This was a big success on a lot of levels.
First, I'm overjoyed by the guys that served at the Conference. Jon Juane was lit up like a Christmas Tree all weekend. It was obvious that he was in his sweet spot and the juice was flowing. Cory nailed it with the design and graphics and online registration setup. Daniel was a solid team member as well, coordinating all our meals, snacks, drinks and so forth. I'm really proud of these guys and would like to serve with them again.
Second, we had a great turnout. CC Oakville was representing with 7 guys, Perth / Smiths Falls was in the 20 range. CC Montreal brought a crew again, over 20 guys, and Ottawa had the rest to get us up around 80 for a total attendance.
Third, we stood on our own this year. We didn't invite anyone from outside the local area. Pat Sieler, Sebastien Frappier and Dan Schilke were our speakers and they didn't disappoint. Each guy, I thought, gave the best message I've heard them give to date. I was really proud of them, and it shows that they have been faithfully teaching and ministering people, and God is blessing each one of them and the gifts they have been given. We recorded the sessions and if the quality is good, we would like to make the messages available by CD or MP3 soon. Colin Bernard led us in worship. Colin has a tremendous gift to sing and play and that matched with his heart for worship and to serve combined into some really wonderful worship times. Joel Williams jumped in and played electric next to Colin and together it was a really sweet sound. Caleb and Cory took turns on different sessions with the Djimbae too. Jon Ruby facilitated the afterglow and asked Randy Gardiner to lead worship alongside him for it.
Fourth, the conference was effective. On Friday night, I was looking around the room during the afterglow, seeing men praying together, men kneeling at the front repenting and praying. A little later, I was so encouraged to hear the men reading different passages from the Bible as the Holy Spirit prompted them. On Saturday as we closed in prayer, it's hard for me to describe the joy in my heart, hearing the men pray for their families, churches, communities and for Calvary as a whole. God is going to answer those prayers, but only in a huge way. Several men came up to me throughout the weekend, some very emotional, telling me what a great time they were having, how happy they were that they took the time to come, or what the Lord was doing in their hearts. Several men were weeping at different points through the conference, but of course there was lots of joy, laughter, friendship, encouragement and camaraderie.
Lastly, what I was hoping would happen happened. Respect. I think each man there walks away with a new respect for the work that God is doing in and through the different churches in Oakville, Perth, Ottawa and Montreal. Along with that, comes the awareness that this isn't an individual thing, it's a movement, a movement of God's Holy Spirit in Eastern Canada. It's not driven by a personality or a church, but something that the Spirit is doing here. And, He's no respecter of persons, He's looking for a man, woman, boy or girl that has faith, faith in the simplicity of teaching the Bible simply, being honest and real and genuine, and trusting Him to confirm His Word with signs and wonders following. We couldn't be more different, but it's the same God that is working in us and through us for His glory.
Oh, yeah, there's Hope! Hope for me! Hope for now! Hope for All!
His name is Jesus!