Sunday. The final day. Although Digital Discipleship is always only a three-day event, it feels like we’ve been in this space for a week. If we were to collect $1 for every idea that’s been thrown around, we’d have to bankrupt a few people. But there are some ideas that are priceless—those are the ones that have stuck, received feedback, and been released again ready for a fresh upgrade to become bigger and better than ever.
On this last day of the conference, among the workshops and final Ideathon sessions, as people prepare to take their ideas and everything they’ve learnt back home, I can’t help but be grateful for the opportunity to attend a gathering such as this. For the news article I’m putting together, I asked a handful of people around the room their thoughts on the conference, now that it was all over. They all said basically the same thing (which, let’s be honest, makes my job a little harder), but I couldn’t help smiling at how much they appreciated the practicality, the learning, and the experience of it all.
Some people may question the need for a Digital Discipleship Conference. I’d like to answer it in this way. We live in a digital world, and discipleship is what we are called to do. This conference empowers Seventh-day Adventists to reach people in that digital space, through their passions, interests, and skills. It’s as simple as that.
This weekend was about dreams and ideas, purpose and values, and most importantly, keeping Jesus at the centre of ministry. Like most of the attendees, I came away inspired to try new things in my own personal, digital sphere of influence to share Jesus. But on a professional level, I know my colleagues and I are also inspired. We have a dream and a vision here at Adventist Record: to reach people through stories.
It’s not about us. The whole reason our ministry, just like those who shared this weekend, exists is to reach people. So we want to ask you: What are your needs? What are your core values? What can we do better in order to minister to you and to those around us?* We welcome your feedback so that together, we can continue to create and cultivate a (digital) disciple-making movement.
Zan Long, as you may remember reading yesterday, received the Gabe Reynaud Award along with her husband, Rod. She shared the following speech, and it really moved me. To close off the Digital Discipleship 2018 blog, I’d like to leave you with her words. May they speak to you and inspire you.
“Rod and I would like to take this opportunity to cheer you on.
To encourage you to love Jesus with all that you are… and then some.
To love people with all that you are… and then some.
To love the Church, all of the Church, with all that you are… and then some.
What does that kind of love look like, sound like, feel like?
It looks like choosing to stay and be a blessing, when you want to leave.
It sounds genuinely thankful when you want to complain.
It feels peaceful when everything else is stressed.
This kind of love is truly creative because it takes what is not lovely and makes it just that.
That is what love does. Love seeds passion.
Passion is uniquely expressed. Just watch soccer fans.
It is not something you have to contrive; it pours out of the abundant overflow of the spirit living in you.
Jesus living and loving in us styles how we do life.
The more we choose to live love, the more we live and love in the creative purpose God designed for us.
Live in love with Jesus and wait for that love to lead you to the purpose God has specially created for you; gifted to you.
I say wait because sometimes we just jump on what someone else is passionate about and do that.
You will know that you are passionate about it because you have to do it.
You couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
You find time, make time… because it is who you are in Jesus’ name.
Be faithful to the gift that has been given to you.
We have never experienced so much joy and exhaustion… and joy and exhaustion… being faithful to the gift God has given us.
The feeling of totally emptying yourself in serving and then finding at our age that there is abundant energy and joy for more.
I love that.
I know that that is not us. That is Jesus living in us.
I love that in Jesus’ name every person is invited to live love.
Imagine that: the creative energy that spoke the world into existence living in us.
Imagine if we lived faithful to Jesus in us.
Choose to be faithful to the creativity that God has uniquely gifted to you.
Share it. Live it. Love it.
Let Jesus change your world from the inside out.
Live love again… and again… and again.”