I usually try to go to a conference each year. These conferences push me to consider new ways of Tapestry being the church. The past few years I have gone to the Q conference and it has been really good, but two years ago I decided I needed a break from it. I spent the next year finishing my dissertation, which was enough for me. I’ve started looking for something else and to be honest I haven’t really found anything that I am really excited about. Must of the conferences I have looked at seem to center around bringing in a Christian celebrity pastor to preach a sermon at you. I’m not real interested in that. I can listen to those preachers online so there is no real advantage to spending lots of money to go to one of those conferences.
I’ve recently asked a group of ministerial friends that I love and respect if they would just pick a conference and I would go there to join them. I figure I’ll get more out of hanging out with them and asking what they are struggling with and succeeding with, than I will with any conference. I actually wish I could just develop my own conference but I don’t really know what it would look like.
At this moment this is what I think I would like to do.
- Get 20-30 ministers from various backgrounds together in a cabin secluded somewhere. Perhaps in the woods.
- Pick a very simple theme . I tend to think that simple questions/theme have way more depth than more complex questions/theme. For example, I think it would be fun to ask such a group of 20-30 ministers to define what it means to be the church in their areas. I feel like we don’t usually ask that question, and therefore don’t really even know what we are trying to do. Instead, it feels like we Christian ministers often ask “how do I do church better.” Which is my opinion isn’t the more important question.
- Ask a few decently respected theologians/thinkers to recommend some books and articles and the simple theme/question we will be discussing and then get all the attendees to read those articles and books before coming to the cabin.
- Kidnap one of those respected theologians/thinkers to lead a group discussion or two. As you can tell I a would be all in on this conference because it would probably result in some prison time afterward.
- After each kidnapped theologian led discussion group send all the participants out for some solitary speculation concerning what it discussion would look like in their ministry contexts.
- Come back together and discussion what we each thought out concerning our ministry contexts and learn from each other.
- make some awesome meals together and do some fun outdoor activities together.
This is the conference I would like to find, or maybe create. So, anyone have access to a cabin and willing to kidnap Miroslav Volf or perhaps Kathryn Tanner (whose writing I am beginning to like a lot)?