Saturday, November 06, 2004

ACMC conference reflections

Well the ACMC Midatlantic conference was today. I didn't get a lot of really good practical things out of it this year, but it was still good to go. And it was good to spend some time with some of the people that I encouraged to go, including two students from my NYC team from this past summer and two of the team leaders for the Guat trip coming up this summer. Most of our MTF was there, and I saw an old youthworker friend of mine that I hadn't seen in about 8 or 9 years. I'm going to list each component of the day and some reflections.
Workshop 1
Preparing New Missionaries for the Mission Field

This workshop talked a lot about the idea of a disciple and what that looks like. It wasn't a workshop talking about practical details of how one prepares missionaries. Instead, it was at the higher, theoretical level. Which is too bad. I really thought it was going to be pretty meaty and have a lot of stuff to take home. The speaker was also the prof who graded my Perspectives final paper, so I was looking forward to it.
Right after lunch, everyone regroups, and they do some admin stuff. They also let each of the exhibitors share a little bit about their ministry. This year, they brought up a young guy who had been involved in some hip hop music ministry around the world and he did a bit of rap and stuff for everyone to hear. It was pretty cool. So many of the mission type things are filled with middle aged people. The average age there today was definitely in the 30s, although there were a lot more young people than I expected. So if we are going to engage the emerging generation in this idea of cross cultural mission, we better get used to rap music. What was really cool was that the crowd actually really loved him.
Workshop 2
Women as Missions Advocates

I was one out of two men in this one. Actually, I couldn't decide where to go, and by that time, it was too late. This one was in the chapel, which was easy to sneak in and sit in the back, with some really comfortable chairs. But this speaker was probably the best one I had heard all day. She is the director of Sisters in Service which is a really cool womens missions ministry. I spent part of the time reading Companion to the Poor which I bought at the book table and part of it listening to her. Those were some nice chairs.
Workshop 3
Sending Short Term Teams

This third workshop turned out to be a big infomercial for a mission team leader training workshop that the two leaders were going to run sometime in December. Most of the material covered in the training session seemed to be common sense to me. Topics like team building, talking about culture, having worship be a part of your team meetings, ministry skills training... Shouldn't all cross cultural mission teams prepare by visiting those kinds of topics?
From the outline that they gave out:
"Short term team leaders are disciple makers... The leader focused on developing people personally and ministerially will see workers mobilized long-term for God's kingdom. Through this approach, short-term mission trips become a step in a life development process, not merely a one-time experience."
Maybe I'm pretty thick. But I guess I never thought we would have to spell it out in such detail. I guess I take for granted that most people that desire to lead a missions trip are already fully engaged disciple makers.

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