It’s hard to believe a year has passed since I attended the Center for Global Mission’s Emerging Leaders Conference of 2012. Though I am unable to attend this year’s conference, the concept of leadership continues to hold a place at the forefront of my mind. In fact, thoughts on leadership, as well as the constitution of great leaders, have been ever more present on my mind since having attended last year’s conference.
To be sure, there is a lot of talk nowadays on leadership, and rightly so. There is a great need for it in numerous areas of life. Moreover, intellectually wrestling with the nuance of church leadership is a doubly daunting task, one that inevitably provokes a multiplicity of opinions and often opposing perspectives amongst Christian believers. How does the man or woman of God navigate his or her way through this forest of ideas in order to discover the truth? Once one has a grasp on this invaluable tool, how does one utilize it? In what ways and for how long? These are just a few of the questions that have sparked many a pensive moment throughout the past year, questions that were birthed and discussed at the 2012 Emerging Leaders Conference. No, not all of the questions raised at the conference were given complete answers, though that was never the point. Something as crucial and as powerful a tool as leadership deserves more than a week’s time of contemplation.
If you are wondering what to expect at this year’s Emerging Leaders Conference, expect to be presented with some tough questions asked by both speakers and attendees alike. Expect to be challenged in your thinking by others with whom you converse. Anticipate wrestling with some of these questions for months to come, Bible in hand, before you arrive at a satisfactory answer. Expect as well to glean some keen insights from both speakers and attendees who have journeyed a little further than you have in their thoughts on this topic.
As someone who has been labeled a “thinker” by both friends and family, it is difficult for me to communicate all of the ongoing benefits I have received from having attended the conference. If nothing else, the buffet of ideas I encountered was enough to get my brain salivating. You will not be able to “eat and digest” everything, so bring some notebook paper or a laptop in order to collect the leftovers for later consumption. Trust me, at times you will find it hard to record all of the insights you gain, especially when they are coming out in a steady stream from the mouth of one of the speakers, and they will.
In short, come prepared to listen, ask questions, learn, and think deeply about the information given at the 2013 Emerging Leaders Conference, and come prepared to do it alongside other Christian brothers and sisters who are doing the same.