Christians at Pass Update (#passprayer)

Last week I posted about getting together with other Christians while at the PASS Summit this year. We have a good core group formed and we will be meeting throughout the conference.

I was originally planning on being there for Sunday evening but there was a death in my wife’s side of the family (her grandfather). It was expected as he was in hospice care after a long battle with cancer and COPD. He knows the Lord so while we mourn his passing, I am excited for him at all the sights He is seeing now. The funeral is Monday morning, and I will still be going to PASS, I will just miss Monday’s events. I will be arriving at the Sheraton sometime around midnight Monday. So no meetings with me on Sunday or Monday but I hope folks get together bonded by a common faith on those days still.

Two “Tracks”

There are two purposes to the Christian meetups at PASS. I wanted to talk about them both briefly

Track One: Prayer and Fellowship

One is the initiative I was talking about with some SQL Tweeps who I knew to be Christians. (I won’t name names, I am sure they are alright being named but that is up to them to do in the comments 😉 ). This is what I highlighted in my other post.

This will be a time for Christians (I described a definition for this on the other post as well) to get together and share prayer needs. Lift up the summit and attendees in prayer. Open the Word of God and read some passages and have some informal ad-hoc (not the bad kind of ad hoc involving horrible queries run amock) discussions about what we read.

When?

Throughout the Summit. I am now not arriving until Monday night but starting each Tuesday morning I will be in the lobby at the Sheraton Seattle with my Bible and some Tea (I hear there is a coffee shop built in to the Sheraton, I’ll try and stay near there). I will try and be there between 5:45-6:30 each morning (though Tuesday I may leave a bit early to register and not wait in lines).

There will also be informal meetups as we bump into each other but if you are around, want some fellowship, and to hang out with another one of us Bible believing types send a tweet out with the hashtag #passprayer. I will be looking at that link. Or add a comment here/shoot me an e-mail (mike at this blogs domain).

I believe I was invited to a few vendor get togethers and I will likely make an appearance at some of those but if you are looking for something to do, fellowship tops passing out my new moo cards, I’d rather spend time with you and the Lord.

I might even try and sneak over to Mars Hill church while there if I can find it and make it work.

Why

Why not? I love working with SQL Server and am incredibly excited to meet other SQL Server tweeps, SQL Server MVPS (at the BoF lunch will be a good spot for that) and mingle with industry experts. I am excited for the sessions, the chalk talks and spending time listening in on questions people have at the Ask The Expert areas.

Even still, my identity comes from who I am in Christ – a part of God’s creation, uniquely formed in my mothers womb by a loving Creator. One who doesn’t deserve the glory of Heaven but will receive it because God loved me first and proved by sending Christ to pay for my sins.

Just because I am away at a conference doesn’t mean I can’t hang out with other people who believe likewise. I’ll have fun with all people from all walks of life and all faiths at the sessions, events and mingling in the halls. I’ll really enjoy meeting you during #sqlbingo (I’m a square!) regardless of what you believe. That being said, I am excited to meet brothers and sisters in Christ in a few days.

Track Two: A Great Idea

Brian Moran reached out to me at the same time I was thinking of the first “track” above. His note explaining his idea is below. We will be stealing some space at the breakfast hall Tuesday morning and Lunch Hall Wednesday during lunch hour. This is not sanctioned or endorsed by PASS, we are just going to be talking about this at the tables we all sit at during the public meals.

I’ll let Brian explain his own idea with notes from an e-mail thread about it with him:

<Brian Moran>

Concept:

“You’re a subject matter expert, a community leader, an expert. You’re a technical evangelist. You know how to save the lost and convert them to your chosen technology. You’re also a Believer. Jesus has an instant ROI, the best SLA’s in the business, and offers an infinite number of 9’s of availability. Can you use your existing evangelism skills to save a few souls for Christ?”

Why:

I was at a men’s retreat with my church a month or so ago. The speaker served in the mission field; specifically in predominantly Muslim countries. The man was bold in his faith. I’ve been a Christian for 16 years and have never been bold in sharing my faith. Frankly, I’ve had little if any fruit in my life until recently. During the men’s retreat I felt convicted in my lack of evangelism. But it occurred to me that I’m actually very good at evangelism. I’ve been doing it in the SQL Server space for 15 years. I was persecuted and laughed at by my friends in the Unix space back in the old days so I’m even used to suffering from my evangelism efforts. 🙂

It occurred to me that if I had technical evangelism skills that could be used in better ways; perhaps other people did as well. My guess is that if we play a technical evangelist version of ‘7 degrees of Kevin Bacon’ that the top SQL Server TE’s in the world can probably touch the top TE’s in every major technology niche around the world. Could God use hundreds of influential technology and business leaders becoming more bold in their efforts to share their belief in Him? Probably

I spoke to a few people and there seemed to be some interested in exploring this concept further at PASS. I don’t anticipate this being any sort of formal ministry. We won’t need staff and donations. We don’t need radio shows, but let’s keep the door open on podcasts. We’re technologists after all. J

I really don’t know what this idea might lead to, or even if it’s an effort that God wants us to pursue. Please consider joining us for a time of prayer and discussion to explore how and if God wants to use this concept.

