As New Covenant hosted the virtual Linger Conference last month, expectations ran high for the weekend dedicated to rest and worship – what God would do, or what He would set into motion, or words He would speak to individual members our church family.
And based on the handful of spiritual takeaways we gleaned from some of the 130 attendees: God never disappoints.
“My experience at Linger was just having uninterrupted time to think and focus on God and what he wanted to tell me,” Kristin Snodgrass shared. “We're so easily distracted and busy all the time, so it was good not to have anything pulling me in another direction, but to be able to concentrate for once.”
Kristin continued: “I'm still dealing with the toll 2020 took on my soul, but something about those moments together with God were truly like rivers in the desert for me.”
Kristin said she was especially moved at the Linger Conference by the Jeremy Riddle song Fall Afresh. “We sang the words ‘Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me, come wake me from my sleep. Blow through the caverns of my soul, pour in me to overflow.’ And I prayed that for myself and for our church. He's answering me in small ways and I can't wait to see how He brings life to us in the following weeks.”
Daniel Snodgrass echoed his wife’s sentiments. “My soul has become so tired. I think I've tried to achieve some emotional ‘safety’ in ways that add layers between me and God, and between me and others,” he shared. “At Linger, I had enough time with the Lord that some of those barriers started to get bumped aside. Safety started to be less attractive than closeness to Jesus.”
Bryan Affolter was particularly moved by the worship sessions at Linger. A first-time Linger attendee, Bryan was reminded of a dream he’s had since he first became a Christian, where he could go back in time and be one of Jesus’ disciples – traveling with Him, teaching and worshiping together, spending quality time and finding true peace in the presence of the Creator and King of the universe.
“For me, the Linger Conference was a taste of my dream of Jesus. Although the teaching was great, the worship times were powerful and filled with the peace and presence of the Spirit,” Bryan shared. “One of the refrains in a song was, ‘I sought the Lord and He answered me.’ That resonated with my conversion experience and was made true again at the conference.”
One hallmark of the Linger Conference is the Linger Room, a dedicated space for quiet contemplation, for personal reflection on God.
Jane Kelley said her experience in the Linger Room was one of her favorite takeaways from the Linger weekend. “The back-and-forth format between the Linger worship team and powerful spoken truths and the Linger Room worked really well together,” she said. “The Linger Room especially left time to meditate, to breathe, to hear from God, to talk to God, to confess, to press in to my convictions.”
Another first-time attendee, Dixie Estrem said the Linger Conference made a lasting impression on her and reminded her of some basic truths. "We grow closest to Christ in the midst of pain, and there is purpose in the pain and the pruning,” Dixie said. “I must die daily to sin and take up my cross and follow Christ, and He is our prize.”
Dixie said she took pages and pages of notes from Linger and found the conference to be a good bridge between the recent Rhythms sermon series and the New Covenant mission to Pursue God, Pursue Others, and Practice His Ways.
Julie Pegump has attended the Linger Conference before in Texas, and this year’s virtual conference proved to be an equally-rich experience for her.
“Something that is hitting me now from Linger, and it’s not a new concept: Jesus is FOR all of us! JESUS is for all of us! Jesus is for ALL of us!
“We sat there in that room, young and old, single and married, all the backgrounds, all together because we love Jesus and we desperately need and want Him and the community that comes with being a Christ follower,” Julie said. “We are all connected by Jesus. It doesn’t matter where we have come from; It matters who we belong to.”
For more perspectives from The Linger Conference, check out this blog post from Loretta Bushlack and this one from Johnse Bushlack -- they share about their Linger experiences in previous years.