Last Thursday I left a snowstorm in Chicago, and when the plane landed at Orange County airport and I saw the brilliant sunshine, I almost cried! That afternoon, I enjoyed a short break out at the hotel pool and saw flowers for the first time in months. They were tiny purple flowers with a little yellow center, and again, I almost cried. Winter is about to do me in this year…but this blog is supposed to be about our Leaders Table and Green Room at ROCKHARBOR in Costa Mesa.
We were graciously hosted by arts leader Chad Halliburton and his incredible team. I visited ROCKHARBOR about three years ago, when they had just moved into this new facility. It was delightful to observe all the changes and improvements to the space, especially the artwork that graces the entire place so tastefully. On Friday I was once again both lifted and spent by rolling up my sleeves and talking ministry with 27 arts leaders from great churches in California, along with Carlos who flew in from Hawaii. Together we unpacked some of our challenges, encouraged one another, exchanged ideas, and reminded each other that we are not alone in this kind of ministry. It was really a good day.
Then Saturday, over 200 church artists and pastors gathered together. We were first led in worship by a team from ROCKHARBOR, and once again I experienced the passion of church artists lifting their voices in praise, especially when they don’t have to worry about anything! Then we spent the rest of the day exploring core values that need to permeate our ministries, and evaluating how we’re doing. I was humbled by the presence of God among us, and the many truly powerful moments we sensed together. I believe that the Holy Spirit re-ignited many of our commitments to serving through the arts in the local church.
At lunch time, I once again poked my head outside toward the warm sunshine, and I actually asked the group if anyone would be willing to adopt me so I didn’t have to return to the arctic blast. I forced the entire group to repeat with me, out loud, “We will not take our weather for granted!” When I got off the plane in Chicago – with a drop of 80 degrees not including wind chill!!! – I knew for sure I’m crazy to live here. How grateful I am for the gift of tasting the California climate if only for a couple days…and even more grateful for the privilege of ennobling and leading such a tremendous group of church artists.