I've been meaning to share some updates, but I've been very, very busy--- too busy to post on my blog.
Weekend before last (November 10 & 11), we had a sort of mini-conference at the meeting hall. It was really the outgrowth of some conversations some of us had been having about perhaps having some sort of classes on foundational doctrine. The target audience was middle school children and older, but we didn't want to exclude anyone.
Well, with one thing and another, we ended up with a little more complicated deal than I (for one) had envisioned. But there were a lot of people who jumped in and made things work. If it weren't for Ames (and several others), it would have been a disaster. But it actually worked out rather well.
One thing I hadn't planned on was taking some of the sessions. We'd hoped to get others in to give the talks, but we couldn't get anyone on such short notice, and we ended up a giving the talks ourselves. It wasn't what I had in mind, but it seems to have worked.
I gave two talks, one on the Gospel, another on the Church. We also planned a couple Q&A sessions where the kids could ask questions, make comments, etc. on the talks we'd had. I ended up being more involved in that than I'd planned.
My buddy gave a talk on Christ as King, Priest, and Bridegroom. He gave another talk on an overview of dispensationalism. I enjoyed both of them. Another brother gave two talks, one was a sort of lexicon on doctrinal terms (What is the difference between "sin" and "sins"? What is "redemption"?) and the other was an overview of Romans. They, too, were excellent.
We learned some lessons for next time. I suppose the main take-away lesson is that there ought to be a next time. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and everyone seems to think it was worth the weekend. But there were some challenges, and lessons for next time. We ordered lunch from Subway Catering, and it was great. We also ordered pizza from a delivery place a mile or so from the meeting hall, and they got our order wrong. Oops. We also realized we tend to be last-minute people, and most people require more advanced notice than we gave. So here are some logistical considerations we need to take next time:
- We need to start praying about the next one now.
- We need to plan further in advance: a month isn't long enough. Next time we'll try three.
- People will show up to help, even if we don't ask and don't expect them to. Next time we need a list of things for helpers to do: they'll be there.
- We need to publicize our plans better, and included more schedule details. We did send them 'round, but people still asked what the plans were. Next time we'll inundate people with email notices, on Facebook, etc.
- People don't RSVP. We just need to accept that.
- Catering is absolutely worth the cost. Subway Catering in particular is good food, reasonably priced. It's a life-saver.
- Next time we'll choose a closer pizza place, and call an hour in advance to confirm the order before pickup. We called both Subway and the pizza place 24 hours in advance, but Subway called back to confirm order details, the pizza place didn't.
- People were confused about who was invited: we'd mentioned the idea that we were targeting middle schoolers and up, and people thought we only wanted kids there. Next time we'll not say anything about a target audience.
So it wasn't perfect, but it went well. Everyone I've talked with was pleased with the results, and we're looking to have another go in the Spring. All in all, I'm very pleased.