The response to the email I sent last week on a 2007 gathering has been varied and remarkable. I want to bring y'all up to speed on where we are at this point.
1) There's strong interest in two kinds of purposes for the gathering-- networking/peer learning in general, and some more focused presentations on the larger questions around what we want "mainline" or "denominational leadership" types to know about what missional, emerging ministry is.
2) Some of those presentation topics might include:
a) Theology and contextual missiology as the drivers of this work-- asking the right questions, not buying the right gimmicks
b) Questions about reaching a local youth culture and for creative contextual missional redeployment of existing ministry resources across multiple congregations
c) How "emerging missional" is not "that weird" in the Wesleyan context
d) Questions, praxis, and challenge of organic groups as missional strategy
e) Questions and non-anxious vision from John Wesley
f) Questions around practices, holiness, and emerging missiology and worship
g) Questions/practices around reclaiming the worship vision of Charles Wesley
h) What would it be like to be an "embracing church"
i) The stories and voices of women and "non-white males" in emerging missional life in the UMC
These are starting places for some further conversation- not a final list of "workshops." So if you have other ideas you've got some passion for presenting or raising, please let me know. I'm thinking we'll try to do a "pre-gathering gathering" with some folks want to offer these ideas to help refine, expand, and clarify how and what they might offer-- that might be next winter or spring. We'll see.
3) For the event itself, our timelines and event processes here mean we're likely looking at October 2007 at this point at the earliest.
4) As far as whom else we might invite... I think the "big names" are likely to be really difficult, both in terms of schedule and in terms of funding. But I'm pursuing those avenues, and will keep you posted.
Peace in Christ,
The Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards
Director of Worship Resources
General Board of Discipleship
P.O. Box 340003
Nashville, TN 37203-0003
877-899-2780 X 7072