Books and Friends. Friends and Books.
No I am not starting my own book club. I’ll leave that up to Oprah.
This past week my wife and I had the opportunity to attend the Catalyst conference in Atlanta, GA. This was my fifth year to attend this conference. It has meant a lot to me in terms of spiritual and personal growth especially when it comes to leadership ability. This year it took a completely different twist for me. This year I was so excited to meet a variety of people that I have grown to know but have never met. People like Anne Jackson and Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite and Craig Groschel. I spent about the last six to nine months subscribing to their blogs and commenting and listening and watching any video. So in many ways I felt as if I had already known these guys. It was so nice to be able to introduce myself and to have each one recognize my name and to feel a common connection. And despite the fact that I only got to spend a limited amount of time with each of them face to face I can say that even in those settings each one seemed as genuine and sincere as they do in their “online” communities.
I tend to swing between the extremes on the pendulum when it comes to dealing with “famous” people. Particularly within a church context, it feels wierd to point out certain people and recognize them as “different“. But I beleive that the biblical record is pretty clear about this. Jesus spent his time on earth ministring and impacting thousands (the first megachurch), yet he focused much of his time and directed alot of his attention to only 12. And in the establishment of the early church I seriously doubt that Paul was THE only church planter successfully planting churches. But he is the one that much of the focus is spent on. Why is it that way? I don’t know. But appareantly God works in the lives of individuals and then blesses them as a way of example for others to see how this journey of faith should impact, inspire and drive us to serve God. And I don’t think that it’s simply because these individuals are “better” than anyone else, though certainly obedience and stewardship are at the forefront.
So what does all this mean. Well, there is the particular example of Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite. These guys are seriously best friends and have become for me an example of what one should look for in a sincere friendship. They opened up to us and shared some insight into the depths and transparency of their relationship and how that friendship inspired them to write a book about character. I honestly believe that if I lived in closer proximity to either Mike or Jud that we’d hand out more often and maybe over time develop that close relationship. But for me here where I am at, I am inspired and challenged to develop that kind of friendship here and now.
Who has been influencing you lately? What things have they been challenging you to?