With Jubilee just a little more than 24 hours away, it’s easy to say, “Ready or not, it’s here!” However, in these final hours, there are still some things we can consider as we plan to make the most of our Jubilee experience.
Here’s a top ten list of things to do to prepare. Most of these points are adapted directly from my co-worker, Steve Lutz’, blog (the SENTinel)…with a few add-ons. Thanks, Steve!
1. Come with an open mind. Assess and deal with your preconceived notions, particularly of what Christian conferences (and a bunch of gathered Christians) are like. Question your skepticism. In large part, the conference will be what you make of it. People have had amazing, wild, utterly mind-blowing, life-transforming experiences. People have also had “Meh” experiences. So, in your mental, spiritual, and physical posture, be Active (engaged), not Passive (entertain me).
2. Seek Humility. Seek humility (I don’t know everything), not arrogance (no one can teach me). Ask what you can contribute (prosumer), not “what’s in it for me” (consumer). One thing about Jubilee–you won’t agree with everyone. Jubilee is not “safe,” as many conferences are. You will be exposed to things you don’t comprehend, things you dislike, things that make you uncomfortable, things you’ve never heard before. This is good. So listen, process, dialogue. It means to think critically, but not to put yourself “above” the conference as a hyper-critic. You’ll rob yourself–and others–of your experience.
2. Work ahead. This point isn’t just for students! Trust me, you won’t want to come home on Sunday afternoon with 6 hours of work to do. If possible, you don’t want to have to do O-Chem on Saturday afternoon. You’ll want time on Saturday to process Jubilee.You’ll want to rest. Do yourself a favor, and do everything you can to leave your work behind from Friday thru Sunday. Your future self thanks me for telling you this.
3. Meet new people. You are gathering with 2500 students, and leading authorities in their field. So get out there and meet them! Meet students. Meet speakers. Connect with some ministries and organizations. Start conversations. Make connections. Network. Line up an internship for the summer. The people you meet at Jubilee may serve as a critical juncture in your life-path.
4. Get some new books! Jubilee is not about telling you what to think. It is about helping you know how to think. It is about equipping you to join the conversation. It is about connecting you to the best dialogue partners. One thing about Jubilee–it puts to death the common assumption that Christians are anti-intellectual, uncultured, & brain-dead. Well, not all of us are. You will encounter a unique and fantastic book “table” at Jubilee. I say “table” in quotes because what Byron Borger and the Hearts & Minds team pull off is extraordinary. You will find books with a Christian perspective on nearly every field of study. You will want to spend a good deal of time perusing this mobile bookstore, which is unlike any other bookstore you’ve been to. So bring some money, and plan on coming home with a couple books!
5. Pace yourself, and 6. Process as you go. We hope–and expect–that you go to most or all of the main sessions. We hope you go to most of the breakout sessions. We expect you to be fully present when you are there. Take notes–you won’t remember everything you hear, and you’ll want to. But at some point–particularly if this is your first Jubilee–you may get overwhelmed or worn out. Take the time to process and refresh yourself. This isn’t a carte blanche to skip out, but to pull someone else aside and talk through something you have heard, to work things down deeper so they stick.
7. Pray. Before, during, after. You may or may not know that there’s a prayer room at Jubilee, located in Armstrong room. Come for a respite to pray with CCO staff people who are there to serve you, or come and pray on your own. Breathe. Pause. Pray.
8. Pay attention. And I don’t say that in the way the school teacher does, chiding the pupil. Pay attention to where God is moving, to what He may be teaching you. Pay attention to the needs of people around you. Look for confused folks and help them. Look for ways to be Jesus to others. Look for Jesus.
9. Reach out. In a very practical sense, if you have a question about where to find a certain room or speaker or any pragmatic question for that matter, head to the Jubilee Solutions room. On another level, if you’re struggling, confused, overwhelmed or need something, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reaching out is an incredibly important part of our spiritual lives. It’s okay and necessary to admit we need help.
Last, and very important….
10. As you come off the mountaintop, bring the message to the people. In the book of Exodus, Moses has a powerful encounter with God on the mountain, and he returns to bring the message to the people. Don’t leave your Jubilee experience in Pittsburgh. In our “instant” culture, it’s so easy to be on to the next best thing, but let’s not do that. Let’s share with others when we come home. What a privilege it is to attend a conference like this. Let’s be faithful to unpack it and share it with others. Let’s make a commitment to live jubilee!
See you there!