We had a good and safe drive to Cleveland (“we” refers to myself and Julian Freeman, a friend and pastor’s assistant from my church. Julian, you may remember, traveled with me to the WorshipGod 06 Conference last year). It was quite uneventful but for a brief hiccup at the border. When I cross the border to go to these events I always mention that I’m going to a “pastor’s conference” or a “Christian conference.” I gave the usual reply this time but the border guard this time asked “Are you speaking at this conference?” This is the first time I’ve been asked this question and, as luck would have it, the first time that I have actually been asked to speak. When I heard that I was speaking, he gave me a little pink piece of paper and told me I’d have to speak to someone in Immigration (“Park over there and enter door one”). I eventually got to speak to someone who asked me what I was doing (“giving a seminar”), whether I was getting paid (“I actually don’t know”) and whether I had any information about the conference. At this point he did the obvious thing: pulled up his browser and Googled the conference and my name. He pulled up my site, saw that I had just posted on my site that I was heading to Cleveland, and then decided that I wasn’t such a bad guy. He stamped my piece of paper and let me go, telling me that I’m not allowed to go into the States and get paid unless its on an honorarium basis. I guess that’s something to remember for the future. Meanwhile, my American friends can rest in the knowledge that the first line of defense for the United States of America is Google.
We arrived at the church at around 1 PM and got the grand tour. And then, at 3 PM, I gave the first of two iterations of my seminar on “Blogging Your Ministry” to however many people could fit in the room (40 maybe?). I thought it went pretty well, though rumor has it I spoke a little bit quickly and perhaps tried to cram in just a little bit too much information. And one person told me (quite helpfully, I think) that it sounded more like a blog post than a seminar. So I suppose it was a fairly successful transition from the written word to the spoken word. I’ve got things to work on for the second time I present it. They did record the audio and I’ll share the link if it’s not too embarrassing. I’ll share the text at some point as well.
Alistair Begg kicked off the conference with an update about his surgery. While most of the news is good and the doctors claim they feel he is now cancer free, he does have some more minor surgery scheduled tomorrow. He will be present for portions of this conference but not for as much as he might otherwise like. Begg then introduced the staff, speakers and blogger who are involved in this event (and at this moment blogging jokes are flying fast and furious). Derek Thomas and Edward Lobb each took a few minutes to introduce themselves and to share their testimonies. This weekend’s third speaker, Voddie Baucham is still in transit and hopes to arrive here before his 7 PM session is set to begin.
Begg provided just a brief exhortation on 1 Timothy 4:16 which reads “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.” We were then sent off to eat dinner. The conference will begin in earnest in just a couple of hours when Voddie Baucham leads the first general session.