Hosting the Annual Conference

The 2012 North Alabama Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will be in my backyard this week.  Well, I should say office since it isn't my place of residence but employment.
As Chaplain at Birmingham-Southern College I get to do lots of fun things.  This week I'll be the "Host Elder" for the Annual Conference.  While I'm sure there were once accolades that went along with it, I'm just hoping to be a willing and humble servant.  That sentiment is mostly because I've had almost nothing to do with putting it together!  That honor must go to Linda Holland, Laura Sisson, Danette Banish, Lyn Cosby, and a host of other wonderful people who are going to make BSC and the Conference look good.  I guess I did do that video...

Do you know how cool it is to be a pastor for pastors?  The Church always talks about how we need to do a better job of being a community.  There are no opportunities like Annual Conference for us to come together, praise God, lift Jesus up, and challenge the Church to be the Church.  It isn't a coincidence that Conference is happening the week after Pentecost!

Luke 19:1-10 has a fabulous story of a man named Zacchaeus who hosted Jesus.  The story reads quick but don't miss the obvious theatrics.  Zacchaeus didn't just bring Jesus to his house - he brought everyone.  When he proclaimed that he was going to right the wrongs he'd committed and care for the poor Jesus was so pumped that he declared salvation had come to this house because Zacchaeus embodied the very message of the Son of Man!

Wow, what a statement.  How I hope we can make Jesus proud this year at Annual Conference.  We are having all KINDS of awesome people come to encourage us to be more like Jesus.  Bishop Swanson, Rev. Mike Slaughter, and of course, Bishop Willimon will do what they do best.  The Church will ordain those called to the Order of Deacon and Elder.  We'll talk about budgets and ministries and missions.  I hope we can lift up when the Church has gotten it right and course-correct where we've messed up.  The full skinny is here.

So much hope.  So much promise.  Not that I have anything to do with it.  I'll just be hanging around in the back making sure people know where the bathroom is and keeping that door in Bill Battle Coliseum from slamming.

For whatever my part, I just hope to be a good host.
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