Today was a packed day. We put aside the pastor's conference schedule (gladly) and began setting up meetings with a number of different guys. We left this morning for the exhibition center which is full of SBC booths for Baptist colleges, seminaries, agencies, ministries, and of course a Lifeway bookstore.
We met up with Marty Duren (the third musketeer), picked up a few books from the discount table, and made a round through the dozens of booths. They put out mints and candy to attract the SBC wildlife and Marty wolfed on every "Bit-O-Honey" he could get his hands on. We spent a few minutes talking with Mark Overstreet, and old friend from seminary who is the Assistant VP of Development at Criswell College in Dallas. Good guy, and it sounds like Criswell is heading in a good direction.
At 11am the three of us had lunch with Chris Turner, a media relations guy at Lifeway. Chris has become a good friend to us and has helped out in immeasurable ways. He took us to a very "Nashvillian" place, Granite Falls, and the food was great. They are famous for "Rattlesnake Chicken."
We took a break at our hotel for a bit and then met up with Marty again at the convention center. We wanted to spend some serious time talking about the future of and a vision for the Emerging SBC Leaders site. Our talk was good. We thought through some important issues.
We also caught a few moments of Dr. Jerry Vines' preaching. It was a few moments too many. I quote: "If I had one toe and it wiggled toward liquor, I'd cut it off." Are we unable to stick to what the Bible actually says? Frustrating.
Our meeting was cut short by the opportunity to talk with Darrin Patrick of The Journey in Clayton, MO and Daniel Montgomery and Mike Cosper of Sojourn in Louisville, KY. We talked for a little over an hour about the SBC and the Younger Leaders Summit, as well as about our local churches and missional ministry. Great stuff. We were all very encouraged.
Then we ate dinner at Big River Grille and Brewing Works. Great food, nice place, good conversation with Joe and Marty. The cheesy spinach jalapeno dip was fantastic. On the way out I saw my buddy Clay Layfield and his wife Amy.
Marty left to go watch a movie (a chick-flick to be sure). Joe and I went back to the Gaylord Center to waste some time. We went to the laptop section (where you can use their laptops to browse the web) and checked for comments on our sites. As we browsed a guy who works with Lifeway came up and said something like, "Are you THE Steve McCoy?" Weird. I froze at a weird question from a stranger. "Uh..Yes." The guy has found the blog and been reading for some time. His name is Craig. He offered to set up a table for us tomorrow to blog at now that they have Wi-fi hooked up. Really good guy, very helpful and generous.
Then I called Chris Seay and Joe and I went to meet him at the Marriott at Vanderbilt. Spent a little under an hour talking about incarnational ministry, hearing stories about church planting, discussing emerging leaders issues and the future of the SBC. Chris is a laid back guy who really encouraged us, but was real with us. I'm glad we were able to get to know him over the past two days.
On the outside it looks like today was really about networking, making connections. In many ways it was about that. But all the conversations and questions worked in my heart some other things. Some of them are too personal to share, but if there is one thing I learned today it's that life is too short to sit back and get a paycheck for preaching. We need to be people incarnated in our culture and our local communities.