The Original Learning Party Returns: Soularize 2011
I attended Soularize, the original “learning party,” for the first time in 2002. I had only been working for Billy Graham for about two years at that time, and yet I had the audacity to contact the host of Soularize (Spencer Burke) and offer to facilitate a discussion on “Evangelism: What does it mean to you?” — which (to my surprise) he accepted!
So I found myself in the Harrison Room at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, in downtown Minneapolis (my home city), talking to a group of ~10-15 people about reconsidering how evangelism is done in order to reach “postmodern” young people (like, umm, me). I remember discussing “friendship evangelism,” the “Celtic way” of evangelism (which was a somewhat popular book at the time), and Internet evangelism (my chosen career back then), among other things.
Later, I found out that one of the older (well, older than me at the time) gentlemen who sort of sat in the back and didn’t say much during the workshop session was, in fact, the Pastor of Evangelism at one of the largest evangelical megachurches in the Twin Cities. I remember thinking, “If key leaders in established churches were coming to have ‘Nicodemus conversations’ with folks like me at conferences like this, then something really unique is going on with this whole emerging church movement.” And Soularize has been a very important part of that: a meeting place, a safe space for conversation and friendships to form.
Spencer Burke is throwing another Soularize learning party, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the first Soularize (in Seattle in 2001) — this time in partnership with our mutual great friends at Missiongathering Christian Church in San Diego, California. How I got to know the crazy honey badgers at Missiongathering will have to be told another time, but for right now, I’m just excited to say I’ll be participating in Soularize again this year (for the first time since 2002!) and this time facilitating a discussion around funding the emerging missional church.
Even better than that, however, is the fact that my wife Becky Knight will be leading a session at Soularize 2011 on healthy sexual development. Becky and I are both really looking forward to being together at Soularize this year and to being with many people we’ve come to know and love over the past decade (dear friends and fellow crazy/courageous ones from the journey).
If you’re able to come, I hope you’ll consider joining us at Soularize in sunny San Diego in mid-October (18-20). It’s going to be a place to learn, a place to grow, and a place to party! (And you know how I love parties …)
Watch my Soularize story video!
TIME CAPSULE: Download the original Soularize 2002 program (PDF)
Were you at Soularize in Minneapolis in 2002? Share your stories on the Soularize Facebook page discussion board.