Just like that, VOUS Conference 2022 is a moment in history. It was an incredible four days of worshiping under the same roof with thousands of people and learning from world-class leaders. We experienced God’s presence and watched as He softened hearts and transformed lives.
Our team has taken some time to pause and reflect on this year’s conference (and if you were there, I hope you have, too). Something special happens when we take time to remember what God has done. Reflection solidifies our memory, makes space for God to give deeper revelation, and allows us to respond again with gratitude. There is evidence throughout scripture of people pausing to remember God’s goodness and faithfulness, and we wanted to ensure we did the same.
This year’s conference theme was “Up On This Rock,” pulled from Matthew 16:16-19:
“Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
God is building His church on the rock that is Jesus, the only firm foundation. And wherever God is working, we want to be there. You can find us on the rock with Him. We want to share the view from the rock — the things we saw and experienced throughout VOUS Conference. I asked three of our team members to share their own conference reflections from their specific departments. Kat leads in our Operations Department, Naomi in our Creative Department, and Luke writes from a leadership perspective.
OPERATIONS — KAT
First and foremost, I am so proud of all of our operations teams. Each and every person leaned in and led proactively in their space. Operations encompasses so many different areas, from the merch store and the breakout teams to venue control and the host and seating teams. Without each team member leading their space with excellence, conference would not work logistically.
Operations is unique in that it’s a task-oriented department with a significant pastoral component as well. Our teams are made up of many people on different journeys in their relationship with Jesus, and I was encouraged to see our team leaders pastoring their team members throughout conference.
We poured out sweat and prayers as we prepared for conference. I prayed that our operations teams would be united, working together to accomplish the same mission. I can see how God answered that prayer. Our teams are stronger and more united than ever before. We saw Luke 1:37 in action — nothing is impossible when we are united with God in His purpose. Conference let us experience what it means to be part of the body of Christ in a tangible way.
CREATIVE — NAOMI
VOUS Conference reminded me that our creativity is attached to something so much greater than ourselves. When we create for God, He multiplies our talents and time. He takes our little and makes it much. The details that seem small to us are actually the big things. Our creativity is attached to two things:
Everything we do has a direct impact on people whether we see them or not. I met people at conference who decided to attend because they saw an ad or social media post. It was humbling to be reminded of the reach and influence God has given us.
Creativity shows God’s nature and reminds people that we serve a limitless God. God is creative, and He has made us creative. Coming out of conference are so many testimonies of people fueled with fresh fire and purpose, ready to explore their creativity.
An encouragement for creatives whether you were in the room or not: God cares about your creativity. He wants to expand your capacity to create with meaning and bring other people closer to Him. If you feel dry or depleted in your creative season, remember that before you create for anyone else, you create for Him.
LEADERSHIP — LUKE
VOUS Conference 2022 absolutely blew me away. I have been able to attend every VOUS Conference so far and they just keep getting better. God continues to show up, speak, and continue the work he started in me all those years ago. And, in that, I know I am not alone.
Hosting an experience like this is both a privilege and a responsibility. Being able to pour into the lives of thousands of people from around the world is a great privilege. At the same time, preparing to host a conference requires an incredible amount of energy and effort. As always, hundreds of servant leaders sacrificially poured their hearts and souls into this weekend.
I don't mention this as a complaint. Rather, I share it in order to highlight something I was reflecting on last week as we approached conference weekend. Part of growing and maturing as a leader is recognizing the burden in privilege and the privilege in burden.
Many of the activities I desired as privileges in the past—hosting a conference, preaching on a stage, releasing an album, etc.—I now recognize come with a cost. (Bear with me here, I may be a little slow on the uptake.) When it comes to things like this, we tend to highlight the benefits and overlook the sacrifices. Having been able to participate in some wonderful things over the years at VOUS, I recognize more than ever how leaders who do such things pay a price not many recognize.
That being said, many things I considered burdens in the past—having a difficult conversation, leading a memorial service, walking with someone through grief—I now recognize as a great privilege. Being able to coach someone in error, comfort someone in need, walk with someone facing difficulty, these things are not only pastoral responsibilities, they are pastoral privileges. When it comes to things like this, we tend to highlight the sacrifices and overlook the beauty. What an honor it is to get to be present with people in their times of need.
VOUS Conference is a massive undertaking, an extended group project, a 6-month journey that culminates in three days of wild, motion-blurred bliss. I am so privileged to get to play a small part in that story. I am so grateful for the men and women who sacrificed, served, and showed up. If you were in the Watsco with us this year, thank you for coming! If you missed it, we'll catch you next time!
Everything that took place over VOUS Conference was just a glimpse of what God can do. He is only getting started, and as long as He invites us to participate, our answer is a resounding yes. It is safe to say that the view from the rock is sweet.