Where and when

We’ll be meeting during PASS. We’ll have two sessions. Breakfast on Tue. Lunch on Wed. You don’t need to attend both. Exact times TBD. We’ll meet in the PASS meal area. I’ll update the invites with specific time/location info as that is set. Please feel free to invite anyone else that you think may be interested. I’ll add them to the appointment if they contact me directly so that they can get updates to the appointment as they are made.

</Brian Moran> 

Current times: (Tuesday AM 7-8 for Breakfast and Wednesday Lunch 12:15-1:15)

So I hope to bump into you at PASS for any reason. If you are interested in either (or both) of these tracks send me an e-mail and I’ll get you added to the e-mail thread. Or simply comment here and I’ll reach out to you. As always you can find me on twitter.

3 thoughts on “Christians at Pass Update (#passprayer)”

  1. Please keep this away from those of us who don’t want to be involved. I don’t go to technical conferences so someone can try to sell me on a religion.

    Reply
  2. "J" – I wish you would have posted with your real name or followed up wtih a personal e-mail. Don’t want to lose the ability to meet a fellow geek because they believe differently. While it may sadden me because of what I believe, I don’t hold it against a person to believe other than I do. I hope it works both ways. I will certainly reply to you anyway here.

    I’m not going to a technical conference to sell folks on religion. I am going to learn more about SQL Server, meet some of the people I have been getting to "know" on Twitter and absorb as much knowledge and as many contacts as I can. That being said, I would like to meet with some of the other Christians who will be going and that is my purpose of the meetings. Brian’s idea is to do some evangelism and I fully support that.

    That being said, this does not mean that we are going to be assaulting anyone with our faith. We will not be walking around with Bibles attached to poles whacking people that walk by 🙂 We will take a breakfast table or two and talk and pray. If you are not interested, don’t come by the table or leave when you hear the topic of conversation. We will not be walking up to everyone and forcing them to receive tracts or walking around with sandwhich board signs saying "The End is Nigh! Repent!" 😉

    If someone asks me a question about faith. If someone asks me a question about my life and it comes up, I can’t promise I won’t mention what I believe. It’s important to me, perhaps as important to me as your not believing is to you. I can tell you I am not there to shove any religion down anyone’s throats. I hope to meet as many contacts as I can and my faith is likely to not come up in words with the vast majority of them.

    I promise to not try and force you to sit at our table or force you to read my Bible or pray with me at PASS if you can promise that, whoever you are, you promise you won’t give me the cold shoulder if you walk by and need a bingo square and I am it. I won’t bite, I won’t preach, I just don’t want to leave this aspect of my life at home.

    I hope that sounds fair? In fact if it doesn’t sound fair, I am not so sure I really want to chat with you anyway 😉 (hope you caught the laughing tone there)

    Please reply and let me know if I haven’t answered all of your concerns or you are deathly afraid of meeting me 🙂

    Reply
  3. J,

    your desire is understandable and I’m sure with the folks involved, that your wishes will be respected. As a Christian I feel I have been able to receive the greatest gift of all, something I couldn’t do for myself and something that was given to me (hence the reason we say gift). If you’re not interested in hearing about it, I’m sure none of these folks will press you on it. On the other hand, if you are, then they’ll be more than happy to share. Besides, the greatest witness we can give is how we live our lives, how we interact with others, and how we handle life. If we’re forcing Scriptures down someone’s throat and badgering that person to believe, we’re not setting a very good example, are we?

    On the same token, please don’t let the fact that someone is identifying themselves as a Christian who is passionate about their faith prevent you from approaching him or her. Quite a few of the folks who have indicated they are participating are very strong members of the community, and have a passion for SQL Server as well. If I was going to be at the Summit this year, I would be more than happy to talk to you about security with respect to SQL Server and honor your wishes to keep things of faith separate. The folks I know who are involved are quite capable of doing the same. While they may strongly desire to share with you about their faith, if you have no interest in hearing about it, they will honor and respect your wishes.

    Reply

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