Started day one of the National Pastors Convention here in town today.  A few quick observations:

I was deeply convicted by Efrem Smith‘s powerful message in the morning about speaking life into the hearts of those who despair.  In today’s haywire financial environment, it was a timely and necessary word.

The music from Ashmont Hill was fantastic.  I must admit, I was kind of worried that I wouldn’t know any of the songs because I had never heard of them before today.  I didn’t, but it turned out not to matter.  My wife often says that she thinks gospel music will be the soundtrack of heaven (and I agree).  Ashmont Hill combines elements of gospel, r&b and rock to great effect.

A personal highlight today was sitting in on a seminar by Robert Gelinas — better known as Jazz Theologian.  Robert shared some great insights into what a jazz-shaped faith might look like in our churches today (quick note: it’s not so much about the music, but the ethos).  Building on the keynotes of syncopation, improvisation and call & response we can build vibrant, listening, covenant communities of life. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the analogy of pastoral leadership as jazz drumming. Robert’s book, Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith, will be released this week at NPC.  Can’t wait to read it!

One small regret:  I wish I could’ve gotten one of those snazzy, “Walk and not be faint” walking club t-shirts!