(GRAND RAPIDS) - OK, folks, two days in.
Those who know me at all understand that I expect some level of excellence at events like this.
Thus far, I'm not even getting decent mediocrity.
I'm here because my friend and colleague, Kevin, asked me to come, and because I want to be part of the solution in our Conference, and not the problem, I'm heeding his counsel to glean something of value if I can and let the rest go.
Mark Beeson did the opening plenary. What did I glean? Communication is essential and the means to do it must reach the context of the culture.
Anything of value that was said, however, was overshadowed by a little too much "look at me" for my taste. The videos of how "they do it" amounted to showing off. Polished, highly produced - close to gimmicky, but probably relevant to the under 30 set, no doubt about it.
Feels a bit out of my reach and my style.
However, I will say that some ideas are spinning that I intend to implement around how we communicate.
The next session was on "Creative Preaching." All I'll say about it is that I left halfway in.
Following lunch I attended Dan Glover's "Creating a Discipleship System." I was not familiar with his work until today. I did find it of value and it was probably my best session of the day.
My Ministry Track work, on the L3 Incubator entered day two. I find some value in the methodology, but by the time I got to this session, I was spent, and not really available to contribute much.
I left the day with the strongest sense that this event, which, presumably, represents that "best" of The United Methodist Church's future, has painted a picture of the church that I don't recognize, nor really want to be a part of.
I left thinking, "am I really that out of touch?"
The 14 of us here from the Memphis Conference convened following the day's sessions to process. I'm not alone in my concern. Some are finding more to take away than I have thus far. It is also possible that I've not picked sessions on the menu that represent perpectives more resonant with mine.
A bunch of us travelled downtown for a lovely seafood dinner and conversation at a restaurant in which we sat outside overlooking the river. It was THE highlight of the day - no question.
Got my 2.5 miles in this morning - always a good thing. So the day starts and ends with something good.
With hope that I'll "glean" something tomorrow that I'll hang on to and bring home, I prepare for bed. It's a halfday, and then I'm loading up in the Dodge Charger I've rented and heading west to Lake Michigan for the rest of the day.