Anyone who has followed me on social media for the last 60 days or more knows that I attended and had my life turned upside down by a conference in Atlanta called the Young Leaders Conference. It was one of the greatest spiritual experiences of my recent history. I wasn’t exactly sure how to put into words what transpired during the conference. I experienced sessions taught by some of the nation’s leading preachers and creatives including Bishop Marvin Sapp, Bishop Jason Nelson, Pastor Tommy Tenney, and the conference visionary, Elder Mark Moore. In addition to the sessions, we had incredible times of worship in the evenings with notable times of preaching from Pastor John Hannah and Co-Pastor Wanda Parker. I was also introduced to some emerging voices that you should look up, such as Karri Turner, Pastor Jay Patrick, and Pastor TJ McBride.
Most importantly, the presence of God was so real, so tangible, and so heavy throughout the duration of the conference. I have a brain full of ideas, a spirit full of fervor, and a heart full of encouragement. I also have page upon page of notes and a book bag full of books, t-shirts, and other paraphernalia
I was sitting in the airport and I was thinking what possibly could have been done differently to make the conference any better. After deciding that it was exactly what I needed and wanted at this time, I tried to think of what could have capped off the conference or added any additional components that would have been beneficial to everyone who attended. The only thing that I could come up with was possibly adding a closing general session entitled “The conference is over….now what?”. In this session I envisioned that the host or a strategic voice could have spoken to us regarding practical and spiritual components of integrating our new experiences (and really our new normal) from the conference into our everyday life that was waiting for us on the other side of our trip home.
The truth is, becoming empowered means nothing if using that power isn’t the intent or the expectation. So what does one do in their next steps when you’ve experienced God in a new and more heightened way and received specific instructions for your life’s next steps? How do you move forward with implementation as an individual and as a leader? Let’s ask Moses, as detailed in the book of Exodus.
Meet the People Where They Are
Moses was on the mountaintop getting specific and detailed instructions from the Lord for a long period of time. During this time, the people were not with him. They were still in a lower place. When leaving a conference or a special time with God, you must remember that the people may not be where you are. God’s instruction to Moses was for him to “Go down from this mountain”. God explained to Moses what the people had done and what state they were in. He prepared him for what He would find at home. He also reminded Moses that the people were stubborn. When you’ve had a heightened experience with God as a leader that refreshed you, it never means that the people won’t still be people. If they were stubborn when you left, outside of God supernaturally changing them, they will be stubborn when you return. You must go to where they are, but you must not stay where they are.
Keep Your Mind and Heart Elevated
While you must physically go down to where the people are, you must keep your spirit and your mind elevated. Moses went down and when he saw the people carrying on in ways that they should have known was out of order, he became angry and began to punish the people. God told him, in essence, “You go lead the people where I have told you. I’ll take care of the punishments.” Don’t get contentious when the people aren’t where you are. Remember, they didn’t experience what you experienced. Lead them to where they are supposed to be. And remember, anytime that someone is following you, there is the chance that you may have to slow down in order for them to catch up and keep up.
When God told Moses about the events that were happening in his absence among the people, Moses asked God to forgive them, or to remove his name from the book that held the names of God’s people. Moses made himself a sacrifice for the people in spite of their disobedience. Moses understood that what God had given him was not just for him, but for the people who he was leading. I’m sure you’re thinking “I’m already sacrificing myself”, but are you willing to sacrifice yourself until it hurts? Moses even sacrificed his own safe standing with God to protect stubborn people. As a leader, you will have to go just a little further in order to protect those under you who haven’t had the experience that you’ve had. This may mean explaining the vision more often or differently. This may mean taking on some of the legwork to get the vision across the way that God showed it to you in His presence. This may mean making yourself more available or more accessible to the people you lead. This may mean giving yourself to more prayer, fasting, and study of the Word. Go the extra mile. Because of your recent mountaintop experience, you have the clearest vision of where God is and the best record of what God said. To whom much is given, much is required.
Don’t Throw Away What God Said
In Moses’ anger upon seeing the people sinning, he threw down and broke the tablets that God had personally written on. An interesting note is that God had already told him what was happening and he begged God not to pusish them by reminding God of what He had promised them. However, when he got the visual of what was going on, it was Moses who was angry. In his anger, he destroyed the words that God had spoken. How often do we go to a conference, leave empowered and then, after seeing how things are going at home, decide “What’s the use?”, and throw away (physically or figuratively) all that God poured into us while we were in His presence? Don’t ever waste what God gave you in His presence. All that you’ve learned, soaked in, stored up from the conference or your time with God is valuable and profitable for ministry. Thankfully, God rewrote His instructions to Moses two chapters later, but who knows when your “two chapters later” is?
Look for the Next Place in God
Moses had seen the burning bush. He had gone to the mountaintop and communed with God and received instructions, yet he knew that there was still more of God to experience, even beyond the most recent experience on the mountaintop. So Moses asked to see God’s glory. God told Him in essence, “Because you asked, and because I am pleased with you, I’ll give you more of me, but I can’t give you all of me at once.” We must recognize that God will reveal Himself to us in doses that we can handle. Therefore, we must set aside time to be in His presence regularly, and we must ask for the more of Him. We must set aside time for our mountaintop experience so that we can be further instructed and see the next place that God has for us. When you seek more of God, His presence, His power, and His instruction, you will find what you are seeking.