Yesterday I was at the Idea Camp Portland Northwest in the beautiful downtown at Portland Foursquare Church. The Idea Camp, a co-collaboration of philanthropy and business to inspire and create change through idea creation and sharing, brings minds of creativity together for love of people. I’m inspired by the excessive raw talent for ideation and overwhelming love for God’s people by the participants and panelists. I’m inspired by the small movements that create huge change in the city. I’m inspired by the average, every day people who are leading this generation under the radar, ultimately leading you and me.
I’m currently ghost-writing a book about our generation as a crucial group of people to change this world for Christ. In the book, the author talks about leading yourself well in a declaration of leadership for the kingdom of God. The idea of “times of refreshing and renewal” is a key concept in working on yourself and adding to your own character and relationship with the Lord. Sitting there, in the sanctuary, listening to panels of spiritual entrepreneurs, I feel refreshed and somewhat renewed. There is something about the presence of great ideas, the kind of presence you know only comes from the working of the Holy Spirit.
Among the great ideas at hand- The Mentoring Project, Sharefest, Laundry Love, TOMS Shoes, Skate church and the Cobblestone Project. Despite the origin of these great ideas, they all share a similar goal- building the people, bringing them together, and loving them as Christ so loved the world. What may not be labeled with Christianity is made up with love, that no matter how you choose to describe it or give it, it is backed with the mark of Jesus.
Today, I’m reminded about the simple saying “if there are two people with the same perspective, one of them is irrelevant.” I’ve always appreciated this quote since I’m an advocate of disagreement because it spurs good debate. I believe debate helps shape personal philosophy, something our world is dying for in an era of mass culture confusion. Greg Russinger spoke of idea implementation and the intrinsic value of the “share” concept. He explained the concept with more wisdom and experience than I may have ever heard before, “All human engagement is based on grace.” That grace, is the root of giving and sharing. Great ideas require giving and sharing and doing it all with grace in mind.
Mike Rusch of the Cobblestone Project spoke in one session about the question of identity. This idea, the one of “identity” and “belonging in the city,” is familiar to me. As an Urban Studies student, this topic has frequently come up in my studies and is the basis of a class I have this quarter. Today, the things talked about in my classes and the political economy articles I read and research, come to life. Maybe because this is a conversation about breathing life in the city. Mike Rusch challenged me in the same way a call to Christianity challenges a new believer. He said, “I’m not the expert, but I have hands, and I have feet.” Recently, our culture has shifted to believe in the idea of responsibilisation- the secular way to describe being accountable for what you know. For once, my material classes and my faith meet eye to eye.
In the closing moments of ICPNW, Josh Storly lead in worship with a song that sang of “better things to come in this city,” a nearly perfect way to describe the feeling in my heart. Pastor Dennis Easter of Portland Foursquare Church told a story of himself that reminded him of the creation of new things and the motivation we find in co-collaboration to press forward. He said this, “Sometimes the race you are given is faster than you signed up for, more enduring, further than you anticipated. But be encouraged, when you run it with a partner, it will accomplish greater things, it will be better, it will be funner.”
It’s a humbling experience- being in the midst of people with an overwhelming love for their city. Greg Russinger said it this way, “Humility is like water, always finding the lowest place for the purpose to make something grow.” I believe that. Humility isn’t just the selfless condition of your heart, but lives with the purpose to make something grow. The people I came across this weekend and the ideas I’ve heard are reason enough to be humbled, to run with an idea, share it, and make something grow.