Imagine a mission where we organised our conference because we had something to say rather than because the constitution said we had to have one.
Imagine a mission conference that was centred around a programme we were excited about, rather than prioritising the dates and the venue before we started wondering how we were going to
waste fill peoples’ time having obliged encouraged them to be there.
Imagine a mission conference whose key agenda was furthering mission in its widest sense, rather than our own organisational minutiae.
Imagine a mission conference organised with the academic rigour normally expected in other disciplines; open invitations to submit papers, proper presentations, peer review, real debate, maybe even a publication to follow.
Imagine a mission conference where we went away thinking that if we hadn’t been there, we might have missed out on something worth contributing to.
Imagine on, because it won’t be happening this time. Having seen the agenda, I can confirm that our aspirations are safely limited to rearranging the pot-plants of our own domestic politics. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with house-keeping; heck even I clean the bathroom from time to time. The issues here are about inappropriate matching of resources to task, and a missed opportunity to do something really worth-while with our conference. The agenda we have been given is not dissimilar to the agendas of PCC meetings up and down many countries. But rather than turfing a dozen people off their sofas into a damp church hall for a couple of hours, we are flying however many (couple of hundred?) people half-way across the world to Peru with all the financial and time commitments inherent, for an agenda that wouldn’t tax the average PCC (or was the one I used to be on just particularly excellent?). How can this possibly be good stewardship of resources; people, time, or money? (even ignoring the issue of all those air-miles) In fact I took two days between writing and posting this blog in order to try and come up with a good reason why the suggested topics couldn’t have been reasonably dealt with in an email discussion or a web forum, and so far I can’t think of one. Unfortunately we have a three line whip; otherwise I would save the time and the money, both of which are in short enough supply. At least we can still dream. Another year, another life, another planet…