What I Learned at NAFWB’11

I love the annual National Association of Free Will Baptist Convention. Unfortunately, I have not been able to attend the past three, but there was no way I was going to miss this one since it was within six hours of home and my wife thought she could con her parents into keeping our 5 and 6 year olds. This was the first time I have ever been to the National without any responsibility so I had a lot of time to visit all of the exhibits and actually see what they were offering, see some of the NYC competition, the fwb21 panel, evening services, the tweet-up lunch, talk to a lot of friends and family, and generally just do whatever I wanted.

Because I had a little more time to observe and was able to have real conversations with more people, I was able to learn several things that many FWBs probably have known for a long time:

  • All you can eat wings at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch is a great idea.
  • All you can eat wings for supper the same day is not a great idea.
  • If you are looking for something to be offended about, you will find it.
  • We Free Will Baptists treat the NAFWB evening service more like a political rally than a church service—we are listening to cheer for what we agree on and with a keen ear for anything we don’t. I wonder what would happen if that many dedicated Christians gathered in one place listened to God rather than the people talking.
  • 4 of the FWB colleges were giving away lanyards at their booths while the other was giving away raisins. My 20 month old daughter is a big fan of California Christian.
  • 20somethings do a great job of talking about bettering the denomination, but there were fewer than 5 in the business meetings. Perhaps that is because…
  • There is no such thing as an exciting report.
  • I will order food just because it has a cool name. My receipts for a Homewrecker burrito at Moe’s and a That’s How I Roll signature creation at Coldstone attest to this.
  • Talking with those you disagree with is the first step toward denominational unity.
  • Talking about those you disagree with is the first step away from denominational unity.
  • If real discussion only happens once a year, we will need to re-take that first step every year.
  • My generation thinks the disunity within our denomination is superficial, but I am pretty sure it isn’t. I realized this week that, out of fear of offending, we haven’t talked about the real issues for so long that a whole generation doesn’t know what they are or how strongly the beliefs are held. If our denomination is going to be unified in a way that it hasn’t been in my lifetime, we must discuss specifics without ad hominem and let each other know the real reasons for our objections.
  • NAFWB delegates should be required to remove their name tags when smoking outside of the convention center.
  • We are definitely a rural denomination. I had a hard time distinguishing the people who were visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame next door from the FWBs.
  • There is a Bojangles in the Charlotte Convention Center! One worker told me they had another Baptist convention last week so I would be surprised if there is a single chicken still alive east of the Mississippi.
  • My cousin told me that my great grandpa, George Scott, made the motion to make the Wednesday night service at NAFWB a missions-emphasis service. Since the missions service is always great, I’ll accept that it was my family’s idea without any documentation. (But if anyone has any, let me know.)

About Jeff Postlewaite

high school principal since '07, father since '04, teacher since '03, husband since '03, sound tech since '96, UVA fan since '92, gadget junkie since '89, Christian since '88, Giants fan since '84, golfer since '83, brother since '83, human since '81

Posted on July 22, 2011, in Ministry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. It was good to meet you! Some good thoughts here, as usual.

  2. I agree, it was good to meet you,

  3. It was great to meet you, too, Jacob. I really did enjoy getting together with other young FWBs and being able to listen to some more experienced ones at the panel. Thanks for putting that together.
    Hannah, I had heard so much about you! It was wonderful to put a face with that unique name.

  4. You forgot the most important one – how to increase enrollment by 90%. Better leave that one alone huh. Good thoughts here. Come next year with your resume and I will nominate you for some of the boards.

  5. Doug, I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t be on one of the boards…aren’t you required to sit through the entire meetings? My attention span couldn’t handle that.

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