I was looking at a friend of mine's website which contains many media files. I was watching one in particular entitled, "burning ones." I loved the title. I immediately thought, "that would be a great name for some sort of youth/young adult event." I admit, I didn't do anything immediately with my new found thought. I shared the name with a few friends and we all thought it was a rich, full title that held lots of potential for development. A few weeks passed and I found myself dreaming of a youth and young adult event. Could that happen in Austin? Has anyone tried this before? I knew that our church carries a mandate to "resource" the region and provide leadership where we can. I also knew that we had some success in hosting some powerful weekends with well known speakers. As one gentlemen told us, "Church of the Hills has an anointing to gather people." We also had a sense from the Spirit of God that conferences were, in some way, a concentrated weekend for training and encouragement. All of these pieces began to come together, but I was lacking a few strategic pieces.
1. Was this God's idea for us?
2. Who would help me lead it?
3. What did "the fathers in the city" have to say?
Yes, this was God's idea for us. This was in his heart for us to do and it was in my heart as well. Who would help me lead it? I am honored to say that there is an incredible team that made this event successful. It was people who worked hard in the office doing the behind scenes stuff to those who took on responsibilities that were obvious and visible to all. Finally, I met with a couple of the "fathers" in our city and they agreed that this was God's timing and season for such an event. So we scheduled it, dreamed about it, prayed into it, planned it, and DID IT!
There are many people who need to be thanked.
Darlene: Thank you for supporting this event with your prayers, leadership and strong project management skills. Thank you for dreaming with me.
Lawrence & Danielle: You burn with white hot love for God. Thank you for leading and investing into this city.
Heather: You did a fantastic job in the office and did exceptionally well handling much of the adminstrative duties.
Kelli: You are a mother in the faith who released belief and courage to us and motivate us to do what we think is impossible.
Kimber: Your hospitality skills are fantasic. Thank you for loving and serving our team so well. Thank you for always asking me if you could get me a "Chic-fil-a" sweet tea.
John: Thanks for leading us through worship into God's intimate presence.
Bill: Thank you for your friendship and thank you for providing the ministry training.
COTH Pastoral Team: Thank you for the resources, courage and enthusiastic leadership that you gave us before, during and after the event.
To all the others, thank you for what you did to make this event work. Our church thanks you deeply for owning and investing. All of you are amazing.
After all of the leadership and planning we gathered on Friday night for our service. I was nervous and was wondering if anyone would come. I had friends tell me they would be there, but somehow I thought "old reruns of Happy Days" would be enticing enough to keep people away. However, I was blown away. This weekend was the second in a matter of weeks when God exceeded my imagination. He literally went beyond what I had anticipated. We had over 20 churches from Houston to Junction, Dallas to Austin show up. This group came hungry, passionate and ready to encounter God. And they did. They did encounter God in intimate and magnificent ways. We had nearly 450 guests our first night. Banning taught and spoke to the generations and called them to a higher plane of living. Saturday morning, we met, we gathered and God invaded the house. We also had the privilege of meeting leaders from over 15 churches, from around the state, who came to receive from God during the weekend. Saturday afternoon, we were awestruck when over 150 people came for ministry training. We not only taught and activated, but we sent them out on the streets. We got stories of people being healed in local stores and restaurants. As if things could not get any better we had a Saturday night meeting that was INCREDIBLE! Between worship, teaching and the impartation line it looked like we had a "wreck" inside the sanctuary. People were all over the place, loving and praying for each other. It was one of the strongest times of impartation I had ever experienced.
We believe that God is elevating people to a higher understanding of their identity in Jesus and as a result they are becoming aware of how high God is calling them to live. People are "burning" today for more. During the "burningones" weekend we hoped to accomplish a several objectives.
1. Encourage people to do all that is their heart.
2. Encounter and be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
3. Provide training for supernatural living.
4. Provide a relational community for other revivalists.
Check. Check. Check. Check. It happened. God did it by his grace and power.
So now what? We continue to steward God's goodness in our community and release revivalists who live in intimacy with God and live a life of signs, wonders and miracles. Burningones 2009 is on the calendar. We will meet again. Check out www.burningones.tv for new pictures, teachings, blogs and information about upcoming events. Until then....keep burning!