I got a slightly different perspective of the !gnite conference. From up in the balcony, everyone looks smaller, the sound is different, and the air is hotter. The whole experience was not as emotional as I expected, but it was a huge privilege to be a small part of God’s work at the conference because of testimonies and blessings I saw.
When the first countdown on Thursday night started, it was surreal to see everything come together, people yelling, whooping, shouting, clapping their hands, and getting excited for Jesus. From the amazing lights and banners that Visual arts and the A/V team put together to the moving cameras and music production that the Video ministry and Global band made happen, I got to see everything come together and all the time that the different ministry teams had put in. Those were some of the more visible efforts, but there were so many little things, like the pre-made snacks, cleanliness of the bathrooms, pictures of the conference, registration goodie-bags, hand-made map of campus, website, and testimony poster that all made the conference what it was.
Starting Thursday night, my small group went around to get to know each other, sharing our love languages (mainly touch for some reason) and snacks in Motel 6 apartment. From the very first day, even though we were just getting to know one another, we all were willing to share openly about our expectations, hopes, things we were looking forward to or wanting to get out of the conference. Each time we had time as a small group to share with one another how the conference was for us and what we were experiencing, I got this small sense of awe and wonder at all the things God was using this conference for. After the 2020 vision panel, it was amazing to hear people share their heart for church planting, committing to stay for 2 years afterward to build up their local church, and the missions team members shared about a renewed excitement for their upcoming field work.
Even watching and maintaining the video stream and video chat with the other church sites was a blessing in itself because I got to see them worship and hear firsthand how they were experiencing God. It was a weird feeling, that at my fingertips I had access and a connection to all the HMCC churches all together at once even though we were thousands of miles away. And it really felt like we were like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose, as one church.
Every story I heard was another confirmation that God really used the energy, planning, and prayers that I and so many others sowed into the conference. It made sitting up high above a real privilege so that one more person could experience God in a crazy way.