This is the first in a series of reflections on the Missio’s recent North American gathering, “Awakenings: The Mission of the Spirit as the Life of the Church.” This reflection comes from Anthony Opliger, Servant Leader at Northeast Christian Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Be sure to download and take a closer look at Anthony’s visual notes below!
The best. The most. The greatest. Those are some of the reoccurring thoughts I had during the Missio Alliance Gathering, #Awakenings17.
This is the best conference I have ever experienced. We are hearing from the most diverse group of speakers, voices from different races, tribes, and traditions.
We are learning from the best, most renowned, most influential Bible scholar of our day.
We are engaging in the most important theological conversations in our generation.
We are being hosted by one of the most dynamic and culturally significant churches in America. We are receiving the most gracious, generous, and even joy-filled challenges to grow.
This is the people, the conversation, the alliance with which I most identify. According to Greg Boyd’s tweet, even N.T. Wright observed the superlative nature of the gathering.
"This is the most multicultural multivalent evangelical gathering I've ever been apart of." N.T.Wright #Awakenings17 pic.twitter.com/PlicDqghZS
— Greg Boyd (@greg_boyd) April 27, 2017
So many superlatives.
However, now that I am back with my family and my church in my city doing my normal things, the whole experience has already started to fade. When I look back through my notes, I realize that to have any hope of embodying the superlatives of Awakenings 2017, I must wake up to the superlatives of the Spirit.
The Spirit is the most culturally-savvy Person in world. He understands the nuances of every single culture, sub-culture, and city. He sees the brokenness of each. He calls forth the beauty in each. He speaks the language. And He is with us.The Spirit is the most culturally-savvy Person in world. Click To Tweet
The Spirit is the most intelligent Person in the world. He fully comprehends every theory, every Text, and every topic. He is always the smartest Person in the room, even right now.
The Spirit is the most creative Person in the world. He is the best artist, the best poet, and the best story-teller. The One who is “the warm breath of new creation” weaves themes and connects words like none other, and yet He chooses to receive no praise and no profit for what He does. He is creating all around us today.
The Spirit is the most strategic Person in the world. He sees precisely how the powers of evil are influencing the world, and He has the capacity to topple them. He alone has the answers to the race problems in our land and in our hearts. He sees the path forward on literally every issue we face, and He is with us each step of the way.
The Spirit is the best host, the best parent, the best leader, and the best servant in the world. He is the most hard-hitting, most hilarious, most sophisticated, and most simple speaker in the world. He is the most gracious, most generous, most missional, most patient, most technologically-savvy, most organic, most truthful, and most multivalent, all at once. He is the kindest, purest, strongest, wisest, humblest, happiest, and greatest. The list goes on and on.The Spirit is the best host, parent, leader and servant in the world. Click To Tweet
The superlative One is in the room with me. He is with you right now as you read this. He is even closer and more committed than that.
Despite all of that, the Spirit is the most ignored Person in the world. Indeed, He is the Person who is most often ignored in my life. As such, the Awakenings conference was like a siren sounding forth alerting me to my need to be more awakened to the Spirit. This is the only way for me to embody the beautiful Kingdom ideals of Missio Alliance.#Awakenings17 was a siren sounding forth alerting me to be more awakened to the Spirit. Click To Tweet
As I pull my notes off the shelf again and reflect on our experience together, I am thankful.
I am thankful for the speakers, the conversations, and the connections. I am thankful for the movement. I am thankful to be a small part of it. And I am superlatively thankful for the Best, the Most, the Greatest, who is in us.
May we all be more and more awakened to Him…and as a result, may our cities dance and sing for joy.