Perspectives National Conference
Imagine attending an event where all the people are extremely committed to the same goal. There is no need for convincing people to get on the same page—they already are. There is no agenda to convince them of, nothing to try to sell them. And they bring with them a level of energy, excitement and enthusiasm that fuels the time spent together. That is what happened in Dallas this past June 12-14 when some 400+ Perspectives coordinators, instructors, agency representatives and coordinator team members gathered for the Perspectives National Conference.
The focus of the conference was based on the historic adage of William Carey, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” In many ways, this was fulfilled in the conference itself. Planning a national conference is not something the National Office Staff are experienced in. But attempting such an event and expecting God to bless it for His glory is exactly what took place.
The main goals of the conference were to renew the energy and vision of those involved in Perspectives through Global Reports, plenary and workshop speakers, and networking; to train and re-train coordinators; and to introduce the 4th edition revision of the text. Attendees were exposed to just how broad the Perspectives Movement is through reports from several Perspectives directors in countries around the world. Workshops included training coordinators and coordinating team members on some new procedures. In addition, a Perspectives Coordinators Workshop took place, with over 60 participants trained and certified as new coordinators! There was also a focus on what the 4th edition revision will look like, which is expected to be completed in time for Spring 2009 classes.
A sub-theme to the conference was “Celebrating the Past, and Looking to the Future”. A dynamic 30-minute DVD that shared the history of Perspectives was presented, featuring interviews and stories of those involved in the very early days of establishing Perspectives. This was followed by an introduction to Dr. Ralph Winter, which prompted a standing ovation by the crowd.
In addition to the plenary speakers, there were 19 workshops and forums held that covered a wide spectrum of topics, all geared specifically towards instructors, coordinators and coordinator team members.
William Carey himself showed up at the conference in a special dinner theatre presentation where he described his life and ministry from childhood to shoe maker to missionary. The final evening, a special concert was given by the very gifted Annie Moses Band, which was followed by David Bryant, who shared and led the group in a concert of prayer. Dr. Mark Bailey, President of the Dallas Theological Seminary, addressed the crowd on the last morning following regional breakfast meetings.
What was accomplished as a result of the conference? Well, it is impossible to measure all which took place between individuals and in their relationships with God. From the feedback and evaluations we’ve received, it appears that the coordinators, instructors and coordinating team members left with a much greater sense of how their role in Perspectives is part of something much bigger that God is doing around the world. Many sensed a greater commitment and motivation to “press on”. Others learned new ideas that they will bring back to their classes or incorporate into their teaching. A strong sense of camaraderie was evident, and regional Perspectives Networks were strengthened. Agencies also re-committed to strengthening their involvement in Perspectives. In short, the goals of the conference were met, and in many ways exceeded. For this we give praise to God!
What’s next? Conference feedback favors a National Conference every four years, with regional conferences two years after these. This will be prayerfully deliberated in the following months. In the meantime, there is much to do in the continued growth and development of Perspectives nationally and globally. We dare not rest on our laurels.
Below is a small sampling of some of the feedback we received. We are grateful to all of the workshop leaders, speakers, international guests and Regional Directors for all of their hard work in making this event possible. We send this out to you.