I returned home to Denver last Wednesday from the Q LA conference to the typical rush of life that greets you when you return from a conference. While I’d hoped to take some time to share some of my takeaways the busyness of life has thus far prevented it. Then I got this email from my friend Dave this morning:
How was Q? What was your big take-away?
If I only download 2 talks, what should they be?
I took some time to respond to his questions and then realized, this is what most people want – a brief synopsis; not a mental dump of every nuance. So here’s my response:
It was really great. Nothing challenges and encourages me like being part of that community for a few days. My wife joined me for the first time this year, and experiencing it through her was great. It confirmed that it is a special experience. She said through tears as we were leaving (only half jokingly), “Now I have to go quit my job and go get involved in all this amazing stuff!”
Personally my big takeaway was a renewed commitment to collaboration to create city movements. It wasn’t even the talks as much as personal connections I made. I had a great conversation with Eric Marsh from Long Beach, CA at a Q Cities breakfast about some things they’re doing to raise up young leaders from different ethnic groups in the city. I had a great talk with Kevin Palau that was so affirming and encouraging about what they’ve experienced in Portland. I also had a great conversation with Jon Tyson about the pursuit of a parish model of church multiplication focused on driving people toward relationship and engagement in mission where they live.
The talks were all great, and picking just two is tough and so personal. I’d say for me Kim Biddle of Saving Innocence on sex trafficking in the US was the one that just wrecked me emotionally. Very powerful message. The second was probably Dale Kuehne, author of Sex and the iWorld, gave a really interesting talk about the sexual economics of our time and how unsustainable the world we’re creating is. It was just a reassuring message that we don’t have to worry about fighting so hard against some of the immoral life choices we see around us, because they’re actually in and of themselves unsustainable. I have to give an honorable mention to Tyler Wigg-Stevenson whose talk and book The World is Not Ours to Save was a very helpful watchword in a conference focused on working for the common good.
The big thoughts I’m leaving with:
- There is actually more freedom within boundaries, limits and structure. Our culture’s desire for freedom in all directions is actually unsustainable (this impacts my teaching as a pastor)
- Collaboration amongst the Body does create change. Start where you are and link arms with others in the city. But remember, the world doesn’t need a better method or approach to common-good activism; the world needs Christ, the only one who can really change anything.
- There is so much joy and excitement for me being part of something bigger than I can do on my own, and doing it with people I like and trust.
There’s only one highlight I left out in my email to Dave, and that’s watching my friend Chris Horst share about our experience doing Q Cities Denver last year.
So that’s my brief takeaways. If you want to scan through my jumble of notes you can check them out here in Evernote.