So today was the big day - the day I would get to see Willowcreek for the first time!! Now I am sceptical about these big churches at the best of times. I am sure they have good points but most of the time I see the negatives that they would create, especially in creating community - in a world where we struggle to get community as it is. Why exaggerate that in a church situation!! Anyway, as we drove in and walked into the building, for the first half hour I was struggling to find words to express what i was feeling - I kept saying "wow!" and "this place is huge" and I struggled for more words and descriptions than that - which is weird as I don't normally struggle for words!!
However as my day went on I found my opinion changing...not that the place is not still huge, I guarentee it did not shrink when we got there but on closer inspection a few things surprised me and things that I assumed to be true simply...weren't! There is no doubt that a lot of money has been spent on some things - like the technology in the main auditorium is incredibe - data projectors everywhere, huge state of the art screens, cameras, computers, lights and loads of people operating them - but everywhere else was a much simpler and less extravagent atmosphere. Willowcreek is not lavish - the furniture and decor is plain and unassuming, the floors and carpets are unassuming nad functional and instead of having all my senses bombarded with opulence, I was hit by the understated everything that I saw - and that really made me happy!!
The conference has been good today. There have been 3 main sessions with everyone together. The first main speaker was the guy who created VeggieTales; the second was apanel with 2 experts on spiritual formation in children and I really enjoyed it; the last was a look at finding strengths in children, by a woman who was very whacky and at times seemed a few sandwiches short of a picnic - bit it was interesting all the same and good to hear people who I did not entirely agree with or love listening too. They all made me think! Tomorrow will be different with the 3 tracks that I have chosen out of about 100 options - and it will be good to hear and be trained in sme children's ministry issues that I am really interested in.
Now I am sitting in our hotel room with a glass of red wine, exhausted but satisfied that today was a good day and hopeful that tomorrow will be even better. And we made some friends today who are staying in our hotel and that is always good!!
Into The New Year
2 weeks ago