June 22, 2011 1 Comment
My first year at Westminster I attended the Wee Kirk conference. My second year I attended that Festival of Homiletics. This year I have attended no conferences and I do not see anything on the horizon that I will be going to either.
Even with the Big Tent going on practically next door (Indianapolis, 4 hours away) I can’t see a good reason to get out there. The main problem is stewardship. I get a very small allowance for continuing ed and an even smaller one for books. Going to Cokesbury and getting three or four books wipes out my book allowance, going to one conference wipes out my continuing ed. Thinking about adding travel costs makes me curl into the fetal position.
So this year I made a decision, I put the continuing ed money into books and figured that conferences were not going to be a big part of my ministry here. I am pretty happy with the decision, after all most conferences I went to I enjoyed, but they did not change my life or faith. However, there is a part of me that feels like I am missing out. Things go on at those conferences behind the scenes. Conversations are had that help to shape the national discussion of what the church is. Stories are shared and friendships are made.
There are lots of great things out there that help small church pastors get to conferences, but it can still be prohibitively expensive, particularly if interstate travel is involved. Now though there are new ideas being spread around. Ideas like holding conferences on line. Webinars and twitter conversations. Blogs that are linked together with back and forth conversations.
Some of us who work within small churches feel the crunch when it comes to being involved on a national or even regional level. I hope that we will be able to keep looking for new ways to continue the discussion. One of those ways is going on right now with the We Are Presbyterian project. Check it out! https://bitly.com/wearepcusa11