Today, just a quick question for the ESN community:
Which conferences do you love to attend?
No boundaries on type – they can be Christian, secular, academic, church-related, artistic, theological, national, local, whatever.
Or, if you’re the aspirational sort, which conferences would you love to attend if you could? In a mere coincidence, but TEDGlobal2009 is taking place this week in Oxford. Check out their theme: “The Substance of Things Not Seen.” Wow. Check out the speakers.
Above, in honor of the moon landing, George Smoot’s 2008 TED talk on “the design of the universe.”
About the author:
The former Associate Director for the Emerging Scholars Network, Micheal lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children and works as a web manager for a national storage and organization company. He writes about work, vocation, and finding meaning in what you do at No Small Actors.
One of the best conferences I ever attended was a retreat for arts pastors and laypeople interested in serving artists at Laity Lodge (http://www.laitylodge.org/) this past April. David Taylor was the organizer, and he and Makoto Fujimura were the main speakers. Brian Moss led worship. This spring was the first time the conference has been held, but it might be an annual event.
In my field, Renaissance literature, I’ve been impressed with the Shakespeare Association of America conference.
I attend a minimum number of professional conferences in order to look like I’m doing my job (American Psychosomatic Society or Society of Behavioral Medicine). I attend the Xenos Summer Institute–a purely church-oriented conference that has nothing to do with academics.
If they designed a conference for me, it would be a missions boot-camp for “reaching the campus tribes” (Benson Hines’ e-book). It would be about commissioning Christian faculty as missionaries to the secular university. Equipping in understanding the pertinent laws, outreach strategies, the landscape of Christian parachurch organizations on campus, understanding the mission field, how to raise “support” (typically not financial), roles faculty can play (e.g., faculty advisor, discipler), how to leverage student leaders to magnify the effect the faculty person can have, etc. It would be missions, period.
Speakers could include ground-troops from domestic or overseas missions who are WINNING and building a church planting movement where they are working. Speakers would be required to reveal the % convert growth in their groups and how they are reaching the lost AND the 70+% of “churched” youth who leave between 18-22.
To sum it up (in my view): 1) the church is tanking in the west 2) the battle is often lost on the college/university campus 3) the church does not care 4) Campus Crusade, Intervarsity, etc. have gone a different direction (sorry ESN) and 5) there are almost no Christian faculty involved on secular campuses.
I fear that if this conference were offered, the attendance would be so poor that it would not be held again.
David Troolin says
I am an anthropologist, and I have been regularly attending the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO) conferences. I have gotten to know the people, and I feel like the sessions are aimed at getting us together so we can write papers reflecting input from our fellows.