In no particular order:
• We prayed for the Lord to reveal himself at CCDA West Michigan Regional Conference. That happened. After the event, one attendee emailed me and wrote, “I just wanted to say thank you for all the planning and execution that went into the successful West MI CCDA meeting. I think the best part for me was sensing the Holy Spirit’s presence through out the various venues.”
IMAGE BELOW: Green room prayer ahead of the fourth and final plenary session.
• We had over 300 pre-registrants, and I’m gonna guess about 450 people in all (when you count people who attended the free Thursday and Friday night plenary sessions) – a great turnout! Also, the intensives on Friday were well-attended and packed with value. The Business and Social Enterprise intensive, for example, had 38 pre-registered and then a final count of 52.
• The fellowship and energy was palpable and engaging. The worship team, lead by C.J. Kingdom-Grier, was truly an answer to the prayer for the Lord to reveal himself. Our plenary speakers – Noel Castellanos, Laura Carpenter, Ricardo Tavarez, Royce Evans, Robyn Afrik, and John Booy – left it all on the court (to use a basketball euphemism – they gave of themselves and more).
• It’s really great to connect with an entire group of people who are very local to your space. Even getting from Three Rivers to Muskegon – a solid 110 mile drive – is not as challenging as following up with people you meet at the national CCDA conference (there were times, when I lived in Los Angeles, that I wanted to follow up with somebody in Texas or Iowa – not easy to do in a meaningful way).
• There were a bunch of teenagers there on Saturday to attend the Teen Leadership Intensive. It was beautiful that they got to hear Royce Evans give a powerful word on building on Christ and even building into Christ.
• We had a great planning team working together to make this happen. Denise Fase, Kafi Carrasco, Richelle White, Nate Bradford, Laura Carpenter, Royce Evans, Ricardo Tavarez, Todd Cioffi, and I were together from late May 2012 in planning and leading the event. We were assisted in significant ways by Allison Brito, Andy De Jong, and Zakiya Jackson.
• The Saturday workshops were remarkable. I attended Lisa Johanon’s session on Lessons Learned in CCDA Social Enterprise – and took notes on her 10 key lessons learned – man! Then I got to Denise Evans’s Principles for Urban-Suburban Partnerships from an Urban Church Perspective. Excellent stuff. My wife, Kafi, co-taught a workshop (with Janice McWhertor) on The Future of Reconciliation, then she attended Jerry Bishop’s workshop on The Cain Syndrome in Urban Young Men, which she said was spot on and right on time. I heard great things about other sessions. These workshops were a demonstration of what we knew all along – there are some appropriate and excellent resource people right here in our midst in West Michigan.
• We are grateful to organizations that hosted the Friday intensives around town. These include Servant’s Community Church, which hosted the Asset-based Community Development intensive; Inner City Christian Federation, which hosted the Business and Social Enterprise intensive; Kuyper College, which hosted the Re:load Urban Youth Ministry intensive; Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, which hosted the Church-based Community Development intensive; Madison Square Church, which hosted the Racial Reconciliation intensive; and Calvin Seminary, which hosted the Restorative Justice, Prison and Reentry intensive.
• The team of student volunteers at Calvin College – led by Todd Cioffi and Nate Bradford – helped make for a smooth running event. Calvin also provided event space for half the event in-kind. The Friday intensive space was also provided in-kind. These in-kind contributions helped us cover our costs for the events and allowed us to keep the cost very low. We couldn’t have done it with these friends!
• CCDA National was represented by Noel Castellanos, CEO; Marianne Castellanos, Noel’s wife; and Patty Prasada-Rao, Director of Operations. Dave Clark provided significant back-end support. Below is Noel getting things started on Thursday night.
• Next Steps: It will take a couple of weeks to follow up from this event. Then there will be notice of time and location of next year’s regional conference. If you have feedback on this event and/or thoughts for next year, please send an email to email@example.com.