Saturday, July 06, 2013

World Domination Summit, First Cut

This post represents some initial impressions after being at one of the most remarkable conferences I've ever attended. After an opening word and concert Friday night at the Oregon Zoo, we had several plenary speakers over two days at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in downtown Portland, Oregon and many afternoon seminars from which to choose. Any number of people have asked me why I went and what I wanted to get out of this. As a first-time WDSer, I have a confession to make.

I have no idea.

WDS is so hard to describe. The best tag line I've run across is "living remarkable lives in a conventional world." WDS seems to be the quintessential "out of the box" conference---in other words, if you are (or want to be) out of the box, this is the conference for you. I'm still processing all of the things I've learned, but one big thing I've learned: I have heard more about being your true self, following your dreams, and truly being community in 48 hours here than in many years of church conferences. 

As I've explained it, most of the conferences I attend tend to be what might be called "industry" conferences--talking about how to grow your church, reach out into the neighborhood, preach better, study the Bible, etc.... They're pretty much designed to appeal the the clergy that attend them. They also have to be relatively inexpensive, all the better to fit into Continuing Education budgets. But what most of them end up as are low-budget discussions of Jesus, the church, arcane Biblical truths, or other "shop talk." That isn't always true, and I've been to my share of great conferences, but there's always sort of an implicit "us/them" thing going on. "How do we get them to come to us?" "How do we get us (in the church) to go to them?" There really isn't a realization that people can lead perfectly good, even remarkable, lives without being a disciple of Jesus, much less a church-goer.

As I noted above, I'm still processing all of my learnings, and I'll no doubt have more to say. I'm just glad that I came. I hope my life is more remarkable because of it and I'm going to try and make it so.

Stage at WDS 2013

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