Dear Onething Attenders


Dear Onething Attenders

I love you. No, really. I really love you. I was there last year with my 18-year-old, my nine-year-old, and my seven-year-old. This year my 19-year-old is with you by herself, spreading her wings a little bit.  So to say that I love you is not a stretch at all.

In fact, I was you. Believer it or not, this old looking guy was at the very first Onething conference in 2001 as a 20-year-old and I was part of every one since until 2006 when my wife and I were having our first baby. I remember the days of traveling to Kansas City, the close relationships that would forge over hours in the car together, the anticipation of what God would do, the early mornings trying to get good seats and the long days meeting God during worship and preaching. I remember all of it.

Several years into going to Onething, I made the transition of moving to KC and joining what is now called IHOPU. I transitioned from going to the conference to living the lifestyle. I loved it. I remember when the realization hit me during my second or third year there that the Onething gathering is probably the closest thing to an apostolic gathering that I had ever been part of.  And even though I’m not in KC anymore, it’s kept me coming back. Truth be told, if circumstances allowed, I’d be there again this year.

So with that said, as an old guy to some young folks, let me tell you some things I’ve learned over the years that will help this short window be as meaningful as possible.

Be There

I mean this in the best way possible. Be all in. Be there for what this conference is. Nothing ever made me sadder during my times there when I would see other young people my age hanging out, goofing off, flirting, and just trying to have a good time outside of the conference. You came because something in your heart stirred when you heard about people living radically for God. Don’t miss a minute of your short chance to see that played out.

Believe It

So you’re there in the midst of this huge conference and you’re hearing about a God who loves you more than you ever thought, you’re hearing about what God wants to do in the Earth, and I’m sure you’ve heard how God wants to use you to impact your world. But you know you’re going to have to go back home and live a normal life. Will any of this still be real when you get back? Can I just say that the most important fight you will have over the next week is to embrace everything God has for you and believe that it will still be true? It will still be true when the bands have moved from the stage to the prayer room and you are on your way home. Believe that the things you hear this week are true that they will still be true a month from now when Mike Bickle isn’t declaring them over thousands of people. Build your life around these things. It’s important for the future.

Find Some Old Guys (or Ladies) and Ask How They Did It

You’ll hear this over and over again at this conference. Being radical is not showing up for these three days and worshiping really, really loudly. Being radical is taking the things that you learn here and living them out for the next 30 and 40 years, should the Lord tarry.  If that’s true, you’re going to need to find some people who have been doing that longer than you have. Hopefully some of the people who brought you are in that category. But if not, determine not just to buy a t-shirt or a teaching series, but to find someone who has done this and ask them how they did it.

Also, make sure you pay attention when Mike Bickle and Allen Hood are speaking. There will probably be younger people that you can relate to better that will speak at this conference. You could be tempted to think they have nothing to teach you. I’ve seen Mike preach controversial messages and have hundreds of young adults walk out of the room But I’ve watched these guys continue to live the same lifestyle, day in and day out for years. They are steady and fiery. That makes them worth paying extra close attention to. Don’t miss their sessions if you can possibly help it.

Make Time for Jesus

I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, “Seriously? Doesn’t he realize I’m at Onething?” But the fact of the matter is you can get so caught up being in conference mode that you don’t pray or seek the Lord. If the Lord isn’t prompting you to be at a workshop, head to the prayer room. Pray about the things God is speaking to you.  Talk to Him. He wants to speak to You. Some of my most powerful times last year were during the times I snuck away to be with Jesus. You won’t regret it.

Okay. I know you’re busy. I’ll leave it at that. I might write again next week to encourage you in what to do after you’re back home. But for now, enjoy what God is doing with you. Keep saying “yes” every time He asks. You will not regret it.


Travis Kolder

Onething Class of ’01

Photo Credit: DSCN2272 by vasekvi


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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

5 responses to “Dear Onething Attenders”

  1. Nicole Musselman says :

    Well said Travis! Reminded me of my first time at one thing you and Christy were living here before you were married in remember first going to the rock and remember just thinking wow!!! I Felt like some one just took a defibulater and woke me up from a dull bored sleepy Christian life and breathed life into my soul! I could not believe how fiery that group was makes me want to find that church tribe today! Anyways thanks for the read and the reminder as the first time I went to one thing was 2006!!! And I want to be more excited and more on fire in my 30s and 40s than I was in my 20s! WE HAVE TO BE! not just for our own souls but for our children too! Love you guys!!

    • traviskolder says :


      It’s so great to hear from you! I remember that year. That was an amazing time. And you’re right, we need to be those people who help those who are younger than us find the fire of Jesus. Keep pressing. Just because we’re older and have kids, doesn’t mean we can’t still be fiery, too. 🙂 Hope you’re doing well!

  2. benwolff4000 says :

    Great post. Very confirming and encouraging. Thank you!

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