by Jen Pfeiler

What a delightful time it was to be together at TRANSFORM 2023! As a member of the Life Model Works administrative staff, I expected to be caught up in the hustle and bustle of making sure things were in order, but I was pleasantly surprised by the inundation of relationally connective people who helped me keep my relational circuits on amid the logistics. I am still basking in the tender smiles, gentle laughter, and acts of kindness that I encountered throughout the week in Denver. I anticipate they will be some of the joy moments I continue to savor as time moves along.

From connecting with our partner ministries to working closely with our volunteers, one thing was continually highlighted to me: the value of spiritual family. As volunteer and TRANSFORM attendee, Karla Price, put it, “To be here and to be accepted for who I am, is really a blessing.” I think many of us feel this way. Even though we come from different cities and states, to be together as the body of Christ, unified and willing to do the hard work of connecting to Jesus and loving others the way we love ourselves, is rare in a world stuck in enemy mode.

The spiritual and relational unity we carry as children of God allowed us to grow in escaping enemy mode in a variety of settings. From Margaret Webb’s session on escaping enemy mode within ourselves and allowing God to love the “unlovable” inside of us, to Rev. Ricky and Dr. Julia Moore’s teaching on escaping enemy mode on a larger scale in the realm of racial reconciliation, we confronted pain and acquired greater compassion from Immanuel. The flood of emails to our Life Model Works inbox, detailing how impactful TRANSFORM 2023 was and how people were able to draw close to the heart of God in this space, is a testimony of two things: how committed you, the greater Life Model family, are to being transformed into the likeness of Christ and how committed God is to meeting us where we are with the grace to overcome.

It is our heart at Life Model Works to see these relational skills seep into the fabric of Christian culture at large, especially among the younger generations. One way we began cultivating this vision going into TRANSFORM was by offering students and young adults discounted conference tickets. This led to the creation of a young adults table at lunch on Wednesday and Thursday. During these lunches, it was encouraging to see how God is moving in each one of our lives throughout the conference.

One young adult attendee, Sam Strohkorb, commented on the conference: “Transform 2023 has given me a practical, real-world understanding on how the brain works and how to live a lifestyle of joy and escaping enemy mode.”

Continuing to reach out to the next generation is vital to the future of Life Model concepts. During Thursday’s session, Dr. Jim Wilder emphasized this point: “You need elders to say ‘this is who we really are and this is what I’ve learned about being who we really are’, but unless they’re talking to the younger people so that gets passed on…it’ll die real quick.”

As a young adult myself, I can attest that my generation is hungry for group identity. We are looking for elders to guide us. Many of us have been exposed to a plethora of different self-help tools via Instagram reels and TikTok therapists. So many of us know the right things and all the fancy language, but we lack the tangible guidance and investment from those who have gone before us.

I will close this with an exhortation: To all the elders out there, if you walked away from TRANSFORM 2023 with your heart full, don’t let yourself stay satisfied. Because whatever you received from Jesus during the conference, chances are there’s a young person with a hungry spirit somewhere within your circle of influence who is ready to receive what’s already been imparted to your life. We want to glean the gold from your lives.

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