San Antonio, June 2009. I am jammed into a crowded hotel meeting room. Eager participants are dragging chairs from other rooms into the aisles. The stifling air is filled with eager chatter. Finally a professorial and pretty ordinary looking man and five 20’s or 30’s -something young people bound into the room. James Bryan Smith and the A team , creators of The Good and Beautiful God, the first book in the Apprentice Series , are about to change my life forever.
Des Moines, September, 2012. I am settled into an armchair with my lap top in a hotel room, nearly ready to leave on the last leg of my journey to Wichita, KS. There, at the invitation of James Bryan Smith and the A team, I will present a day-long pre-conference workshop on how Christ Memorial Reformed Church has made the Apprentice Program its own. Two members of my team are also traveling today, along with our lead pastor. And nearly a dozen men and women who are living the apprentice experience will drive nearly 900 miles to join us at the actual conference (Grace, Grace, and More Grace sponsored by Renovare and the Apprentice Institute) on Friday. How did this happen? !
Perhaps we are living a version of Acts 2, 2012 style. We are chasing the Holy Spirit! Lives are changing at CMC. James Bryan Smith has creatively and imaginatively shaped the teachings of scripture as interpreted and modeled by his mentors. He has written three books that are riveting reading for the average Christian. We have developed a lively and transformational instructional model, adapted from the work of Matt Johnson, the author of the Leader’s Guide. And the Holy Spirit is changing our participants into people in whom Christ lives and delights who are already transforming their worlds.
Wichita, September 26, 2012. Soon I will walk into a room full of people who are eager to be transformed and to chase the transforming Holy Spirit in their churches. I pray that the experience of walking where the Spirit led in a hotel meeting room in San Antonio and in class rooms at Christ Memorial Church in Holland, Michigan will continue in a hotel meeting room in Wichita, Kansas.