From Conference to Closet by Sarah Watne
God wants to meet us. Everywhere. Every minute. He tore the veil so that we could live in His holy-of-holies presence.

From Conference to Closet

by Sarah Watne
5/3/17 Christian Living

There’s no better way to ring in the new year than worshiping our worthy King with thousands of people from the nations, all in one place. I think most Onething conference attendees can agree that what God does at this conference changes the way we view God and ourselves forever. A few days of the year yield fruit that is eternal.

I have been to IHOPKC’s Onething conference many times, and in years past, I associated these incredible moments with a conference more than I associated them with God Himself. This left me waiting around for the next conference so I could finally experience the weighty presence of God and hear His voice clearly once again. I thought God was more apt to show up in huge conference settings than He was to show up in my bedroom or car. This mentality put distance between myself and the Lord in my daily life. It just isn’t the same, I thought.

Each year, the Lord reminds me that the times I met Him and the radical moments of prayer and worship really had nothing to do with the conference itself. They were all about His presence.

God Wants to Encounter His People

Many marking moments with the Lord happen at conferences, because the very focus of a Christian conference is to know God. This setting provides a mentality of complete attention on God and God alone. At these conferences, attendees switch their thinking from normal daily routine to thoughts that proclaim “God, I want more” at every moment. People are intently seeking God’s face. There is a culture of hunger; it is normal to be abandoned in worship and to leave the comfort zone to pray and prophecy over others. Teaching, worship, and prayer happen all day! It is difficult to not be consumed with God in a place where everyone is thinking and talking about Him 24/7! There, Jesus truly is our one thing!

Almost every minute of the Onething conference is an organized opportunity to meet with God. This is incredible! A foretaste of heaven! But I’d like to present the question: what happens when we go home and we don’t have worship sessions and hubs scheduled for us all day long?

Encounters with God are not due to a physical location or a certain time of year. Meeting God happens for one triumphant reason: God wants to encounter His people! I met God because He loves to reveal Himself and demonstrate His love to His children (1 Corinthians 2:9–10John 1:14Colossians 1:27). He just loves us, and it’s in His very nature to make Himself known—in Kansas City, in Denver, in Africa, in the grocery store. Monday, Tuesday, every morning, day and night.

We don’t need a four-day conference, we need a mindset change that will affect the rest of our lives.

A lot of us are not surrounded by the culture of the Onething conference at home: the mindset of Jesus being our “one thing” (Psalm 27:4). Home can carry different mentalities, where school, work, a busy schedule, responsibilities, and the lie of “not enough time” reign more than Jesus does. The focus transitions from the One thing (Jesus) to everything else on our large plates. It is easy to let our mindsets change when our physical locations change; it is easy to be conformed to the patterns we are familiar with instead of being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

God Didn’t Change—Our Awareness of Him Did

Your experience at the Onething conference was not just a “God high,” or a “mountain top experience.” It was an invitation into more of His heart for every day in the year to come. David reminds us in Psalm 16 that in God’s presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. I believe this is part of what us millennials might confuse as a God high. Instead of categorizing the peace and joy of God experienced at a conference as a once-a-year mountain top experience, what if we expected His fullness-of-joy type of company in every small moment of our lives as well? What if this 365-days-a-year friendship with God was what we were created for?

If our mentality changes from our mindset during the conference of constantly seeking God’s face, unquenchable hunger, abandoned worship, and readiness to hear God’s voice to “What would my congregation think if I danced during worship?” and “I don’t have time to meet with God with my busy schedule,” or “I hear God so much clearer at conferences” when we return home, we put God at a distance that He never intended us to have. I believe God longs for us to change the way we think in our everyday lives, so that our hearts can be open to meeting Him in every small moment the way our hearts are open to meet Him during a conference. He is so excited about our everyday life—about the way we parent, about grocery store runs, about our nine-to-five job! His only agenda is connection; He is Emmanuel. Ever present, ever eager for deep friendship. When we fill our days giving the Lord simple permission to come meet us however He wants to, we willsee the face of God regularly. Perhaps even in some more intimate ways than we saw Him at the conference.

Friendship with God Is Available 24/7

God wants to meet us. Everywhere. Through every minute! He tore the veil so that we could live in constant communion with Him (Matthew 27:51, Hebrews 10). Encounters with God, knowing His presence, and hearing His voice can be a part of your everyday life. This is friendship. And friendship is not reserved for a once-a-year conference. Friendship with God is for you, and it is for your everyday life.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19–22, ESV)

[Note: This essay was originally written directly after Onething 2016.]

Join thousands of believers like Sarah at our Onething conference this December. Enjoy times of biblical teaching, corporate worship, and ministry that strengthens and encourages believers toward love and good deeds.

Sarah Watne


    Sarah Watne is a writer from Minneapolis. She recently graduated from Colorado Christian University with a degree in communications. Sarah is passionate about the world tasting and seeing the goodness of God. She believes the truths of God are waiting for people to take hold of them and sprinkle them all over humanity with clear and honest communication. She writes, speaks, and takes photos to bring people into awareness of a God who delights in them, a God who desires to be intimately connected to each and every one of us, a God who brings us the promise of eternal life through His son, Jesus Christ. Sarah dreams of traveling the nations and sharing the truth that sets people free!

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