Conference’s usually have keynote speakers. The premier speaker that draws the largest crowd is given prime time. Other speakers are treated like fillers until “THE” main attraction arrives to conclude the day with his or her message and then sends the well fed sheep on their way chewing on a cud of wisdom.
I found CCDA had a more evenhanded approach. All of the speakers were treated with value and relevance. No one dominated the evening sessions open to the public, and on most nights two people shared the stage. Unlike some conferences dominated by white men donned with expensive suits trailing PHD’s behind them, the evening speakers were a rich mixture of male, female, white, African American, Hispanic and Asian.
Many in the mixture of speakers were laden with degrees as well. Take the dramatic license I took regarding white men as experience not sarcasm. When God needed an Apostle to the Gentiles, he chose the highly educated Saul of Tarsus. The difference in my experience at CCDA is their acknowledgment that you don’t need a college degree to be an effective leader.
Whenever I attend a Christian event, I look for consensus to determine who has God’s message. God establishes what we need to know in the mouth of two or three (2 Corinthians 13:1). When God told Mary she would bear the Messiah, he confirmed it numerous times by various people saying the same thing, e.g. Zacharias and Elisabeth, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna, men bearing gifts for the king of the Jews. God put everything he wanted us to know in the Bible, which contains the witness of sixty-six people from various professions who lived in different generations yet spoke the same message. If the Bible was written by one person, I doubt we could trust its message.
Therefore, when I hear the same message more than one time coming from different people I know it’s important. The message given at the conference by God, the premier keynote speaker, was imparted through the mouth of a female pastor and confirmed the following morning by a male pastor. Rev. Laura Sumner Truax, senior pastor at LaSalle Street Church, a non-denominational church in downtown Chicago, addressed the importance of the Sabbath. The next morning, Dr. Wayne L. Gordon, the founding Pastor of Lawndale Community Church and Chairman/President of the Christian Community Development Association addressed the importance of the Sabbath.
I have preserved a portion of their message in the video, audio only. It was impossible to obtain a usable copy in the evening session. The video is full of shadowy figures looking for friends and seats, going to the bathroom and other reasons that remain a mystery. It is possible this theme was repeated by other speakers in session I did not attend. Attending CCDA conference is like going to Disney World you will never see it all. But one thing is certain. God wants us to rest.