Unfortunately, in my experience it seems that Christians treat spiritual conversations like The Oregon Trail. When we reach a river that must be crossed, rather than taking the time to build a bridge, we either balk and turn back, or barge forward without thinking and end up drowning.
...we all need a guide when it comes to navigating the big things in life - new cities require maps, new tools require instruction manuals, and new ideas require a teacher. Spiritual exploration is no different. We need someone to come with us, walk alongside us, to point us toward the truth and help process what we learn along the way.
"Everyone is on a spiritual journey. We can’t help it. God created us that way...But here’s the key—while spiritual journeys are personal, they’re not private. We are designed as spiritual and relational beings. That means even a spiritual journey will be enhanced in relationship....The inescapable correlative of all this is rather simple: people need people in their spiritual journeys.”
IndyCC 2014: Wherever You Are has officially come and gone. It was 4 full days of learning, worshipping, serving, and surrendering together. Here's a quick recap.
Approximately 2,000 students attended the conference, held in Indianpolis, from all over the Great Lakes Region. This was the first year that Clay and I have both been at the conference as staff, which was a really fun experience.
The main speaker this year was Mike Erre, a pastor from California. Mike spoke on the topic of sexuality. I know, I know - it sounds a little strange and um...awkward! But society is telling our college students every day what sexuality ought to look like and how to use it, and the result is often tragic. Mike shared with the students how and why God created sexuality, it's intended design and usage, and finally invited students to surrender ALL of their lives, including their sexuality, to the Lord during a prayer session. I (Emily) actually got to pray with several students as they confessed sin and surrendered themselves to God's plan for their lives. I can't even explain how powerful that was.
Beth Guckenberger, founder of Back2Back Ministries (an orphan care ministry) spoke about God's story, and how to be a part of it, while also sharing her own story and journey into starting an orphan care ministry.
Finally, our own Roger Hershey spoke. I've heard Roger give this same talk half a dozen times, but it literally never, ever gets old. He explains God's plan for the world, painting an epic picture of God's plan of redemption for the universe, and His ultimate coming victory. Finally, he opens an invitation for everyone to pledge their lives to being a part of that story - pledging to go where God asks us to go, do what God asks us to do, give what God asks us to give, and say what God asks us to say.
It was incredibly moving to see hundreds of students thoughtfully considering this, and then standing and clipping the signed pledge up on hanging ropes, as a public sign of their commitment. I took a video (below) to try and capture the massive scale of what was happening. You can't quite tell from the short video, but that was one of a dozen stations, and all of them had students streaming to them like that for several minutes.
God was incredibly faithful to us at the conference. It was not only a refreshing experience to see some of our friends, catch up with students, and hear some great teaching, but we got to see God change the hearts and minds of students in very real ways. Thanks for praying for us!