The Beauty of Community

Last January was a little tough on me... Around this same time last year I was really having a hard time sleeping, and was feeling quite anxious about whether making the switch from being a computer consultant to a pastor was a smart move. I loved working as a Lotus Notes consultant. I had a great team and enjoyed it a lot. I knew God was all over everything, working out all the details to make the move a reality, and I really REALLY loved the new work... but last January, for a period of a couple of weeks, I was panicking...

Well, today that same feeling hit me again as I was going over my blog reader, getting caught up on all the entries from people's blogs I haven't had the time to read over the last few weeks. It was a odd feeling and it caught me completely off guard. My first reaction was "What the heck?!?!? Where did that come from?!?!?" After a quiet cup of tea and some prayer time with God, the answer hit me. All my former colleagues and friends are all talking about LOTUSPHERE! And I loved going to Lotusphere every year! That thought alone was making me a homesick for the career I had as a Lotus Notes consultant. Makes perfect sense!

For all my readers who have no clue what Lotusphere is, let me explain. Lotusphere is a large conference put on by IBM which takes place every January at Disney World in Florida. In my role at CGI I went to this conference five years in a row (a few of those years I even took that instead of a pay raise!). It was such a fantastic conference, meeting colleagues and peers who have the same interests and passions of mine. It was just an awesome sense of community. It didn't matter what country you were from, or the color of your skin, or your religious beliefs, or anything. It was just a great time of getting together, laughing together, learning new skills together, playing with new technology together, hitting a Disney theme park together, and everything else in between. Those trips to Orlando were some of the highlights of my career.

I've been to a few conferences now as a pastor... and I gotta say... there's something not quite the same about them. Usually when I've gone to these conferences or seminars as a pastor I don't know anyone else there. And because of that I usually spend the entire time by myself. There isn't this sense of inclusion... it feels more like you're on your own. Most of the learning is very individual or for teams that are there together, maybe that's because there are so many different denominations and church settings and each is looking for just specifics that meet their needs. I can't quite figure out the difference... but I've never felt alone at Lotusphere... even when I was alone :-)

Maybe some of the big churches who organize these church leader conferences should try to crash Lotusphere in a couple of weeks and experience the difference :-)

So to all my friends and former colleagues getting ready to go, have a blast! Enjoy the beauty of the Notes community. It's an awesome bunch to be a part of.

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