I was blown away at how the DVULI Reunion 2016 managed to balance recreation, workshops, refreshment, and revival into one conference.
One of the greatest treasures I received while in Pittsburgh was the opportunity to fellowship and gain knowledge from alumni further down the road in ministry, life, and community development than myself. Over the course of three days I networked and engaged in conversations with alumni dating back to the 1999 cohort! Learning about the many ways their DVULI experience continues to impact their lives was very insightful and encouraging. Especially considering I just graduated from the Initiative five months ago and am still processing on how to incorporate many of the tools and techniques I learned.
Each Reunion keynote speaker managed to bring the theme Forward to life in a way that spoke to my heart and met me where I am in ministry and life. I particularly enjoyed Efrem Smith’s exploration of Matthew 25:31-40 and how it related to moving forward in urban ministry. He left me inspired as he unveiled the role of the bridesmaid in Jesus’ day and broadened my scope on Kingdom based serving. This speaker challenged us to serve in my ministry as if Jesus is coming back at any moment. That brought about a different level of urgency and joy to serving in ministry, something that is exponentially opposite to serving for the sake of the ministry’s survival today. I found myself revisiting the thought process I had in 2015 during Local Workshop I: Personal and Ministry Assessment.
Among the many Reunion activities, I found most pleasurable starting each day with a leisure run through Downtown Pittsburgh with other members of my DVULI family. The running coach in me took delight in witnessing folks run farther or faster than they ever thought they could. Since there were no Bengay or Icy Hot aromas throughout the day, I take it everyone finished and faired pretty well. “Jog with Gerald” should become a reunion staple!
I encourage every DVULI alumni to put forth every effort to make the next reunion and conference in 2019. See, I’m already thinking and moving forward!