Awhile ago I was asked to write down some ideas concerning missions conferences to help give a missionary’s perspective. (I have been around when missions conference were being planned at our church and helped plan them. Then on deputation we participated in several different missions conference. Each one of them were very unique.)
When I was asked to write some ideas, I realized that if I just gave what were the pros and cons in my opinion it wouldn’t be very helpful (as I wasn’t going to be in the conference since I was already on the field). I could give a perspective on what we personally liked but that could be the opposite of other missionaries. You can’t fit all missionaries into the same mold.
Also, I realized that a missionaries perspective and a church’s persecutive are totally different. The church does a conference once a year whereas the missionary participates in a conference every week or month. What the church gets excited about once a year the missionary has to weekly be excited about. This is just something that the missionary has to learn to deal with.
Therefore, when I was thinking through our experience, I tried not to just give what our favorite things were, but to give advice and list questions for churches to ask themselves and the missionaries coming to the conference.
As I put these thoughts together for this series I wanted it to be more useful than an average list of generic things you can do at a missions conference. I didn’t want to give outdated ideas and tacky themes. Nor did I want to complain about bad past experiences. There are plenty of others who write about that. I wanted to arrange these thoughts into something useful.
I would say that it would be better to customize the missions conference every year based on your church family and the missionaries that are going to be involved, rather than have the same plans year-after-year and just changing who the missionaries are that attend. Otherwise you will find that missionaries that come to the conference aren’t always going to fit the mold of what you have done. What was a blessing in times past is not always a blessing to the missionary who is coming to your next conference.