North American Region Men’s Leadership Conference
This past April 27 to 29, 125 men from 25 different communities in North America gathered in Tempe, Arizona, for a men’s leadership conference. The conference was graciously hosted by our good friends in the City of the Lord Community who allowed us to use their community center and also helped with many aspects of putting on the conference. A number of leaders from the City of the Lord joined us for the conference along with other friends from various places such as Alleluia Community in Augusta, Georgia. It was great to have them with us.
As one can expect in Arizona in April, the weather was warm and the sun was shining. As one can also expect when God’s people gather together, the fellowship, teaching and worship were refreshing and envisioning.
The theme for the conference was Mission and Offering. It was a rich theme. We explored together the reality laid out for us in scripture of how our work on mission is part of the broader offering of all our lives. Seeing our missional service as an offering provides a healthy perspective and gives context and meaning for what we do. The service we do on mission cannot be somehow separated from the rest of our lives. Everything we do forms one rich tapestry of offering and response to the Lord. This is an especially important word for leaders who can carry a heavy load of missional service.
In addition to the richness of the theme, several other things impressed me about the conference.
First, we had 25 different men engaged up front at the conference—speaking, giving mission updates, sharing their testimonies, leading workshops. Many of these men were younger men in their 30’s and 40’s. This was a sign of great hope and it was great to hear from so many different perspectives on what the Lord is doing among us.
Second, the unity in the room was palpable as was the joy and blessing that comes from that unity. Psalm 133 tells us that God “commands” a blessing when brothers live in unity. It has always struck me that it’s a “commanded” blessing. We certainly experienced this in Tempe. May we all fight for this unity in everything we do.
Third, Br. Ken Apuzzo from the Brotherhood of Hope shared with us on Saturday about the “yes” God wants from each of us. Br. Ken described a spectrum of responses: from a full throated “yes” to what he called a “wounded yes.” This particularly struck me: each of us is in a unique place in our walk with God and he cherishes our “yes,” our offering, whether it is full throated or a bit wounded and weary. What a gracious God we serve. May we press on in our offering of “yes” to God.
Finally, the Lord spoke to us about being generous for mission and that much remains to be done. Indeed, our offering is not yet complete and there is more for the servants of God to do. What a blessing and promise this is for all of us! God is relentlessly bringing his kingdom to this world and has graciously involved us in this mission. May we all make a full offering of our lives in mission to Him.
by Dave Hughes, the president of the North American Region of the Sword of the Spirit. Taken from the North American Region’s Newsletter October, 2018. Used with permission.