Back in January, Tammy, my wife and biggest encourager, saw that proposals to teach a seminar were due at the end of the month. It would be at the 2017 General Assembly, an annual gathering of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), my church’s denomination. She sent me an email and said I should submit a proposal. My first (and second, third and fourth) thoughts were to just delete the email and then be done with it. But I didn’t. Later, I looked at who had presented seminars at General Assembly the year before; a lot of the presenters were people I knew of, had read their books, etc. All the more reason for me not to submit a proposal. Eventually however, I submitted a proposal for a presentation entitled “Helping Our People to Connect Their Faith to Their Work and Callings”, hoping to bring my unique perspective of being a leader in a Fortune 50 organization, a ruling elder in my church and a seminary graduate to the growing faith and work conversation. Still, I knew that there wasn’t “a snowball’s chance…” that my proposal would be approved. But in God’s providence it was!
So last Sunday, Tammy and I (who usually fly anywhere over six hours away), started out on our adventure to Greensboro, North Carolina, which would cover us travelling through parts of seven states and more than 1,700 miles. We weren’t familiar with that part of the country, so we thought it would be fun to drive the eleven-plus hours each way. Friends and family members said it would be a beautiful drive, and it was. I especially enjoyed driving through the winding hills of West Virginia. We had a blast, breaking up the trip with a stop in Huntington, West Virginia on the way down and Cincinnati, Ohio on the way back. Once in Greensboro, we took a side trip to Boone, North Carolina where our nephew went to school and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, home of Jan Karon, author of the Mitford books. We got to travel the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, and watch a thunderstorm coming into the area.
Walking into the convention center to check out the room I would be speaking in, I ran into Tim Keller, one of my heroes, introduced myself and shook his hand. We then ran into our senior pastor of more than 22 years Bob Smart. Later that night, we joined our former Youth and Family Pastor, and all
around great guy, David Keithley, who is now the lead pastor at Hanna City Presbyterian Church, and several other friends from our presbytery at Hops Burger, the top rated burger place in the country for a great meal and fellowship.
Pastor David did his best to recruit people to my seminar the next morning, even offering free Duck Donuts!
I had prayed for 15 to attend, and I was thrilled to have double that amount in attendance. Many of you told me that you were going to pray for me, and I so very much appreciate that. I felt God’s presence and peace throughout the one hour seminar. The seminar was recorded and is available for purchase here, but there was a problem with the microphone battery, so unfortunately, the first part of the seminar was not recorded.
It was an honor to speak at the PCA General Assembly, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. Thanks so much for your prayers and good wishes.
June 16, 2017 at 8:38 am
Wow! What a great experience for you and Tammy! God has gifted you through your reading and study. We are so blessed that you share your take-a-ways and insights with us. And now some GA folks got to be blessed! May God continue to give you opportunities to lead and teach.
June 16, 2017 at 11:27 am
So proud of you Bill… and of Tammy for encouraging you so well. It has been a great pleasure to travel with you two to Ligonier conferences, something I hope to do again in future.
June 17, 2017 at 7:10 am
I was a delegate to the General Assembly and was one of the participants in Bill’s seminar. Bill, you did a great job organizing and presenting your material on this very important topic! I took away useful and actionable material that I believe will make this Monday better. Thanks and look forward to your blog and digging deeper into your other resources.
June 17, 2017 at 10:20 pm
Congrats and thanks for your faithful blogging