Sunday, May 20, 2012

The launch conference

I attended the Launch Conference for a little while yesterday. I believe this was a collaborative effort by our denomination and the seminary (though I'm not exactly sure; I think it was mostly Justin Meier, but was held at the seminary). It started with a lunch Friday afternoon with Alan Hirsch, then kicked off Friday evening and into the night, and ran all day Saturday.

I didn't arrive until after it had already started on Saturday morning. And... to be honest... I almost left about 10 minutes after I got there. I sat through the end of the first session, mingled in the hallway during the breakout, and then I was going to leave. But I drove around Findlay for a bit and decided I might as well grab lunch while there. So I went to Subway and had a salad, and then thought I should probably force myself to stay for at least one more speaker. So I heard Alan Hirsch in the morning, and Philip Nation after lunch. Then I hit the road.

My reason for leaving was... I bet there weren't 75 people there; and I bet almost half the people that were there were denominational or seminary staff. I was completely shocked and not just a little disappointed at how few people were there. Completely. And it was an odd mix of people too.

They had advertised the heck out of this, and had some fairly big name people who were supposed to be there. People like: Alan Hirsch, Reggie McNeal, Glenn Smith, Henry Reyenga, Jonathan McIntosh, Linda Bergquist, Lizette Beard, Philip Nation, Tony & Felicity Dale, and Vince Antonucci (plus some of our own denominational people). But I don't think some of those people ended up coming. I saw Al, Jonathan, Linda, Lizette, Philip, and Tony & Felicity. Who, right there, was a pretty good line-up. But for some reason there just weren't many people there. I wonder if part of the problem - which it was for me - was that this was initially advertised as a "church planting" conference. Then they changed midstream and tried to make it more open.

Anyway, I did buy two books - both from the Dale's (who I wish I'd have heard speak, or talked to). I bought Small Is Big: Unleashing the Big Impact of Intentionally Small Churches (by Tony, Felicity, and George Barna), and An Army of Ordinary People: Stories of Real-Life Men and Women SIMPLY BEING THE CHURCH (by Felicity). They look good.

Here is the extent of the notes I took:
  • "There is no such thing as a non-missional Christian." -Alan Hirsch (you can't be one and not the other)
  • The Greek word for "sent" is "Apostalia" (apostle)
  • "The church is designed for world transformation." -Alan Hirsch
  • "Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway." -John Wayne (Nation shared this).
So... this was not an overly good day. One of the most disappointing conferences I have attended. And I didn't attend it for very long. I really didn't even talk to that many people while there. Sad.