Recently I have been stewing on the amount of conferences that are taking place throughout the country / world. It has become especially ironic when the conferences are speaking / teaching on missional living because there are usually thousands of people, charged $300, listening to the same speakers, talk on the same subjects, and not really applying anything in their context.
Okay, that is a little cynical, but really?
Please don’t misunderstand. I am a fan of learning, networking, and even spending money, but I am not sure it is effective. After all we are talking about the redemption of all humanity and we should consider if we are being effective. I know some will dismiss the idea because they are just excited to get out of town, even take the family, and have someone else foot the bill, but really?
It seems more appealing to start more local efforts where pastors gather to listen / learn then discuss application in their own geographic area. We have started a gathering of local pastors in Austin to plan, discuss strategy, pray, and encourage and maybe that is a better use of time, energy, and resources? Maybe it still means getting out of town but there is more emphasis on accountability, more relational, more organic, more strategic; especially if we are discussing missional themes through the local church.
It seems the pattern we have now is that it creates celebrity pastors, sends the wrong message to younger pastors, wastes a lot of money, and yet the local church is still in decline.