After knowing the purpose of the conference, two further good questions to ask when trying to figure out how to customize your missions conference for the benefit of those attending can be focused on two different groups:
1) What do the missionaries that are coming want/need/enjoy?
You may have asked missionaries last year what they thought about the conference and to have input from them, but that might not be very helpful for the missionaries coming in for the upcoming conference.
If you want to design the conference to be a blessing to the missionaries then communicate with the missionaries that are coming and find out from them what they prefer.
2) What does your church family want/need/enjoy?
Missionary are blessed when they meet people who enjoy them being there. If the missions conference becomes something the church family has to do or just going through the motions, it doesn’t benefit either side.
The goal is to consider both sides + the purpose of the conference to = the maximum blessing.
Let’s continue with some specific questions and ideas to consider when planning a conference and wanting to be a blessing to missionaries:
Orientation Meeting and Schedule
- Have a orientation meeting to kick off the conference with the church staff and missionaries. Can everyone be there on time for make this happen?
- Try to give a detailed schedule so the missionaries know what is expected of them throughout the week. Are you planning the conference and be a good steward of everyone’s time?
Staying in Homes vs. Staying at a Hotel vs. Staying in a Prophet’s Chamber
- Are they comfortable staying in someones home?
- Do they have any allergies to pets?
- Could they use the privacy of the hotel?
- Is the prophet’s chamber clean, comfortable, and convenient?
- Would you stay with the person/hotel/prophet’s chamber you are asking the missionary to stay with/at?
- Can they have a choice to do one or the other?
Activities vs. No Activities
- What is the purpose of the activities?
- Do the families that have children need to homeschool?
- Will there be any free-time?
- Does the activity help build relationship with your church family?
- Does the activity help build relationship with church staff?
- Is the activity enjoyable for the missionaries? Children?
- Are the activities optional or required?
- What is unique in your part of the world to do?
- If you don’t plan anything, will the missionary be bored, stuck in a hotel room with his whole family until the conference that evening? (Not always a bad thing, since the man can usually work or make deputation calls)
- Can activities be optional? Sign up for them?
- Can you offer some kind of teaching/classes that would be beneficial to the missionaries?