Elisabeth Wilder is from Hesston, Kansas, and is the youngest of three children. Her interests include reading, writing, traveling, kayaking, biking, and good conversations over coffee. Most of all, Elisabeth loves people and helping others. She will be graduating from Hesston College this spring and transferring to Eastern Mennonite University to continue her major in social work while also studying Spanish and pre-law.
I don’t want people to walk away from convention with a Jesus high.
If you have ever spent a jam-packed week in worship, devotion, service, singing, Bible study or God-centered conversation, you know about the Jesus high. After a full week of constant praise, celebration, confession, forgiveness, renewal and spiritual vigor, you are left with nothing but enthusiasm and eagerness to serve and follow God. Your spiritual life will never be the same after this week – or so you think.
The thing about all highs though, is that eventually you have to come down. It may be a week, a month or maybe longer, but eventually many of us will come off our high and return to the people we once were. Of course we aren’t completely the same as before. We now have stories of how we experienced God’s mighty love. We carry small lessons we learned in seminars, and maybe we are a little bit better at practicing our spiritual disciplines.
My hope for convention is that people will leave with a spiritual curiosity and not with a spiritual high. While the high leaves us with no choice but to fall, curiosity allows us to explore, build and grow. Spiritual curiosity whets our appetites to the magnificence of God’s works. It opens our eyes to the needs of the world and our ears to listen to God’s call. With spiritual curiosity, we more readily embrace the avenues of our faith we may have been too afraid to explore.
While the high presumably knows answers, curiosity comes with questions. The high is filled with pride of one’s own spiritual piety, while curiosity humbly admits what it doesn’t know. Those who have the high tend to see only what God is doing, while curiosity looks beyond what God is doing to see where God is needed.
I want people to walk away from convention on fire with spirit. Not like a grassfire that ignites quickly and furiously and then burns out, but like a candle that slowly and steadily burns while providing light to others. Rather than the high of temporary spiritual satisfaction, I want people to walk away better equipped to love and serve God. My hope is that convention will serve as a building block of faith for all who attend and beyond, that the worship, devotion, service, singing and God-centered conversation do not end with congregations’ convention recap.
More than anything, I want convention to be greater than a one or two-week high. My hope is that convention is greater than free t-shirts and a handful of memories. I pray that convention will generate curiosity, nurture spiritual growth and equip people with the skills and knowledge to continue to walk faithfully in their journey with Christ. May Kansas City 2015 be a catalyst for curiosity, discipleship and spiritual inquiry for Jesus and His kingdom.