Friday, June 02, 2006

Resolving Conflict (Between Christian Conferences)

I'd like to propose the creation of a nationwide centralized conference scheduling organization whose impossible task it would be to insure that major Christian organizations not schedule their conferences too closely together. What a wonderful service such a group could provide, rescuing indecisive people like me from the agony of having to decide which of them to attend.My brainstorm concerning this group was instigated yesterday when I received a brochure about CCEF's 2006 Annual Conference in the mail. I've never been to one of these conferences because it's always scheduled within days of the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society and this year is no different. CCEF's conference will be held November 10-12 in Philadelphia. The ETS meeting will be held November 15-17 in Washington D.C. Now, at this point I'm not sure I'll be able to attend either but one thing is certain, neither time nor money will permit my attending both.

The themes of both gatherings are of great interest to me. CCEF's is about Christ-centered hope for healing broken relationships. ETS's theme is "Christians in the Public Square." Among the pluses of going to ETS are: 1) I have some very good friends whom I only see at these meetings 2) All the major Christian publishers will be there with hugely discounted books 3) This is the second year of a new study group exploring the relationship between theology, psychology, and pastoral counseling 4) It's a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and learn of developments in my areas of interest. 5) The registration is cheaper. 6) All the major Christian publish....Oh, I said that already.

Some benefits of going to the CCEF conference are: 1) I've never been before. 2) I have the utmost respect and gratitude for the ministry of the faculty. Their work continually whets my appetite for Christ and equips me to be a better minister to others. I'm sure the general sessions and electives will be challenging and edifying. 3) It's an opportunity to meet new people committed to biblical counseling. 4) Keith and Kristyn Getty will be leading worship. 5) Carl Ellis of Project Joseph will be the guest speaker. 6) Discounted books and ministry resources will be available.

So, this is my quandary. I can't make the decision based on location. Both places are great tourist attractions but most likely I won't have time for sightseeing in either case.

Would you please let me know if you're planning to attend either of these events? You just might help me decide.

Our next project, after forming the national Christian conference coordination group, will be bringing GodBlogCon to the heartland.


jc said...

Kindly let us know how this conflict is resolved. 8-)

unmuzzled said...

Wow I would love to have these opportunities. For the books alone. But alas I live in northwestern Ontario. Not much happens here in the theological, psychological, and pastoral counseling area.

Hey if you know of any websites for a layperson on these topics let us know.

Good luck.

KP said...

jc, I'll be sure to keep you informed. :-)

unmuzzled, check out the links in the sidebar if you haven't already. The Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation is an especially valuable resource for info about pastoral counseling issues.

djchuang said...

Such a quandry and conundrum.. it seems to me that CCEF is aiming for pastors and counselors, while ETS is more geared for academic types (e.g. professors). What those audience targets don't account for are those in a cross-over category or interdisciplinary approach. If you had to pick one, it comes down to, is picking one for this year, and doing the other one on alternating years.

KP said...

Thanks for the input, dj. You're right about their not being much niche marketing for those interested in interdisciplinary emphases. I think this is a problem affecting much of the church. The academic and pastoral communities have much to offer and learn from each other and I applaud those willing to leave the security and familiarity of their areas of specialization in order to pursue the kind of holistic ministry the church is in need of.

There's a place for specialization, of course, but unless we are constantly seeking to relate our specific spheres of interest/expertise to others, then we are in danger of not seeing the camel for the gnats. And if this is so at the level of leadership, then what guidance can be offered to the church at large?

jacks said...

I don't really know who you are except that you are 1) living in illinois (go illini) and 2) have some good blogging material about biblical counseling. as far as the conference goes, you got to do CCEF. I mean, when else are you going to see tripp on his home turf, preaching and philosophizing brilliantly, and hosting an art show? amazing!