The best times I have ever had at conferences have been when I just hung out with other pastors/leaders discussing “stuff.” The “stuff” could be movies, music, and the challenges of ministry and/or the valleys and how we’re getting through them. I gain perspective. I gain encouragement. It’s food for the journey. The conference speakers at times have been impactful. Yet often, they are “big names” from large churches that speak out of a persona that I just can’t relate to. They carry assumptions about church and leadership I flatly can’t buy into.

All of the above is especially true for “mission shaped” churches. We resist technique. We often seek to be small and contextual. And yet we need encouragement, and we need to feed off what God’s doing.

With these things in mind, I started doing this thing called “the Missional Learning Commons” about 4 years ago. We invited missional pastors/leaders/practitioners (as well as those seeking another way into ministry along these lines) to come together and hang out for a day. We paid no speakers. We listened to each other. We left plenty of time for “hanging out.” If you are a missional leader/pastor/ someone in ministry seeking “another way,” I invite you to join us this coming Oct 29,30 for our 4th annual Missional Learning Commons.

We’ve changed things. Rozko, Holsclaw and Sternke  showed up at our Hyde Park gathering 13 weeks ago and they took charge 🙂 which means this nonconference will get only better. They suggested we go to Oct 29,30 instead of the first week of January which is bad for weather in the Midwest. (Weather hurt our gathering last year). They moved it to Northern Seminary, a more central place for the Midwest and besides we Northern gave us the conference center for free (Besides there’s great places to meet for this kind of thing on the eats coast like ecclesia network’s gathering and Biblical Seminary).  They also changed the format quite a bit. You’ll have to check out the new format on the web page. I’m excited with the topics – Missional Leadership/ Families within Mission/ and Missional Discipleship (what we’re doing to disciple new/old believers into Christ and His Mission). One great added feature is there will be care for children this year. We hope to encourage more women leaders to come and join in (because frankly, often, for better or worse, they often cannot come because of children). Whereas this was free in the past, we’re charging 10 bucks only to contribute to the costs of making that possible.  And one more added benefit, within walking distance of Northern, THERE ARE LITERALLY 30-40 PLACES TO HANG OUT, GRAB A BEVERAGE, and AND JUST TALK WITH FELLOW ATTENDEES. I personally am committed to staying up into the wee hours hanging out, chatting and listening to what’s going on in people’s lives. To me, nothing quite feeds my soul like times like these!

These are challenging times. God’s calling into being 100’s of missional communities to be a missionary presence in their local contexts in the Midwest. So let’s gather and be together in a way that enriches our lives through what God is going in and among us. Wont’ you consider joining us if this fits you?

You can find out more about it here. You can sign up and pay the ten bucks. This will assist our planning. Thanks for considering and may God bless this time together in our lives.

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