FENTON, MI – Mark your calendar because I want to help you enjoy three upcoming autumn days. Over the years, I developed the following checklist. You are going to need this list for those three days.
November 3, 4, and 5, 2016 at Eastgate Baptist Church in Burton, Michigan is a must see, must go event. The Annual Pastor’s Conference and the Annual Convention for the Baptist State Convention is one of the annual highlights of my year. Both of these events are for everyone in the church, not just pastors.
During these two events, we reconnect with friends. We create new relationships. We dream new dreams. We reconnect with our mission. We arrive tired, but leave inspired.
While you attend the Pastor’s Conference and the Annual Convention, here is a way to add some fun to your days. This search will entertain you.
Avid-fan – This man or woman attends because there is a special celebrity at the meeting. They love seminary presidents, former SBC presidents, notable pastors, and international missionaries. They sit close to the front when their celebrity is speaking. They strategically place themselves in the path of special guests with their smartphone cameras ready to click a pic.
Bargain-book-hunter – This attendee repeatedly cruises the Baptist Bookstore display. They arrive early and speak to the bookstore manager hoping for secret information as to when the “real” sale prices start. They make repeated trips to the car storing away their bargain-books like a squirrel storing away nuts for a Michigan winter.
Freeloader – This person cruises the exposition displays. They listen attentively for and look for the written word “FREE.” They load their reusable canvas bags with free things to take home. They generously share the free resources with friends and family. They distribute a wealth of materials throughout Michigan’s ministries.
Hallway-talker – I tease one of my close friends that he is a hallway talker. He sees the three days as a constant supply of personal conversations. He moves smoothly from one person to another asking questions, listening to their stories, and offering encouragement. Hallway-talkers feel the big meetings with hundreds are not as important as the little meetings between friends.
Historian – They are happy attending the gathering, but they often speak about the past. While most of us live in the here and now, the Historian will remind us about our collective past. They highlight the service and sacrifice of earlier heroes. Historians remind us that we are who we are because of certain heroes of the past.
Multitasker – This attendee comes with a book to read, crocheting, knitting, crosswords, or devices. Another one of my closest friends sits quietly during the business proceedings reading a coveted book while inclining one ear to listen to the business session. There are those who text, tweet, post, and respond to emails while important matters are being discussed. The multitasker is bored with merely sitting and listening.
Network-magnate – This attendee is shrewd and focused. He may be looking for a new friend or searching for help with a church project. He surveys the crowd. Sometimes, he can be seen scanning the crowd behind the person with whom he is speaking face-to-face. He is silently asking himself, “Is this connection going to help me, encourage me?”
Partygoer – You will know it when you are in the presence of a partygoer. A circle of energized people will surround this attendee. This person asks in a loud voice to a random crowd, “Where are we going for lunch?” They arrive early, stay up late, and randomly create wonderful friendships.
Passionate-parliamentarian – These individuals live for the business proceedings. They enjoy hearing phrases like, “I make the motion,” “Second,” and “The motion is carried.” They have the agenda on their laps and check-off the proceedings one step at a time. They know where their ballots are at any given moment. Their hearts pump with an adrenaline rush when decisions are unanimous!
Will you join me on November 3-5? You will find me in different places. I might be in the hallway. I might be posting images of my friends; but I will be there. Please, come for an evening, a half-day, an entire day, or stay the entire time. I hope to see you there. Let’s make this is one of the best-attended gatherings of the decade.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.