Boy what a weekend!
Me, Mandi, and the two girls took off Wednesday August 27th and heading to Jacksonville, Florida. This was a major stepping stone for me as it was (a) my first time going to Florida (b) my first time going to a beach (c) my first time seeing an ocean that was not a picture from someone else’s trip (d) my first time experiencing a different kind of Deaf Christian Conference.
We headed down and stopped near Atlanta, Georgia. Then on Thursday, we drove the remaining 5 hours to Jacksonville. Our hotel was the BOMB…it was awesome..the pool had palm trees all around it and it was just great.
The National Christian Convention of the Deaf was something different. I am used to the Baptist Deaf conferences and meeting the Deaf that ALREADY have connected with. But at this convention, me and mandi were total strangers. We hardly knew anyone. Chad Entinger of Deaf Missions was there. Mary Alice Gardner of Ozark Christian College was there. Bryan Eubanks of Deaf Institute of Cincinnati was there. That was about all I knew (I didnt even know they were going but thank God they did)
Thursday Night was more of a fellowship, introductory, welcome time for us. It was warm and it was friendly. We met about 4 or 5 new people that night. Our main goal was to meet new people and put ourselves on their radar to let them know that there is a new deaf church, a new deaf pastor, and a new deaf pastor’s wife that needs their support, their prayers, and their feedbacks or thoughts to improve whatever was needed.
Come to find out..there was only two “full-time” deaf pastors within the NCCD denomination. Before I go any further, NCCD consists of Christian churches (like Southeast Christian as a non-denominational), Christian churches (Disciples of Christ denomination) and Church of Christ denomination. It was interesting to learn about their thoughts and beliefs but at the same time, we held true to our own beliefs and to try out best to help others to understand that Southeast was different than most. There were about 8 other Deaf pastors that spread as far as Colorado to Florida to Maryland to Iowa. But overall, only 2 full-time deaf pastors: myself and one in Indianapolis, IN.
Friday was the day of workshops… we picked 4 workshops together:
- Coming to God on His Terms (lesson about Humility)
- A Heart Like His (lesson about how to imitate God’s heart)
- Dealing with Offenses Toward Others (lesson on have a clear conscience
- The Joy of Moral Freedom for Married Couples (Sexual Purity)
The worship was differnent. No music as it was hosted at a Church of Christ church. The speakers were basic but “good” basic as in reminding us of what we need to remind ourselves.
What did I learn from NCCD?
- If NCCD is hosted at a Church of Christ church, there will be no tech station with DVD music, sound speakers, or anything related to sound devices.
- If NCCD is hosted at a Christian church, there will be music period!
- I learned to appreciate Southeast Christian more because of our strong beliefs, specifically in the areas of salvation, baptism, and serving others.
- I learned to appreciate my role and job as many Deaf pastors, not only within NCCD but in other denominations as well do not have the benefits that I have with Southeast.
- Within the workshops at NCCD, out of the four that I attended..only one I really benefited from. And that was on “Dealing with Offenses Toward Others” as in how to approach people that are offended by others or yourself…the word “Reconcile” was used alot. (I will get to this in a minute)
- I learned to appreciate music more..(smile)
- i learned to teach others at NCCD that no matter what denomination we come from, we need to work as a team to reach people for Jesus. If people would just ignore the rules so much and work together for the gospel, we can be much more effective.
- i learned that I am going to make it a priority to attend NCCD every year because it seems to be the thing that God is leading me to. I cannot “assist” in anything within other denominational conferences such as SBCD or KBCD. These conferences are awesome for fellowship, workshops, and support but as a non-baptist pastor, my desire to serve as an officer or worship planning will be limited. I want the Lord to use me in places that He can use me.
Next year NCCD will be in Severn, Maryland. We do plan to go back and possibily bring some others with us to get them to meet new people.
For those of you who want to see pictures, I have them uploaded on my Facebook page. Just go to facebook.com and type in my name Steve Dye (you will see picture of me and my wife in red shirts) Enjoy!