Hydrate Conference, Day 1

This evening marked the beginning of Hydrate Conference in Augusta, GA. The conference was designed for young leaders within the Church of God denomination to join together for leadership and strategic development. I”ll take time over the next three days to share the points that most resonate with me.

The conference opened with Marty Baker (Stevens Creek Church) and Jerry Lawson (Daystar Church) giving fantastic talks on vision and focus. The following points really grabbed my attention…

Marty Baker

  • Marty shared 4 questions that every leader should ask of him or herself…
  • 1. Are you willing to go wherever God sends you? – God is placing you in a community for a purpose.
  • 2. Are you passionate about lost people? – We must leave room in our schedules to pray for the lost.
  • 3. Are you willing to embrace new ideas?
  • 4. Do you believe that God is bigger than you think? – There are moments when being in the center of God”s will is very painful.
  • One of the hardest parts of leading change in the church was saying goodbye to great people who disagreed with him.

Jerry Lawson

  • To be a large church in a small community you have to be an “AND church” not and “OR church” – Young AND old, Republican AND Democrat, Spirit-filled AND secessionist, etc.
  • One of the hardest parts of leadership is being an “AND church” while keeping focus.
  • Churches that reach lost people will either be a Big Tent or a Big Ship.
  • Big Tent churches allow for any activity and eventually become a “circus”.
  • Big Ship churches maintain a focused direction.
  • People who do not like the direction may have to jump ship.
  • Compelling vision is birthed out a pre-existing burden in your community.
  • You have to be fully involved in a community to know its burdens.
  • If you do not cast vision into the hearts of your leaders, someone else will.  Distractions to focus are sure to result.

If you weren”t able to make it to Hydrate, which of these points stand out to you?  If you are here, what other points made an impression?

[A big thanks to Jared Owen for filling in a few gaps.  Jared writes regularly at LeavingTheUpperRoom.com]

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Ryan Stigile


  • Compelling vision is birthed out of a pre-existing burden.

    Love that line and quote. Totally stealing that though.


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