The Art Of The Hang
I think I know what you’re enjoying most about the Fourth of July.
Yes, you’re glad just for a day off, but my hunch is there’s something more. Maybe you’re working on a project around the house. Maybe you’re settled in for some R and R beside the pool or in your favorite recliner. But for most of us—and most likely for you—the highlight of the holiday is the time spent with other people: talking, laughing, playing, eating. Hanging out.
That’s exactly what I enjoyed most about attending the North American Christian Convention in Indianapolis last week.
Yes, there were inspiring moments of worship. Yes, some of the nation’s best preachers brought insight and challenge. (So many good things were said from the platform; I considered listing Top Ten Quotes From the NACC as this week’s post.)
But I realize what I gained most from my time at the convention is what you’ll enjoy most about your time off today: hanging out.
My friend Brook Brotzman, who is the founder and president of an international mission organization called GO Ministries, calls it “The Art of the Hang.” If you get together with people who will challenge or encourage you, you’ll discover there’s no better way to spend your time. If you are in an environment where you can let down your guard, be real, be you, and find no "plastic" pastors, you will be a better person. If you just hang with leaders who care about your ministry, your ministry will be better for it.
I was at gatherings after the conference Tuesday and Wednesday night following the evening session. About 75 of us the first night stayed at the venue hosting us 90 minutes past their closing time. (They gave us permission!) Talking. Laughing. “What’s happening at your church?” “How could we work together?” “What could we do for you?” "How can I walk with you?" "How is your family?" "Is there any way my struggle can help your struggle?" It was the same for another 50 to 60 who gathered the second night.
Most of us got way more out of those several hours than we did from sitting in the convention center.
We blocked out time just to be together. We were masters at The Art of the Hang. But it didn’t happen only at those two gatherings. The same was true in the convention center hallways and in chairs provided by exhibitors arranged across a giant hall. (For my money, this is the greatest value of the NACC exhibits: the booths provide the perfect place for people to hang out.) And it happened outside the convention center, too. I had more than one street corner conversation that was gold.
I made new friends who will be friends for life.
I spent time with friends who have been friends for life.
I laughed—a lot!
This is the reason I go to the NACC: the connections made around and outside the events listed in the program. They wouldn’t have happened without that program, so I’m very grateful for the convention. But if they’d ask me for a new tag line to use in their marketing, here’s what I’d suggest:
North American Christian Convention: the place to perfect The Art of the Hang.