As the band played one of the first songs of the evening session and the conference attendees sang along in worship, we noticed the fire alarm.
I attended Southeast Conclave this past weekend, an annual youth ministry conference in Chattanooga, TN. I’ve wanted to attend Conclave for a few years, but I hadn’t worked the trip into my budget and schedule until this year. Overall, I found the trip to be fantastic. I was encouraged greatly by the speakers and the musicians, and I was challenged by the breakout sessions and the main sessions. But Friday night’s session sticks out in my mind.
At first, we believed the fire alarm to be a false alarm, but we soon were told otherwise. A small fire broke out in a kitchen at the conference center near the room where Conclave met, leading those in charge to call for an evacuation of the building until the situation was under control. From what we were told, the fire was quickly contained; all that remained was to vent the smoke from the room. Yet we still could not enter the building.
As we stood across the street and waited for instructions, we saw Rush of Fools, the band for the event, step outside with some of their instruments. They quickly set up a portable sound system and continued to lead the crowd in worship from the curb. When they finished their set, Russell Moore, the speaker for the evening, stepped up to give an abbreviated message to the youth workers in attendance. In spite of the circumstances, the show continued on.
The willingness of the leaders to continue the session encouraged me. Although their plans changed due to unforseen events, they adjusted in order to fulfill their goal of encouraging and equipping youth ministers. I’m sure the situation frustrated those who had spent so much time and energy planning the evening’s events, but the leaders didn’t reveal any bitterness. They continued to serve, working quickly to provide for the attendees and making sacrifices for the sake of worship. And worship we did. We sang praises as vehicles drove past and as pedestrians passed by, rejoicing in our Lord who remains unchanging in spite of our ever-changing circumstances.
We can’t control how our lives will go. The longer I study Proverbs, the more convinced I become of my inability to do anything but walk by faith. I may plan out my future in great detail, but I can’t make any of my plans come to fruition. God alone ordains my steps. So when plans change and paths turn unexpectedly, let me respond like the leaders of Conclave. Let me continue to worship in everything I do. Let me set an example for all around me of a life lived on the firm foundation of Christ. And let me always be singing of his goodness and power in life.