Jubilee: A Vision of the Kingdom
The Jubilee Conference is, hands down, my favorite event of the year. It has been since 2001! Every February in Pittsburgh, the CCO gathers 2,500+ college students to think more deeply about their place in God’s world. It is a conference like no other, a time of deep engagement with the Biblical story; a time of personal commitment to follow Jesus; and a time of reflection for college students to consider their present and future callings in life. Byron Borger has already written wisely and astutely about all that the Jubilee Conference means and who the conference brings together, year after year. Read and listen, I say, HERE.
For the past three years I have had the privilege of being an emcee with my good friend Dave Bindawald. What an honor! Highlights from this year’s conference included introducing speakers Andy Crouch and Dan Allander, interviewing Roxanne Stone and David Kinnaman about the Barna FRAMES project, worshiping with Josh Moyer and friends, working with The High Calling to award $1,000 for a student video (below), being on stage with Byron Borger when he announced and launched Steven Garber’s new book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good, and spending some quality time in a hot tub (you had to be there).
What I like most about Jubilee is its commitment to the Bible and the biblical narrative. The four main sessions are organized around the four chapters of the biblical story: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. There are other ways to focus on the main themes of the Bible, to be sure, (in fact, Don Opitz and I offer a bit of caution about this in chapter 6 of Learning for the Love of God), but, wow, at Jubilee, when you see and hear and participate in The Story, through the lenses of these chapters… well, it is so helpful and inspiring and life-giving!
The Jubilee Conference is the best “vision of the Kingdom of God” that I have seen. It is a signpost and a reference point for so many staff and students. I don’t think it’s possible to leave the conference without being changed in a very profound way.
I’ve been thinking a lot about a “vision of the Kingdom” as I work my way through Steve Garber’s profound and insightful new book Visions of Vocation. Steve’s own work has been shaped in tremendous ways by the Jubilee conference. In fact, Steve has helped to shape the conference itself over the many years of his own faithful service to the King. Steve knows that a life committed to following Jesus is not easy, and yet, and yet… He writes:
“The story of sorrow is not the whole story of life either. There is also wonder and glory, joy and meaning, in the vocations that are ours. There is good work to be done by every son of Adam and every daughter of Eve all over the face of the earth. There are flowers to be grown, songs to be sung, bread to be baked, justice to be done, mercy to be shown, beauty to be created, good stories to be told, houses to be built, technologies to be developed, fields to be farmed, and children to educate. All day, every day, there are both wounds and wonders at the very heart of life, if we have eyes to see.”
Indeed. And the Jubilee Conference helps us to see, year after year.