Thursday, February 20, 2014


After completing my 8th Jubilee conference, this year I left feeling differently about the whole thing. Not because it was going in a different direction or I was disappointed, because that wasn't the case at all; this was the first year that Jenn and I took Gavin. He had a blast, actually taking his first consecutive steps in Byron Borger's bookstore, though it messed up his sleeping schedule quite a bit. Due to that, Jenn and I would have to switch out with him, neither of us getting to experience the whole conference.

Nevertheless, the conference itself was still amazing (per usual), with speakers such as Andy Crouch, Bethany Hoang, Margot Starbuck, and Dan Allender (to name a few), the story of the Biblical narrative was told in ways that connected with students and allowed the truth of the gospel to break across boundaries. The music this year was the best it's ever been, featuring the talents of Josh Moyer, Joy Ike, Kenyon Adams, and more, it combined cultures and styles in a way that is rarely seen in churches. With the largest selections of breakout sessions I've ever seen, assuming the students took advantage of all that was offered, I can't imagine that God didn't touch everyone there.

As I look back at all the words I heard, though some repetitive for me personally (and trust me when I say it's a story that I, we all, need to keep being reminded of), here are a few of the things that truly stood out to me:
  • Everything matters. I know this was the theme of the conference, so it could be considered a cheap answer, but this theme stood out in every single story shared and word spoken. Everything we do has significance in the coming kingdom. Or, to use the line from Gladiator, "What we do echoes in eternity." I hope that all of my actions will be used by God for the betterment of His kingdom, but beyond "hoping" I am encouraged to "do" and be" the change I want to see.
  • In a breakout session with Justin McRoberts (If you haven't read his new book, CMYK, do it. In fact, go back and read my review to see how exciting this whole project it. And then read the book.), he shared these words: "Maturity is not an arrival point; it is a commitment to the process." While these words were specifically being applied to songwriting, I know he would say that it can and should be true of so much more. In the days following the conference, I find myself viewing faith in this way and it challenges me to continue on the journey, particularly on the difficult days, or the times when it's hard to hear God's voice...
  • Friendships take work, but are worth it. I always get to see familiar faces at this conference, faces I don't see as often as I'd like. But there were a few surprises this year, having friends actually show up with the soul purpose of seeing my little family. As I age, finding myself further from those I care about, these small, seemingly insignificant acts are the moments I live for. I need more of this in my life. Thanks to those of you who make that effort; I pray that I can do the same in your life.
  • Many times God allows us to choose the path we take. It's not always a black-and-white, left-or-right path. With many good choices, God wants to partner with us in applying His words to our decision making as well as our lives. I find this more and more true as life goes on.
  • Lastly, as a campus minister, I am encouraged even more "to challenge students to begin to explore [their faith]... such that it begins to shape who they are and how they live." (Guy Chmieleski, Shaping Their Future)
So, Jubilee 2014 was a success in many eyes, including my own. I hope that the many people in attendance take to heart these lessons and apply them to their day-to-day. May the peace of the everlasting God grab a hold of you and never let go as you seek after a life in Him.

Here is a highlight video from Jubilee 2014

What did you take from Jubilee this year? What, specifically, did God say to you during your time there?


  1. A comment from Byron Borger himself:

    So, so good, Zane. Thanks for sharing. That a baby took first steps in our book display area is fabulously fantastic. We had somebody get engaged in our store once (ahhh, how romantic for books lovers) but this tops that. Yay.

    I wonder if your students picked up on the theme that if "everything matters" then their majors matter, their sense of calling and vocation, and the invitation to "academic faithfulness" and "thinking Christianly" developing a uniquely Christian angle of vision on the issues of their academic subjects? Derek's and Optiz's book, still, is so important. And we were the first place to launch the Garber book on vocation. (He used to direct the conference years ago, so "Jubilee" fingerprints are all over it.) I'm sure, as you say, that God touched nearly everyone somehow as there was so much going on. But, for the record, wanted to hold up this theme that is pretty central and distinctive to Jubilee, developing a Christian worldview that gives rise to "visions of vocation" and how then that means thinking faithfully about studies and eventually one's career. Hooray! Thanks again for your good report and the little shout out.

  2. Hey, Zane! I think maybe one of the biggest things I took out of Jubilee was a contentment with not knowing just how God is going to use my music degree for His purpose. Some of the thinking I did there caused me to take a step back and really think about my desire to go into missions, and yet I think I am more confident in my wanting to go than ever before through that consideration. The other biggest thing I got out of the experience was sort of a smack over the head from God telling me that I've been ignoring my problems, and that now is the time to deal with them, even though I'd be much more content in ignoring them for the rest of my life and running away. That's actually where the two things connect, because I think that part of my desire to be a missionary was, and probably still is to an extent, escapism. However, now I can see that I need to deal with my problems now so that I will be ready and able to serve abroad after graduation. I think God is probably going to use my skills with languages and my desire to be way out of my comfort zone in some really cool ways going forward.

    1. Good insight, though I still think (building on Byron's comments above) that you major matters to God. He's given you a gift and understanding in music for a reason. Perhaps it will tie in to mission, but maybe not. A big part of "everything matters" is that every "field" you're in is a mission; wherever you find yourself God wants to be found in it as well. I applaud your willingness to confront your problems now during this fundamental time in your life. You will never regret seeking healing in your pain. I pray that God continues to guide you in unimaginable ways.