I was in Washington D.C. to attend TransFORM: East Coast Gathering a couple of weeks ago. I have put off writing about it because it was so wonderful that I know my words will not be able to adequately convey my experience … but it was too important not to write about … so, here is the first attempt:
I’m a big Survivor fan and just finished watching the 20th season, “Heroes vs Villians”. If you are familiar with the show, you know that Russell played two seasons back to back, got to the end in both seasons, but didn’t receive even one vote by any jury member in either of the seasons. Some believe that Russell should have won Survivor as he played a physically and mentally strong game. He tends to be able to control who gets voted off, is a convincing liar and a great schemer. He’s okay when it comes to challenges and has won several immunity challenges, sometimes when it was critical. But, (that probably should be “BUT”) he treats people poorly and it is difficult to win Survivor when you treat people poorly, since the people you are treating poorly are also the people that get to vote for the winner. In other words, “how you treat people, matters”.
This got me to thinking about my experience at TransFORM.
Now, to give you a little context, I was a newcomer among the people at TransFORM. I’ve been in the conversation for less than five years and I pretty much just listened for the first 3 years … so, I was a little worried about how I would fit in at the gathering. I knew several people online, but had only met one person face to face before. I’m also older than most, not in full-time ministry AND I don’t even have a MAC or an IPhone … I even had the audacity to show up with my HP laptop and my Verizon Blackberry Tour:>) But, (that probably should be “BUT”) they embraced me anyway, generously included me and made me feel significant, valuable, loved, and even liked. Was it because of my great personality and wry wit? My good looks? Did my charisma blind them so that they couldn’t see past the dazzling light that surrounds me everywhere I go? No, it wasn’t about any of those things (if you can believe it!!) … it wasn’t really about “me” – it was about them. It was about this group of people putting a high value relationships with others. It was about relationships with others being more important to them than anything else. It was about them believing even if they were the most cool, the most right, the best speaker, the best writer, the best looking, the most fun, the most knowledgeable, the best or most anything, it wouldn’t amount to anything if they weren’t treating others well. It was about them believing they can’t be winners unless they are loving others. It was about this group of people believing “how you treat people, matters” – not just intellectually but experientially, not just in theory but in reality. This is their central message, their main thing.
And that is why ever since I came back home from Washington D.C. I have yearned to be back in the presence of this group of people. They are good at real community, they are good at loving, they are good at relationships. They are transparent and vulnerable but not sappy – okay, occasionally they are sappy, but it’s a good kind of sappy:>) IMO they are courageous when it comes to offering grace and embracing humility.
In the days to come I plan to write about my impressions of some of the TransFORM sessions, but first I just had to say a little something about what I thought was the most important thing about TransFORM … which was that I spent a few days with a group of people who were having some significant success at living in the way of Jesus and it was compelling and attractive and inspirational and motivating and comforting and transformational.
It touched me and changed me.
How you treat people, matters!