*I'm running a series of short posts on attending & experiencing Verge.*
Being a part of the Verge Social Media Team made the conference a unique experience. You pay attention in a different way when you have to write about it, tweet it, etc.
One thing I seem to always talk about when it comes to blogs, Twitter, Facebook and so on is the value of the relationships formed through them. I've yet to find it very valuable for the people around me. Honestly, where I pastor there are number of folks on Facebook but the other stuff is another language. Most of my church doesn't read nor do that care about my blog. No one else tweets. But Reformissionary, Twitter and other social connections have been some of the most valuable resources of my life as they have connected me to a huge network around the globe of pastors, missionaries, planters, and missional Christians.
If not for my many followers I wouldn't have gone to Verge. It was on my radar, just not my budget. But my social network helped to make my attendance valuable for Verge as I could spread their message to my network. I hope the Verge posts and tweets were/are a blessing to you. I'm so thankful Stew and the other Verge folks invited me there.
Having my network helped me to connect to many people at Verge. Some I knew by name or photo. Others I've never met. It's kinda funny how often folks recognize me at conferences from Reformissionary or Twitter, or how often I recognize them. It opens doors and leads to conversations far down the road. If not for my network I wouldn't have had Brent Thomas driving me everywhere with his rental Escalade (or whatever it was). It's only the second time I've seen him face-to-face and he's already a great friend and encouragement. Then there were the other Twitters and bloggers and Facebook friends. They were all over. What a cool thing.
For all that's said about social networking as a detriment, it's been one of the great blessings of my life in ministry.
Being specifically on the social media team wasn't all that big of a deal (other than them picking up the tab!). I didn't get access to apple slices and caramel dip or anything. I'm sure I could have had more access to speakers if I asked. But I wanted to soak, and experience, and that was just my role. I'm glad it was because too much would have put noise around the voice of God, and I needed it a little quieter.
By the way, almost no one is as cool as they seem on the web. You've realized that, right? DJ Chuang and I were sharing our Tim Keller stories. I was geeking out because I met Kent Shaffer and Charlie Wear and Milfred Minatrea and others. But you quickly realize they are just other dudes who love Jesus and work for His Church. They are just guys. I'm glad to be one of them.
I felt like the Verge social media team experiment was a good one. One I was blessed by far more than they (or you) were blessed by my involvement. I learned by my Verge experience that the Spirit is infinitely greater than "the buzz." If "the buzz" doesn't come by the Spirit, it isn't good enough. There was a lot of social network buzz coming out of Verge. That was/is a good thing. But it doesn't compare with what God did to my heart at Verge. I hope through this and other blogs that "the buzz" will ultimately be about God and His goodness and glory through Jesus Christ. It should be because He was there.
That's what the next two posts will be about. Post 3 will be about the impact Jeff Vanderstelt and Caesar Kalinowski's workshop on Soma Communities had on me. Post 4, the haunting of the Ghost.