I am rarely as tired as I am today. But I am at least this tired once a year. For those who know the Bensons at all, you know this was Motion Conference week. Matthew is Creative Director for students at Highlands, so Motion is a family affair. Motion Conference is a student conference put on by Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama. It used to be held at the main campus of our church, but over the years, grew to the point that the church campus could not accommodate all the students from around the country who wanted to come.
The Student Ministries team at Highlands never intended for it to be what it is today… but God laid His hand on it, and this year, in the conference’s third year at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center, it hosted ten thousand students, from four hundred different churches around our country, for three days.
To say this is a huge undertaking doesn’t even begin to give credence to what happened this weekend. The team began working a year ago to be able to see this conference come to life. There was booking bands and speakers… some from as far away as Australia. Promoting the conference at every opportunity to bring in students. Designing the theme and graphic pieces that would go on signage and merchandise. Shooting and editing the twelve video pieces that were played, planning the production aspects that included staging, lighting, sound and video… and sixty Plexiglas cubes that lit up and changed colors were built. Providing food for 1500 staff and volunteers and ten thousand students for three days. Arranging hotel rooms for students and staff. Organizing 1300 awesome volunteers who would handle security, community groups, registration, set up, take down, catering, and the Motion store. Making sure that each and every detail was covered in prayer.
I’m even more tired just thinking about all of that, and I am sure I have left of many things that were done to make Motion Conference a reality. It would be easy to say that it’s all too much to do, that the effort, the cost, the man hours required are just more than can be managed… until the results begin to present themselves.
When I stand in an arena that is generally used for things of this world, and see it turned into a place of worship, I can see the worth of the previous twelve months. All the time, effort, sweat and tears… and yes, there are tears sometimes, are worth it. Watching students discover their worth, their purpose and calling, and know that many of them are experiencing their defining moments at Motion … in that moment it is clear why the effort is made.
Lots of students move a step or two in their faith during Motion, but many more take huge leaps forward. Many have never before experienced worship like they did this weekend. Many have never been told that they matter and were made on purpose to fulfill a purpose by and for a God who loves them. At Motion, many discover that they matter and that they are a part of something bigger than themselves that goes far beyond what they are experiencing personally in their lives.
I love the excellence that goes into producing Motion Conference. But in the end, it is the results that really matter. What the Holy Spirit does in the lives of the students is the element that matters most. Motion is about helping the next generation stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before them to let them see what it is that they are being asked to do, and the ways that they are being called to serve in the Kingdom of God to make a difference in this world. For this generation will go farther, endure more, and impact more greatly this world than any generation before them since Jesus first came to earth.
Sometimes I wish we could do Motion Conference all the time… but it would literally kill us. No way could we keep that pace all the time. It’s a high, but it’s exhausting. I am both sad and relieved when the conference is done each year. This year, 2400 students came to know Jesus at Motion Conference. In the end, that’s what matters. Lives changed here and for eternity. That’s good stuff. That’s Motion.