ICYMI: we announced last week that I was selected to be one of the speakers at the highly anticipated UMC LEAD 2022 event in San Diego, CA next January. For those unfamiliar, LEAD is the equivalent of the TED Talk program in the United Methodist Church.
In around 130 days (but who's counting?), I will be among leading voices in the UMC presenting our current findings in innovative ministry. At first glance, this likely may look like a devilish temptation that could go straight to the ego, right? I can see how that could come across. But, the truth is - that has nothing to do with my excitement.
My excitement isn't nerves. I'm fairly competent in front of others. I'll get my jitters, but that isn't it. Nor am I excited because of the honor of getting to speak. It's an honor - no two ways about that, but that's still not it. It's not even the chance to travel to San Diego - a highlighted destination that I've yet to see.
No, my excitement lies in one thing alone - collaboration. I've not been shy about my favorite part of being a Methodist: our Methodist Connection. John Wesley was wise, grace is amazing, but our connection is what sets us apart. And LEAD is an example of this connection being used to it's true potential. I cannot wait to be amongst my peers and hear their thoughts.
Not just in their context, I am overjoyed that they will get to weigh in on my context. What an incredible possibility! Imagine being able to show your app to a young Steve Jobs. Or having John Lennon have a look at your songwriting before he 'made it.' Or hearing the thoughts of Ernest Hemingway on your novel. These moments just don't happen in real life - and for this opportunity, I am endlessly thankful. Thankful for connection, collaboration, and chances to grow.