I have some questions/critiques of the conference. But I want to frame them properly so let me throw out the gaurdrails.
First off, Marko’s heart is golden. He’s a worshipper and lover of Jesus. I think Yac would be proud but more importantly, I think God is pleased with his efforts and intentions. I have mounds of respect for him as a leader and brother in Christ.
Second of all – I came back refreshed. That alone made the conference worthwhile. The YS crew has always opened every session with the same edict to those who attend their conferences. ALLOW GOD TO REFRESH YOUR SOUL. Sleep in, take walks, go swimming, take naps, and seek God’s face. They don’t expect their attenders to be at every session. They expect them to take advantage of the resources to have their souls refreshed.
So, having said that – here are my random thoughts in no particular order about the Emergent YS Conference and the entire US portion of the movement.
1. We are still figuring out how to incarnate our values. While the movement emphasizes conversation, community and open dialogue – most of the breakout sessions were the opposite. Some of that is the nature of the beast. You put 100 people in a room – it’s hard to converse.
Some of it though was the style of the presenters. After an hour of convincing the importance of the topic – we had another hour of information and very little time for discussion.
2. After hearing issues and passionate discussions – I question how long the emergent folks will be welcomed around the non-emergent table in the United States because of our tendency to polarize every issue and draw hard lines of what is acceptable and what is not.
3. I think the discussion/insights concerning the doctrine of humanity might just be the single largest contribution of the entire movement. (I’ll blog more on this later.)
4. I hope that we (US side) can maintain a focus that emphasizes spiritual formation (ie- life-changing encounter with Jesus) more than just one more church growth strategy.
5. I hope that our intentions are to honestly follow and obey the Spirit, not to do something just because it’s out of the box or contraversial. The jury’s still out on this one in my mind. Probably 50% of the attendees at YS – GE’s guess…not hard data so don’t go quoting me – are going to be guilty of Conference Envy. Instead of prayerfully listening to the Spirit as to how to incarnate Him in their specific context, they are going to take some “tricks” or “tools” and randomly start applying them to their context without doing the harder, more godly work of intrepreting and understanding the cultural they live in.
6. I hope that we continue to elevate community as a core value for lifestyle and leadership.
Okay – I think I waxed long enough….