The only thing missing at AC? S'mores. Pexels from Pixabay.com
It’s that time of year in the United Methodist Church: Annual Conference.
For those of you not in the know, and you know who you are, Annual Conference is essentially Adult Summer Church Camp. Annual Conference brings together church people from a regional area, maybe even one or two states.
There’s singing, laughing, worshiping, eating, small groups, and announcements. But (dang it) there’s no campfire or s’mores. In addition, there’s debating over legislation, reporting on accomplishments during the year, and dreaming about a preferred future. Each congregation has two members plus their clergyperson in attendance. It’s three days of merriment!
If you’re a lucky attender this year, once Annual Conference is over and you head down from your mountain top experience, it’s time to tell the folks back home what happened while you were gone. Telling about Annual Conference is sometimes overlooked. How are the people in the pews supposed to know what you did for three days on their behalf unless you tell them?
Here are four tips on reporting back:
1. Start with inspiration. What was the one thing that had you saying, “The Spirit is in this place”? Don’t lead with legislation. It may seem like the easiest thing to do but that’s not what people want to hear about first.
2. Talk about the connection. That’s what makes Annual Conference such a special time. People from all over the state(s) are meeting, worshiping, and connecting with one another. Talk about the one person you met who made a difference in your life.
3. Think about one or two issues or pieces of legislation that people want information on. Guaranteed, folks will want to know the scuttlebutt on the fallout from the 2019 Special General Conference and how the church will move forward…together or not.
4. End with inspiration. What was the other time that had you saying, “The Spirit is in this place”?
In five minutes you can cover a lot of ground and have people feel better about being a part of a connectional church. The world-wide church may not be unified any more but at individual Annual Conference meetings United Methodists at multiple times feel that “sweet, sweet spirit” moving.
Be sure to tell the folks back home all about it. They want to know. They need to know. And you can bring along the s’mores.
P.S. I’ll have an “Inspiring Generosity” table at the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference in Eugene starting today, June 12 ‘til Saturday, June 15. If you’re there, come by for a visit in the Ministry Marketplace. Want to schedule some time to talk? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.