My in-laws arrived this afternoon, and the party's still going on out in the living room, so I'm seeking a quiet space to write tonight.
We're all realizing that the Elijah Conference is only the beginning. This is just a starting point, and the real work will begin on Monday when we need to look at ourselves, our art, our ministries and decide: How am I going to make all of this better and more effective for spreading the Gospel?
A few people had to leave early last night, so Allison decided to repeat her work with me to show them what we did. I started by singing the first half of "Real Big Fan" in the 'old' way. I was, of course, much less nervous this time, but much more self-conscious because I've now learned a better way to do the song. She stopped me after the first chorus and explained what we worked on, and then I did the second verse to the end in the 'new' style. Reworking physicality is so trying! You get used to singing with certain movements and gestures. Singing the song without them, or having to do something totally different, really throws you off your center. I am now totally confused about my right elbow. I'm not kidding. My right elbow and I have a lot of work to do.
The focus today was definitely on performance training. We've been doing work on segues all week, and this has been a lot of the work in performance training as well. People have great stories, and Allison has a real gift for distilling the essence of a story, matching it with an eternal and Biblical truth, and putting all that together in a way that leads right into a song.
One of our guest speakers was unable to come today, so Brian Speer gave an impromptu lesson on sound systems - what you need and how to use it. So much of it was over my head. I know how to hold a mic and I know when I hear what I like, but other than that, I just know nothing. I think I'll need to grab Brian sometime and say, "Please start from the beginning..."
Our second guest speaker was Rebecca Irwin who spoke about "Starting a Non-profit Ministry". The whole non-profit thing does interest me. Stamps-Baxter is non-profit, so I get to see some of the benefits firsthand there. But with the legal status of our visa, we're not allowed to form a business, so we wouldn't be able to start this until we got green cards (I think?). But Rebecca was very passionate and entertaining, and at least I have someone to talk to when and if we decide to go that way.
We had a surprise guest in Pastor Sam from Missouri (I'm sorry Pastor Sam - I can't remember your last name). He spoke about his ministry, and his thoughts on being a minister of the Gospel. Then he and Johnny Minick spoke about being "annointed" - what that means, how to best use it, how to keep yourself filled and ready to serve. Very inspiring...
There are incredible voices and talents here at the Conference. There are awesome hearts and generous spirits. There are great friends, and great friends-to-be. We ended the day with a talk on humour and planning a show, and ended up on stage for a group picture. There was so much laughing and good-natured joking that it should have been easy to get a beautiful happy picture.
One more good night's sleep ... one more long intense day ...