What is in this article?:
The Religious Conference Management Association's first regional Aspire event drew almost 100 faith-based meeting planners and hospitality professionals from 14 different states to the Sheraton Music City hotel May 20–21. Here's a peek at some of what happened at the conference.
Beginning With Some Inspiration
The aroma of bacon, freshly made omelets, and lots of good hot coffee wafted though the lobby as Aspire’s meeting and hospitality professionals regrouped the next morning. The sound in the room rose as people wandered in, plates in hand, and began learning more about what it means to be a religious meeting planner, and what it takes to service this specialized market niche.
Robert J. Morgan, pastor of Nashville’s The Donelson Fellowship and the best-selling and Gold Medallion–winning writer of more than 25 books, ratcheted up the energy level in the room as he bounded to the stage to explain the life rules he learned while reading the Bible during a plane ride several years ago. His heart had been heavy because he had a big problem to solve and no idea how to approach it as he settled into his seat to begin his daily devotions on that fateful journey. Then he started reading Exodus Chapter 14 about the plight of Moses and the Israelites as they found themselves trapped between “the devil and the deep blue sea.” As he read, he started to devise a strategy to help solve his problem.
Then, “as preachers tend to do, I turned it into a series of sermons,” he said to the laughter of the crowd. The sermons then morphed into a book, The Red Sea Rules. Morgan discussed each of the 10 principles he lays out in the book, such as, “Recognize that whatever you’re facing, God has placed you where you are. We’re not just wandering stars in life—the Lord has a plan for us,” he said. Other rules include, “Be more concerned about God’s glory than your release,” “Stay calm and confident and give God time to work,” and “Trust God to deliver in his own unique way.” You may not know how or when God will provide help—but then again, the Israelites weren’t expecting the sea to part, either. He told a story about a former Vietnamese prisoner he once spoke with who epitomized the ability to live this rule. “‘Either we’d get out of prison, or He’d deliver us to Heaven,’ said the former prisoner through an interpreter. ‘Either way, He’d deliver us.’”
Another rule that seemed to resonate with the crowd was “Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.” Morgan said, “We can keep our eyes on our problems and acknowledge the Lord, or we can keep our eyes on the Lord and acknowledge our problems. That change in focus changes both our approach to solving a problem, and our attitude toward our approach.