What church event would not only hold the attention of 7,000+ people but would intrigue another thousand or so to sit in their choice of overflow rooms? It was the Conference of the year for South Carolina. It goes by the name of 212.
But how does one church convince not only its own members but members of church congregations in this area and as far away as Alaska to make a special trip to spend an entire weekend in a melting pot of people from just about every race and so many different walks of life?
There are in fact many answers to this, so if I put it all together it would come out something like; It was a place you could go for answers, direction, hospitality, prayer, the presence of God, various mini concerts, and all for no charge. Wait! Not only was it free but there was no pressure or any contrived means to throw out any kind of financial liability for a weekend of sheer spiritual fulfillment. Spiritual fulfillment was the focus … not a fame and glamour display…not entertainment…not a Who’s Who pagent…not a corporate pep rally…,but spiritual fulfillment (although bits and pieces of humor and videos of a down to earth Apostle Carpenter was helpful when bridging one serious moment to the next or maintaining the current day attention span).
So now to tell you about my own specific experience. First of all, it is extremely difficult to go to an event like this and not work my platform (IndieGospelRevealed/Facebook/YouTube). I wanted to interview. I wanted to take pictures and photos. I wanted to do so much with the energy I felt all around, however, everything in me needed to drink up all that was being offered from the praise and worship to the word that came from the pulpit.
When I arrived on the first night, there was a crowd of volunteers cheering all of us in at the parking lot as we arrived shouting “You made it!” shouting as if they knew all the obstacles we had to survive to get there. Although that was said with a bit of sarcasm, I can tell you that in fact I soon found it to be very refreshing.
The introvert part of me along with the broken part of me wanted to find away around this phenomenon but as I approached and confronted it with a good attitude, I found that it wasn’t the least bit overbearing, and that I was actually dealing with my own mind state. It was just a simple greeting with a friendly face ready to answer any question that I might have. Alas, I would have missed the first blessing had I not dealt with my own self.
Yes! My first transaction on this campus was that deep. If that doesn’t tell you how important various ministries are, starting from the outer courts, I don’t know what will. Even the next day, a lady by the name of Tara greeted me at the front door filled with the Holy Spirit. Tears came to her eyes while the Holy Spirit filled the inside of me confirming that there was something here for me this weekend. As I locked in with her the surrounding greeters decided to let us have that moment while they smiled, spoke to, and loved on anyone else who might be entering the door. My day was already made at that point and my expectations were on 10.
It was a well oiled machine would be another reason. I had absolutely no problems parking. Once inside, there was enough room to maneuver both inside and outside of the building without being aggravated.
Additionally, if you are a business mogul you would have been thoroughly impressed. If it wasn’t the info table, it was the app you could download to your smart phone created primarily for information about this conference. If it wasn’t the info table set up in the cafe, it was the fact that you could participate in the service by having your social media quote displayed on the screen.
Now realize that I have yet to speak of the powerful and dynamic speakers: Dharius Daniels, Tony Miller, Steven Furtick, Tavner Smith, and Redemption’s own Apostle Ron & Hope Carpenter, who all came with seasonal directions and answers for our “next.” I haven’t even brought up the praise and worship from Worship Pastor Todd Galberth whose spirit fills up the entire room with little effort. In addition, there was such a great balance of praise and worship and the old time baptist hymns brought forth every day. There was a very nice segment of mainstream artists also from Tasha Cobbs Leonard to Fred Hammond.
As a matter of fact, I’ll leave you to check out the link where you can find each sermon and a bit of praise and worship online for your own reference here below:
Meanwhile, as I left the building (in a shuttle to my car mind you) to get into my car, all I needed to think about was a plan of how to keep these words hidden in my heart.
Shout out the beautiful Santaella family I met who was visiting from Conneticut. Even a moment of repowering our cell phones became what is known in the church as a “ministry moment.” Thank you for sharing a portion of your testimony with me. Sam has one of the most beautiful spirits I’ve met. I can’t wait to see who she becomes and is already becoming. -Much love.
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