I heard and read about the Tulsa ("Soul-Winning," the second word used to be) Workshop for decades before ever attending one. In those days, I dismissed it as misguided. Despite the high-sounding name, I thought it really was about increasing the membership of the Churches of Christ (non-instrument), primarily by convincing people in other denominations to switch to our non-denomination as the more certain route to heaven --although nobody was all that certain about it, but at least we were not a "denomination" (rhymes with "abomination"). Plus, I thought, it focused on "methods" (at best) and gimmicks (at worse), when what we should be doing was pointing people to Christ by holy lives, good works and gospel words. Besides, we couldn't "win" anyone--the Holy Spirit had to do that. And even if we could, we should go for the whole person, not just some "soul," which was not biblical terminology in the dualistic way we used it anyway. I was big, then, on dismissing and opining and "should"-ing. And the Tulsa Soul-Winning Workshop was also big in attendance, with thousands and thousands coming from all over, by the busloads.
Then one day the folks in charge realized they were thinking (though they didn't know it, and I didn't know it and had absolutely nothing to do with it happening) many of the same things that I was thinking about what the Workshop was, and wasn't, and should be. So they changed accordingly. And many of the buses stopped coming, and several thousands of the people stayed home. And the folks in charge, who had been working hard, and sacrificing, and pouring themselves out all along in what they thought was right, now kept working hard and sacrificing and pouring themselves out in what they and I alike thought was better, and in 2008 they invited me to join the mix and add my two cents worth, which I gladly did. And my eyes were opened and my ears were unstopped, and behold I was impressed and inspired and encouraged and informed and convicted and embarrassed and ashamed for thinking that I could do those first seven things for them when really we all could do it for each other.
This will be my fourth year to attend, God willing, and I look forward to the bold proclamations and faithful testimonies and hair-raising, heart-grabbing, mind-blowing reports (plus those without any of those adjectives) of God at work through the Holy Spirit as he draws people to Jesus Christ, then transforms, equips and uses them as the cycle is repeated and repeated and repeated again. And I would like to get the word out, to folks who don't go because they are like I used to be, that a long list of good things (see preceding paragraph) are waiting to happen to them if they will get off their high horses and be open to receive. And I would like to get the word out to the thousands who used to come but stopped because the Workshop changed and somebody told them that it had "gone liberal," to forget about labels and ignore ignorant reports and reporters and come "taste and see that the Lord is good," because that's what it's all about, and that's not bad at all but in fact is very, very good. You can get more details about The Tulsa Workshop happening next month by going to http://www.tulsaworkshop.org .