I love Denver. I love just about everything about it. I love the medium-sized city skyline. I love the view of the Rocky Mountains. I love the mile high air (or lack thereof.) I love the Broncos. I love the Nugg...okay, so maybe I don't love everything about Denver. But I do love most things about it.
Here are some exciting things about Denver that maybe you did or didn't know:
-the city is literally one mile higher than sea level. You can go to a spot on the capitol steps and know that you are 5,280 feet higher than the ocean. There's just something breathtaking about that...quite literally.
-Denver and the wonderful state it represents, gets over 300 days of sun per year! That's more than Florida, Texas or Hawaii!
-No skiing actually takes place in Denver. Many out-of-staters view Denver as at the base of a giant mountain. They think that us mountain men and women ski off the mountains into our chalets...but we don't. You have to drive at least 30-45 minutes from Denver to get to anything resembling skiing.
- The Denver Broncos have won two superbowls and I love them for that. Although now they are 2 and 3...but I will save that for another blog.
But, although I love my city, I am making the annoucement that we are taking a hiatus from bringing the conference to Denver after the Un.Tour concludes. That's right, after November 19th and 20th 2010 we will be pulling the Dare 2 Share conference out of Denver for awhile. There are many reasons but here are three:
1. We've been doing Dare 2 Share conferences in Denver every year for 18 years and it's time for a "Sabbath rest."
Remember what happened when Israel failed to give the land the Sabbath rests it needed once every seven years? He gave the land the rest it needed by sending the Israelites into exile for 70 years. The land got the rest it needed. While we are not in danger of going into captivity we are in danger of staying too long in one city.
What did God do after six days of creation? He rested! Why because he was tired? No! God doesn't get tired! He did it as an example for us. We need rest. And, yes, cities need rest too.
Denver needs a rest. We will let God guide us as to how long (one year, two year, three year, more?) but we have trained thousands of teens and youth leaders in this region and we think it's time to bring this training to other regions. After the Denver conference on November 19th and 20th the participating churches throughout Colorado, Wyoming and surrounding states will have the basic training they need to take THE Cause to every school in their communities. Which leads me to my second reason ...
2. It's time for the churches to own THE Cause for themselves.
This is really our heart's desire everywhere we go. We don't want to create a co-dependency on Dare 2 Share conferences with the churches that we minister to on a regular basis. Instead we want the churches that come to the conferences to own the vision for THE Cause themselves. We will still be here to support, encourage and supply tools to youth leaders and students. My blog will still be here. Soul Fuel will still be coming weekly, facebook will be available for ongoing encouragement and real-life stories and www.dare2share.org is always there ready to provide a resource you can use.
Our prayer is that churches that have come to Dare 2 Share in the past, and/or will come to the last Denver D2S conference on November 19th and 20th will step up and step out. We are asking God to raise up youth leaders who create cause-centric networks which unite youth leaders and the teenagers they serve for THE Cause (which is already happening in several communities by the way.) Youth leaders need to drive THE Cause and I am convinced that youth leaders, teenagers and champions who've attended our Dare 2 Share conferences for years are ready for that challenge. For those of you not familiar with THE Cause check it out here.
3. God is calling us to move to a regional approach so we can do conferences in every region across the nation.
We realize that in order to achieve this vision we need to reach churches and teenagers in every part of the country. This means making plans to add cities to sections of the country we arenâ€™t currently in, as well as potentially moving to different cities within a region in order to increase impact and reach. We donâ€™t quite have the â€œformulaâ€ figured out yet, so please pray for us as we work it out.
So what's on the horizon in the near future for Denver? Here are a few things to encourage you...
First of all, if we ever were going to pilot some other ways to train teenagers (in addition to our conferences of course!), Denver would be the place to start. That's right, we are brainstorming some powerful and practical ways of getting our training philosophy deeper into the hearts and minds of teenagers and youth leaders who have attended our events. No, I'm not going to tell you what we are thinking and praying about quite yet. Just know this, if God opens the door for these ideas, they are gonna rock. And Denver would be the natural place to test these exciting ideas!
Secondly, make sure you attend this year's Dare 2 Share conference in Denver on November 19th and 20th! Let's leave this city with momentum and excitement. After all, it's never been about what happens at the conference, but after. And you'll want all the training you and your teens can get in order to sustain THE Cause.
Thirdly, there are some great events coming in 2011 that you can be a part of. On January 28, Dare 2 Share and Colorado Christian University link arms to present a training event for pastors and leaders. Lee Strobel, Mark Mittleberg and I will bring a full day of inspiration, training and tools for church leaders that will help them exponentially advance THE Cause of Christ.
And then on August 27, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will be presenting "Rock the Ridge." This will be a great event to have your group bring their unbelieving friends.
So remember that we love you Denver and will continue to live THE cause alongside you. This is not goodbye, but so long.
Stay tuned and Viva LA Cause!