1. Putting names with faces. Jared and I interact with lots of people via the internet that we rarely get to meet or speak to in person. While I'm extremely grateful for the way technology shrinks the world and allows conversations to take place all across the globe at any given moment, it's always fun to enjoy some of those conversations face and face over coffee or a meal. This year in Orlando we will get to enjoy fellowship with brothers and sisters from as near as Vermont and Maine and as far as Dubai. So cool.
2. Fellowship with the "big C" Church. By most standards, our church in Vermont is very small. We believe it is EPIC in quality, but certainly our quantity is limited and likely always will be. Even so, we love it with all of our hearts and hope to minister there for a very long time, but we do enjoy the occasional physical reminder that we are part of something far greater than our congregation. When thousands gather to exult in Christ and worship together, it is a chilling, thrilling picture of the Gospel active and alive throughout the world. We are not alone. Hope abounds, and it is gorgeous.
3. Focused, uninterrupted worship and teaching. I suppose I am partly to blame for this, but I confess that I rarely feel like I can shut out the rest of the world for intense focus on worship and study. To be clear, I *do* spend time doing these things, but rarely without interruption or distraction. There are always chores beckoning, phones ringing, emails waiting for an answer, etc. It is quite a treat indeed to remove myself from distractions and potential interruptions and focus fully with an open heart and clear mind on the worship and teaching before me.
4. Applicable teaching. I understand that I am not the target audience for these events. However, the teaching is certainly applicable to me. I greatly appreciate that. The overarching themes of these events are quite simply the truths of Scripture and how they apply to all areas of life. Some of the break-out sessions focus much more specifically on the role of the pastor, but even many of those are perfectly accessible to just about anyone seeking a greater understanding of Scripture. I can't recall a single session at a TGC (or T4G) conference that I felt was too "pastor-focused" to apply to me.
5. Worshiping *next to* my husband. It is one of the greatest treasures of my life and a true gift and joy to sit under his teaching almost every week. He is my favorite pastor ever. Truly. But that's just it-- Most Sundays, he is my pastor. He is up at 5am needing time alone to pray and finalize preparations for his message. He is then fully engaged in what must take place at church--teaching, interacting with our congregation, following up on things that need his attention, answering questions, etc. By Sunday afternoon, he is wiped out and honestly just sort of needs to be left alone. ;-) We have learned this routine and adapted to it as well as a family can, I think, but I wouldn't say it's my favorite thing about being a pastor's wife. Imagine my joy and delight then, when I get to worship and exult *next to* my husband. When he is being energized and refreshed by the experience rather than poured out and exhausted. When we can talk about it afterwards and reflect on our time learning together. And when we can leave the experience as a couple with energy and joy and refreshment. Such a treat!
SO looking forward to TGC13!