OK so this is the part where you get really jealous if you're from my home area of Normal IL (or anywhere in the midwest for that matter). Sara and I left Chicago at 8:30 this morning and by 4:00 P.M (mountain time) we were sitting on a beach in Cabo, Mexico watching the waves crash in. We saw whales (no fat jokes about me in a suit) and enjoyed the beauty of God's surroundings. Why am I here? This is the part no one really believes...I'm on a work trip!
No, it's not hard work, but this annual time with other pastors who lead mega churches is one of the most important times each year for me. It began in the late 80's when a few guys (whose churches were then over 1,000 in attendance) got together to discuss issues and challenges that were unique to their situation. Back then there were about 12 guys...now it has grown to over 100 guys and their wives with churches that range anywhere from 1,000 - 20,000.
I have already spent some time with Tim Harlow - pastor of a church of 5,000+ and JP Jones who is in Champaign with a church of 1500. As soon as I got here my old buddy Don Wilson (Peoria Arizona church of 12,000+) started joking with me...he's a blast. All told about 45 pastors and their wives will be here to share a week together. What do we do?
We talk about our churches...our challenges...our frustrations...our joys...our fears...our visions. We laugh alot. We pray together for our children and for our leaders and for our churches. We talk about where the mega-church is as a movement. We compare notes on leadership structure and sermons and all things pastoral. There really won't be a time over the next week when I'm not talking about ministry and the people I've come to love deeply at Eastview church (even if I am golfing, or sitting by the pool, or eating at a marina-side diner). It really is a good time. So I'll try not to rub it in that I'm in a really cool place (where it's not snowing like it is back home...a lot). But I hope you'll pray for me cause I'll be praying for you.