"Our conferences are a bit dull. I don't mean boring, I mean the opposite of cutting edge. Dull not sharp. I'm probably in the minority on this one. The worship is great and some of the talks are excellent. But some of the seminars seem to be the same every year and tell us what we already know rather than stretch us in new ways."Well, recently our latest and biggest conference of the year finished. Has anything changed? No, not really. I think I'd hold to that comment, which is a bit disappointing. Here are my reasons:
I predicted beforehand that we'd have main sessions based on old testament characters related to our themes and values, and guess what - we did. That our flagship conference should be so predictable by someone who has only been 3 times (I think) is a bit, well, lame. We even got Jonathan's armour bearer for the third time!
For a movement that places great store by expository preaching I'm not sure I heard any. I certainly don't think I gained any fresh insights into Scripture here.
Most people I talked to also struggled to choose a seminar stream - I'd like to have the 'agony' of choosing between several equally exciting options (like being in a great restaurant and selecting a dish) rather than reading the list and thinking there's really only one option for me here. But then it could be me, if I picked the seminars - possibly no one would want to go to any of them.
Worship - great
Giving - fantastic
Fellowship - wonderful
Seminars - good
Main sessions talks - OK
Here's my heart, I want to be stretched. I want the scriptures opened up to me so I meet Jesus in a whole new way, I want revelation from the Word, I want seminars that are cutting edge dealing with the big issues of our day and seeing what a biblical response looks like. I want to be exposed to new ideas, concepts, practices. Most of all if I guess again about the main talks I want to be wrong, if I try and guess what seminars they'll offer me, I want to be wrong. I want to look forward to TOAM 2010 with real excitement.
My complete list of posts on TOAM here
Here are some others thoughts on the conference
- Matt Hosier on the conference
- Dave Bish on Terry's talks (here, here and here)
- Dave Matthias on Stu Gibbs and the offering
- Scott Taylor on his week
- Rob Mason
- Obviously Adrian Warnock
- Terry Virgo