This past week, my wife and I were able to attend the second annual Ancient Faith Ministries Writers and Podcasters Conference (AFCon). I had hoped to attend this event last year, as my book (Blueprints for the Little Church: Creating an Orthodox Home) had just been released days before the conference. But time and money didn’t work out, and I wasn’t able to attend. (Humorously, this would have been the first time that my co-author and I were in the same room, had I been able to make it.) This year, we registered for the conference and took time off of work as soon as we learned the dates.
On a personal level, the conference was special for a lot of reasons.
- It was 14 total hours in the car with my wife with no children
- It was 2 full days of adult conversation and collaboration
- It was the first time that Elissa and I would be together at the same event
- It was an opportunity to meet together and begin collaboration with Adam Lockridge–my co-host on an upcoming podcast
I had not expected this conference to be so powerful. And it began as soon as we arrived! The atmosphere was electric as men and women who’ve known each other’s names–maybe friends on Facebook–but never met each other started running into each other in the halls! Hugs were abundant, and the awkwardness of new meetings took on the atmosphere of reunion. We do, after all, “know” each other, right? We’ve been communicating online and perhaps via e-mail or phone for years; and there’s that special relationship you have with somebody on the radio. I found myself saying, “I know that voice!” more than once as the weekend went on.
I’m not going to belabor the post by summarizing every moment and every detail of the conference, but from the very moment we arrive to the moment we said our wistful farewells there was a something special–something palpable–at this gathering of creative minds and content producers. We were challenged to look deeply at our ministries and ask how we can maximize their impact. Dr. Al Rossi encouraged us to spend time in silence, seeking the presence of God in our working lives. Opportunity was granted for self-reflection and assessment, to better understand our strengths and weaknesses as a creative. And throughout there was a sense of possibility–that I could take on that other project; that I could finish that book; that I could produce something powerful and affirming that draws others to Christ!
I went to the conference hoping to meet Elissa, learn from others how they finished multiple projects, and get some things hammered out with Adam. Emily went as a sidekick. We both came home encouraged and empowered to take on projects we never even dreamed were possible! I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to have your dreams and ambitions fed and encouraged and to leave with a sense of ability, knowing that you can do more than you had originally considered possible.