Today, I sipped on Starbucks Oprah Chai — which is what they are called now, if you didn’t know — while I browsed through other’s Together for the Gospel reflections. Together for the Gospel, widely known as T4G, is a conference held every other year in Louisville Kentucky. I have gone to the last two, and they have been extremely edifying experiences. But edifying, does not mean a little fun was not had. And so without further ado, I give you 10 geeky, young, restless, reformed and stereotypical moments experienced at T4G.
10. That moment in Einstein Brothers where one guy leaned over to another and said, “I just got a text that Kevin DeYoung and the rest of the panel are walking down 4th Street.” And the two of them took off after them. I can only imagine what they did when they found them. It was probably something like stopping 100 feet away, staring, and then looking at each other and saying, “Alright, what’s next? Let’s go to the zero dollar bookstore and head home.” They should have built tabernacles.
9. That moment where Mark Dever made everyone do squats at the beginning of the conference for fifteen minutes. You know what I mean. He asks a bunch of questions over and over again. People stand. People sit. Then we do it all over again. Most of us are confused, whether we are standing or sitting. I bet he muses to himself each T4G, “Now let’s see how many miles they walk over the next three days. This schtick never gets old.”
8. That moment where I finally told the guy I’d been talking to for thirty minutes that we should sit down. My legs were aching and my shoulder was tight from wearing my satchel. It was around that time where I started seeing everyone else at the conference randomly doing calf stretches. I think I saw Mark Dever pointing and laughing as he read William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour.
7. That moment Derek Rishmawy turned around and said with a big cheesy grin “Can you believe we’re riding with the Band of Blogger panel.” And I cooly responded, eyebrows raised, “Yeah.” But I felt on the inside how he looked on the outside. I saw Justin Taylor quietly grin and then Denny Burk said, “I don’t know you guys. Who are you?” I think only Dave Furman had a reasonable explanation. Later Derek confessed he was being somewhat sarcastic, but I don’t believe it.
6. That moment that Anyabwile and MacArthur walked down the middle of Fourth St. after a plenary session and everyone was like, “Dude, they’re walking in our midst.” It reminded me of when Rocky cut the Russian in Rocky IV. They are human.
5. That moment I met Jason Helopoulos and I led with a panicked, “My family does family worship.”
4. That moment that Kevin DeYoung walked up next to me, picked up a brochure at the Westminster booth, and shook one of the reps hands on Thursday. I nearly wet my pants, burned my ThM, and started over at Westminster. Nearly.
3. That moment when everyone started spreading information and misinformation about when Piper would speak, just to keep us all interested in attending ALL the sessions.
2. Every moment of Bob Kauflin’s humility and the beautiful sound of 7000 men singing Crown Him with Many Crowns (Okay, forgive me for one special spiritual moment).
1. That moment I excitedly walked up to Mez McConnell, shook his hand, and said, “Mez, I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your ministry and your writing.” To which he responded, “Dude, in my country, people just give each other a head nod.” Yep, that’s what they do in America too, unless their socially awkward like me.
Those are a few the memorable, satirical, and somewhat embarrassing moments that happened. There is more to share. I shamelessly went to an informal gathering called “Tweet It Up.” Yep. Bloggers and editors are nerds. And I saw way too much logo apparel that has a strange onomatopoeia of that sound you make when you vomit a little in your mouth, “ERLC.”
There are also a few things that I wish had not happened. I wish that Rachel Held Evans had not made her way into as many conversations. I wish that there was less celebrity-ism celebrated. I wish I would have passed on more french fry opportunities. I wish I wasn’t so underdressed every time I was around John MacArthur. I wish I had known about the lounge with outlets on the third deck of the Yum Center before Thursday afternoon. I wish that less people — after hearing I was a Dallas grad — did not begin their next question with, “Do you think that Dallas Seminary has…?” No, Dallas has not jumped the shark yet. Same gospel. Same team guys. Same team.
Let’s end on this note. I fellowshipped with a lot of people I had not seen in some time, and I met a bunch of people who were only pixels previously. I encouraged a number of pastors and bloggers, likewise they encouraged me. I witnessed many gathered to pray for one another. A lot of young men left eager to preach the gospel. I hung out with the fellows that I drove down with on a number of occasions. I even got free shaving cream from the hotel. You always forget to pack something. I returned home with a lot of books, an encouraged soul, and an exhausted body.
I bet there are about 6,999 others who have done likewise. If you know one of those people, please pray for them. Pray for a flourishing, faithful, and fruitful ministry.
What were some of your memorable T4G 2014 moments?
Here’s another one of mine: