Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The other day I had couple of friends ask me to explain what the re:create Conference is all about and why I keep going back. The easy thing would be to answer with things like, in my first trip to Franklin, how we got to worship with Michael W. Smith, and got to see Meredith Andrews, or how I got sit in a room with 20 other people at EMI and receive an EP in a hand drawn brown paper bag from this new songwriter Audrey Assad, and how blown away we were by her song "Winter Snow". How my second trip to re:create saw things like Gungor performing his masterpiece, "Beautiful Things", and a songwriter circle that included Kristian Stanfill. I could even tell them about how the third year was even more incredible because we got to see Ed Kowalczyk perform a private concert for us, or Andrew Peterson's "Behold the Lamb," and one of the most moving times of worship I have ever been a part of, when we got to meet the 1211 band from Gateway Church in Austin Tx.
Any one of those things would have made re:create the most incredible conference I have ever been to. But as great as they were, they were not the most meaningful and transformative part for me. It is becoming a part of the re:create community that has changed me, moved me and maybe saved me and my ministry. You see, the last 6 months of my life have seen some of the lowest times that I have ever experienced. If had not been for my re:create family, I can honestly say I might not be in ministry today, or even worse. In April, my mother passed away after being in the hospital for a few days. It was an incredible blessing to know that there were people from all over the world praying for her. The night before she died, I was able to show her text messages and Twitter DM's from Texas, Oregon, California, Canada, Tennessee and even Cairo of people praying for her. It lifted both our spirits. After her death, I was held up by the prayers and thoughts of my re:create tribe. I got emails, and texts of encouragement as I prepared to speak and sing for my Mother's funeral mass.
This past summer, I entered into what was the worst time of depression that I have ever experienced. It got so bad that I wrote out my resignation from the ministry on more than 2 occasions, I had no energy, and at one point, I didn't get out of bed for almost 2 days. I felt like I was going insane. I was afraid to tell my wife, because I knew that I couldn't lose her, or it would only get worse, even though she new something was wrong because I was taking most of my depression on her. It was then that I reached out to a few of my tribe, asking for prayer. Immediately I heard from all of them saying that I was covered in prayer. I spent several hours on the phone with a friend that I have become very close to. After a few days of crying and very open conversations, I went to a doctor and was able to get on some medication that has helped me get back to some semblance of normal. All of this came about because I got to sit at the same table as Bill, or sitting next to Jim, or being introduced to Chuck over the phone, or hanging out and talking to Brent and Tam over an incredible steak, or praying with Jan before she went to one of the 100 countries that she ministers in, or getting to cry when we finally saw and heard that Mark was OK on Skype during a crazy time in the Cairo. I have been transformed by the friendships and relationships that have been forged during the last 3 years at re:create.
All of this happened because of one man's love for broken, creative people. And for that Randy, I will be forever grateful.
I say all this to ask you this. Where are you finding transformational community? Where do you go to be cared for? Do you go? Have you found transformation from a community that you are a part of? This is my story, but I want to hear yours. Add a comment below, or email me.