Saturday, April 17, 2010

BC Prayer Breakfast 2010

I was at the BC Prayer Breakfast yesterday morning. Thanks to a brother in Christ who invited me. It was in a word, worthwhile. I was early at the Westin Bayshore, basking in the cool sunshine that blanketed the Stanley Park horizon. At 7am, people in cool business suits start to pour into the Westin conference center. Soon, I felt I stick out like a sore thumb. In contrast to the tuxedos and well-presented suits, I was wearing a simple warm hoodie, and casual pants. Gone were the days where I dress myself up to meet CEOs and executive leaders of businesses. This time, I was caught unprepared. I didn't know that a simple thing like a Prayer breakfast could attract dignitaries like the BC Premier Gordon Campbell, the Mayor of Vancouver Gregor Robertson, CEOs from reputable businesses in Canada, as well as political leaders from Ottawa and the Opposition. They were seated at the head table in front of us. Among the 1000 over people in the conference room were pockets of newly elected leaders for the province of British Columbia.

I should have known. BC Leadership is exactly that: Leaders in British Columbia Canada. I read the printed program on the table. There was a prayer for each person in the room to pray together. It was about praying for the province and the nation. Straightaway, I noticed that while there was a prayer to God, there was no reference to the other members of the Trinity. I suppose such a prayer will be more palatable to the Unitarians (those who believe in God, but not in the Trinity), the other theistic religions like Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Despite this omission, I think that is still okay. After all, the Prayer breakfast is not just for evangelicals. Even the guy sitting next to me on my table does not attend any church. It is meant to bring community leaders together to pray for a common cause: Leadership in the beautiful province we live in.

The emcee, Glenn Wong did a marvelous job in guiding the whole event. His masterful use of humor lightened the occasion and brought about a warm hearty atmosphere. The keynote speaker, David Bentall, President of Next Step Advisors gave a talk that addresses the needs of leaders in general. Beginning with a rousing flashback to Canada's amazing gold medal game at the recently concluded Olympics, Bentall gave the audience a real treat about "I Believe." He honestly shared his thoughts about the need for 'belief' in order to attain great heights. Yet, at the same time, he was honest about the fickleness and skepticism about whether 'belief' can bring about a positive change always. After all, not all of Canada's 240 plus athletes won a medal at all. Everyone of them claimed to believe, yet only a handful were rewarded with medals. So what exactly ought we to believe in? Warmly, Bentall shared about his business struggles with balance of work and family. He struggled with belief, when he saw that believing does not always work 100%. He experienced disappointment. Only when he is able to see belief in the new perspective, he is able to bring some faith back into "I Believe."

Three Aspects of "I Believe"
1) Believe in Human Relationships: Forgiveness
In forgiveness, he recognized that work can bring a tremendous toll to people with families. His wife nearly walked out on him. Fortunately, he was able to survive his marriage through the willingness to seek forgiveness.

2) Believe in Commitment: First Things First, the Family
Never give up on what one believed in. This is the key that unlocks the potential inside. He talked about his trauma about being retrenched from his top job. Others would have considered suicide at that time. Not him. He knew that life is more than a job. He knew that there are more important things to care for. 

3) Believe in the Future: Do Not Worry
This is such a common disease. There was a reading of Matthew 6:25-27 during the Prayer Breakfast, that speaks to us about worry. Why should we worry about things of the future, especially those that is outside our control. We can only control so much. Why worry about things outside?

My Reflections
Leaders are people who believe in a goal bigger than themselves. In fact, leaders are ordinary people who just have that additional difference: Faith. In order to be a leader, we need to have faith. Faith in something. Faith in following a purpose. For me, it is that faith in God. Without this faith, we will not go. We will not grow.

The talk is a simple one. It needs to be, especially when the audience comprises not only business leaders of old, but budding ones of new. Leaders are called to a higher purpose. They are selected out of a few, to represent the many. They are there to serve, not to be served. In a Prayer breakfast like this, I think it can be a humbling experience to know that amidst the power leaders hold, and the attention they receive, lies a very temptation of pride. In prayer, we put aside such pride that threatens to stumble us. We approach people with humility, knowing that we serve not based on our own abilities or strengths, but utterly dependent on Someone else greater than us. It is not the people of the communities we represent. No matter which way we look, it is God we serve.

conrade

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Conrade:

You wrote a great post on the Prayer Breakfast on your blog! I was wondering if I could post it on the Project Contempo blog with credit to you and your link. Please go to website at www.projectcontempo.org for more info.

I am currently serving as a community chaplain with City In Focus (www.cityinfocus.ca) and the local point person for PC. My passion is marketplace ministry.

Thanks and blessings,
Bill (billw@cityinfocus.ca)

YAPdates said...

Bill,
Thank you for asking. You're most welcome to use it, as per your suggestion.

Peace.

conrade

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