Conference Afterglow

by Ted Esler

The 2016 Mission Leaders Conference is in the rear view window. I am on the airplane heading home with a stack of business cards, notes from our team debrief and a sense of satisfaction that comes from completing a major project.

As I reflect on potential outcomes I am most excited about the hundreds of meetings that I saw taking place. I don’t mean the sessions (those were great!) but the informal gatherings. I walked by a couple and couldn’t help but hear a bit of what was happening. One trio was setting up a follow-up teleconference on a joint overseas initiative. Another group was sharing about past ministry they had experienced together years beforehand. There was a group of younger women talking about the session they had just left on women in leadership. These can be, I believe, the most important moments in a gathering like this.

The first night was a blast. I had no idea that the Getty’s were going to “bring it” like they did. What musicians. It set a wonderful tone for the rest of our time together. Each plenary speaker was uniquely challenging, bringing a different perspective on the theme of unity. There were so many great breakouts (I plan on listening to the ones I missed as they will be put on podcast feed in about sixty days). David Platt’s charge to us emphasized the things we must get right in understanding the Great Commission. His executive session was a humble, honest overview of the past months of his leadership. Carolyn Custis James took us through Ruth’s ordeal in the context of the ancient patriarchal system. Ed Stetzer was, as usual, “info-taining” and Luis Palau’s message reminded us of Jesus prayer and call to unity.

I attended the breakout related to race and mobilization. Incredible and sobering. This particular session used a unique feedback mechanism based on texting for engagement and conversation.

This event is Missio Nexus’ largest and most important event our team organizes each year. But it doesn’t belong to our team: this event belongs to the community. We need to make sure that future events reflect this reality even more.

Remember: engagement = relationship + action

Preparations have already begin for next year, Foundations, in Dallas, TX, on September 21 to 23. Mark it on your calendars!

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