We just returned from the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina. About 3,500 Emergent Christians were in attendance. This year we shared booth sponsorship with the Foundation and sold about one third of the books on hand.
One highlight was the Disciples of Christ minister enjoying free personal time at the Festival. This soft-spoken man was curiously drawn to our booth. We invited him in and shared at length. He left with a book and returned two more times.
Because we had some healing to do from year 2017 with what was perceived as an evangelizing issue, Festival coordinators narrowed our options in 2018. This week we had a zoom call with Vanna, the V.P., who has been kindly clarifying the boundaries and advising us. She made it clear that we must integrate into the community — which I have been personally doing and recommending since day one. Vanna and I have been close for 3 years now; she values us and is eager to help. We have serious work ahead regarding our approach with the book and booth.
Along these lines, I was delighted to see our team making efforts this year to attend talks. We each brought back stories of how we had elevated the conversation or shifted the direction, giving participants a broader perspective. The major takeaway is the new relationships that are being created. For me the object of outreach begins with deep listening, making and nurturing friendships, slowly introducing our views. Returning each year only deepens those ties.
Byron Belitsos was with us and presented a talk on his “Your Evolving Soul.” I introduced him to my new brilliant friend Samir Selmanovic (“It’s Really All About God”) who lives in New York near the seminary Byron will attend. They had much in common to share. This could be a fruitful connection!
We were particularly pleased to have Derek Samaras with us sharing in the booth and shooting videos. He is dynamite with the young people. Derek and I took an opportunity to be taped by the Festival for their promotions where I interviewed him re: his impressions of the Festival. It was delightful! He has the 15 minute audio and we’re hoping to get the uncut video as well! I led him to speaker-leaders I know and respect. He made a powerful impression meeting Doug Pagitt, and soon Doug shared Derek’s comments during his session on “Greater Things…” Doug had suggested at a previous gathering interest in having us speak at his venue… We are definitely making headway!