April 28, 2010

Our Life Together 2010: Called & Calling

I had the chance to attend the first of the two day Our Life Together clergy gathering for pastors in the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. This is the second year I've had the opportunity to attend so my experience and opinion is limited but I wanted to share two things I noticed:

1) I found myself worshiping more than I did last year throughout the morning session with a great dialogue message from two fellow Indiana clergy. I did not have the chance to see Andrew Peterson in concert but I did get the chance to hear Lisa McClendon do her thing, which sort of reminded me of Lauryn Hill. I also had the chance to hear Tyrone Gordon speak for the first time and found myself energized by his words. Special thanks to @PastorChrisR, Lisa Schubert and the rest of the planning team for a thoughtful retreat.

2) The other thing that was hard to miss, at least to me, was the number of clergy in attendance. I believe I heard registration for the clergy retreat last year was around 600 participants. I don't know what the registration numbers were for this year but it was much less. What I find to be telling is that of the 1000+ clergy (an educated guess on my part) in our conference, less than 40% decided to come. What does this say about our "connectional" system? Clergy schedules? Clergy health? Maybe it says nothing, or maybe....


Jason Morris said...

there are probably several factors impacting the clergy attendance...

1. previous experience with the event- if some attended and found it lacking in impact, they may decide not to attend future events

2. too busy...which does indicate a problem with clergy schedules (many of whom work way too much...probably to make themselves feel/look important/needed)

3. some of our clergy are part-time and can't get away from their "day jobs" to attend.

4. for some clergy, the last thing they want to do is spend two days with other clergy.

5. or they are like me and had some crazy weeks prior to the event and took the time to be out of the office and spend it with family.

in the past, i've enjoyed attending the event simply to connect with friends, fellow clergy, and make new connections. but, this year, i took the time to be with my girls instead.

Matt Lipan said...

Jason Morris: thanks for the read and comment. sorry it took me so long to respond.

1. understandable.

2. agreed. finding and maintaining balance in clergy schedules is crucial and extremely difficult.

3. agreed. i tried to factor that into my conservative guess of 1000 clergy.

4. ha! point well taken.

5. also understood and the wiser choice.

thanks again for being willing to share your thoughts.