Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I-Fest 2015 -the Family of Ministry

And just like that, my favorite week of the year has ended: the 2015 International Festival of Creative Arts Ministry (#IFest2015)... WOW! What an incredible week it was.

I will never forget my first I-Fest. I had attended a Regional Creative Ministry Festival and met an absolutely wonderful workshop leader that just raved about I-Fest, the 200+ workshops they offered and the experience you would have.

I was only 17 but I determined that I wanted to attend I-Fest. I flew out by myself and little did I know what expected me. I met wonderful creative people who have poured so much into me, I was spiritually challenged and I had never before witnessed such excellence in ministry. My life and ministry was forever changed.

A week of encouragement and inspiration 

I haven't missed an I-Fest/MAX conference since. Each summer I arrive tired, low on spiritual and motivational juices. Yet, each summer, I leave encouraged, challenged and beyond pumped to continue in ministry.

This year was no different. Each jam-packed day consisted of this dynamic formula (which really is dynamic, you have to GO to experience it for yourself)

Christy Watkins lead several
hands-on performance

  • Breakfast on-campus with attendees that share your passion and experiences in ministry
  • Morning Chapel with Pastor Lenny Corliss (anointed pastor that will encourage and challenge you) and workshop presentations
  • 2 Mid-Morning Workshops (variety of seminars ranging from puppetry, drama, painting, blacklight, sign language, and more!)
  • Lunch on-campus with, yet again, those amazing people you can network with in the morning or maybe make some new friends
  • 2 Afternoon Workshops (includes "hands-on" workshops where you can learn by doing: puppet building, prop construction, learn a human video or drama, stage a puppet song)
Virtuous Reality Blacklight
Theater debuted Langston
Hatch's "the Suprings"
  • Dinner on-campus with more amazing people! Maybe even have lunch with that workshop leader who really struck you or who's brain you want to pick?
  • Evening Programs that feature exceptional performances from the workshop leaders (who range in backgrounds from senior pastors, ventriloquists, jugglers and so on) and local ministry teams
  • Night-time Competitions where ministry teams and individuals can receive feedback from an expert panel of judges to continue to polish their technique and ministry
  • Bedtime... if you can manage to sleep from all the ideas buzzing in your head and your excitement for the next day!

Be challenged: creatively and spiritually

The 2015 Creative Ministry Dream Team
Now I know I cannot call everything a highlight... but a big highlight is always the "Dream Team" finale performance that closes I-Fest. The Dream Team is a special team formed of talented youth from across the world under the direction of highly creative and seasoned directors. Members submit an audition video and application for consideration. 

They come together on Monday as strangers... and  leave Friday as friends that have impacted all the attendees with a powerful message and exceptional program... that they learned in just 5 days!

This year's Dream Team was directed by Sheri Brubeck of Buffalo Grove, IL and Carrie Murphy of Rapid City, SD. Their production, "Finding Foreverland," told the story of Wendy's visit to Neverland to teach the Lost Boys about God's Heavenly Family in Foreverland. 

Remove "M-Y" Part From "F-A-M-I-L-Y" & We "F-A-I-L."

I could write a novel about the I-Fest experience but, really, I hope this gives you a glimpse of the special week it is and encourages you to consider attending yourself or recommending this conference to someone.

I'll close with words from Pastor Lenny Corliss, our Conference Chaplain. Each day, his message was centered around the theme of the "Family of Ministry." We are a "FAMILY" and should each do our part.

We are each given talents, skills or attributes that we can contribute to the Body of Christ for the benefit of the kingdom. For some, it's teaching. For some, it's preaching. For some, it's reaching. Maybe for you it's using a puppet, or being an usher, or writing a song. Whatever it is, let us work together to expand the Kingdom and give God Glory. 

I challenge you to not be a Christian spectator, or consumer, but one who contributes to the Body and teachers others to do the same. Remember 1 Corinthians 12:25-26:

"so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."

You can learn more about I-Fest by visiting Creative Ministry Solutions
View more pictures from I-Fest 2015 on our Facebook page

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