I honestly laughed when Leo told me that the Bolivian pastors were asking us to lead their national conference. They are all dear friends, so they know that we’re not pastors (and at the time of the conference we were no longer even on staff at a church).
But, nonetheless, they felt like we were the people that their people needed to hear from.
The theme of the conference? Next Generation.
As we were preparing, I felt strongly that we wanted everything we did to be in a “workshop” model… where there would be time to process the different points we felt led to bring up.
And after all the preparing, only one of the messages went the way we planned, the very last message on Sunday. All of the other ones changed course a bit, but were exactly what was needed.
Friday night, we shared our testimony and talked about how the Kingdom is a family. Most of the people there came with at least one family member, so we encouraged them to sit together and talk about different points.
At the end, we asked everyone to speak blessing over their family members. It was powerful to look around the room and see people speaking forgiveness, life, hope, healing and love. I truly believe that the Lord did something new in many of the families that night!
Saturday, Leo and I switched off teaching in the morning. He led worship and then taught about the worship values and how we write music for our communities, and I taught the kids!
There were a total of about 10 school-age kiddos at the conference, and we wanted to make sure that they felt included. So, after working with them in the morning, they were able to lead worship for the afternoon session.
We wanted to model what it was like to teach and let the littles lead. It was beautiful to watch the congregation respond with all their hearts during the worship time!
The kids did a phenomenal job, and, like always, I made the person running sound work hard with trying to control/boost the volume.
Saturday evening, we went way out of the box with a Worship in the Round. We asked the different songwriter/worship leaders to prepare 2-3 songs that they had written for congregational worship, and we put all the chairs in a semi-circle around, with the mics on the floor. We had 3 guitars, 3 mics, a simplified kit and a djembe.
We even placed art supplies and paper on tables behind the chairs for people to be able to draw or write as they experienced the Holy Spirit.
We knew it would be something totally different for everyone, and it took a few songs for people to really engage, but once they did, it was amazing!
Worship was just so beautiful! God is really breathing on a few of the songs, and the response from everyone was encouraging for the worship leaders.
I had planned a sermon for after the worship, but felt strongly that we needed to open up the floor for anyone to share what they were experiencing.
People came up to show their pictures, shared things that the Lord had laid on their hearts, one woman shared a drawing that her daughter had made for her, another asked for forgiveness… people kept coming to the mic sharing their hearts, and it was a true picture of “Everyone gets to play”.
Then, Kimber had the idea of doing ministry time with all the lights out except for the lights coming from the cross. It was perfect.
We encouraged people to not only come forward, but to pray for those around them. It lasted such a long time, and again, people were just so hungry for more of the Holy Spirit!
I really don’t want to forget that night or the moments that happened during the whole conference; the deep conversations, the way everyone loved on Elias, the absolute dependence on Jesus for strength and energy (the sleeping situation wasn’t ideal), and how we worked hard and pushed each other towards excellence.
At the end of the conference, it was obvious why we were chosen for this theme, this time. There is something new brewing in the La Viña churches in Bolivia, and we are so grateful to have played a part in what the Lord is doing.