCA One is like a big family reunion for a national-level family! Our Allegheny District was especially well represented with a bunch of our churches sending delegates. We are so blessed to belong to this association of churches!

Silver Anniversary at the Drake

Then on the weekend, Heather and I got to celebrate our silver anniversary by staying downtown in Chicago and revisiting our old haunts.

When we were students, we often dreamed about staying at the Drake Hotel which has a beautiful view of Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan. For our big anniversary, we got to stay there!

We also visited with some of our friends from back in those Moody and Trinity days, view the campuses of our old schools, tool around the Art Institute and eat some Chicago-style pizza.

It was an idyllic time of giving thanks to the Lord for the blessing of being “us” for all of these years.
We’ve been back in the saddle now almost a full week, and the week has been very full. I came back to a funeral, a wedding (Congratulations are due this afternoon to Mr. and Mrs. Isaac and Meili Finney!!!), two prayer meetings, a missions meeting, a lot of phone calls and catching up with people, and also getting heavily involved in the search for our next Allegheny District Superintendent).

But I’m glad we could get away last week amid the hustle and bustle of conference and fun in the big Windy City to get some wider-lens-perspective on ministry, life, and love.

Praise the Lord!