I'm mid-way through a weekend conference with a church that is pastored by a friend from way back. It's going well.:Nnce people, good atmosphere, lively conversations - and the sun's shone today!
One of the most impressive things this church does is a Wednesday evening congregation with a group of mainly young homeless people. They seem to have created something that enables these guys to connect with each other and with God. To hear their stories is really moving.
The great thing about weekends like this is that we can spend a concentrated time looking at a particular issue. In this case, it's how we'll be missional disciples. It works better than trying to do this kind of thing over a number of weeks at church for two reasons.
The first is that everyone has come away from the daily grind and have relaxed. They are open to thinking new thoughts and seeing life from a different perspective - and have a whole weekend to think about it, talk it over, thrash it out - in between bouts of playing, laughing, eating and talking about all kinds of stuff.
The second is that the speaker - on this occasion, me - is able to deliver a sustained case for something without a week at work intervening between each episode so that the audience has forgotten three-quarters of what was said last week when they turn up this week.
The key, of course, to such an event being beneficial long term is follow-up. How do you do that? Answers on a postcard, please...