I would be the first to admit that there is a plethora of conferences, seminars, forums, consultations, summits, table talks, and group sessions that are advertised in such a way that, for reasons unbeknownst to us, a gap will form in our educational mindset if we bypass the opportunity. Open any Christian magazine and you will be confronted by even more options, making it difficult to choose the right conference to fulfill your personal needs and desires for continuing education. While researching “what’s out there,” my desk has been covered with conference advertisements from all areas of ministry being held in different countries in settings ranging from rustic cabins to luxurious golf and spa resorts. To coin a phrase from the past, one might say that conferences are a “dime a dozen,” and it’s almost impossible to comprehend the value of each conference. Perhaps I can offer insight to help you understand why conferencing at Asbury is a valuable experience. I invite you to step into my world, just for a few minutes, so I can reveal to you some of what goes on “behind the scenes” in hope that we ultimately enrich your ministry with the final product. It is important to state here that I love what I do because I love serving God’s servants. I believe it is what God has called me to do here at Asbury Seminary and I put my heart and soul into it every day. I share what follows not for the purpose of accolades; rather, for the purpose of awareness of value entrusted to me by God.
Welcome to my world. It is essential that I stay at least twelve months ahead of advertised events. In other words, as of this writing, I have on my planning calendar the workings of the fall 2012 through spring 2013 events, with a list of potential speakers, some already confirmed. For the fall 2011 through spring 2012 calendar, there are currently seven active Lifelong Learning event files on my desk. For each event, the Beeson Team accomplishes a project management task list that encompasses no less than one hundred details to move an event out of the planning stage into completion. Each event normally involves the assistance of at least six departments with a workforce of 45-50 people. It is an enormous process but we do it in ministry through God’s strength and for His glory for the enrichment of His people—you.
At the end of each conference we ask the participants to complete an evaluation form. Ever wonder if anyone actually reads them? We do. Because of what you have written on the evaluations, conferences change. Different types of speakers. Different food. Longer breaks. A book table added. Group sessions held in closer proximity to the plenary venue. Why do we work hard to make things better for you? Because we care about your ministry. Your ministry holds great value and we want to help you be the best you can be.
The Beeson International Center for Lifelong Learning is reaching out to you. Yes, we are one of the plethora of conferences advertised. Yes, we are competitive in our pricing and our lineup of speakers. But we have an advantage over all of our competitors: we know our alum. We know what you want because we ask you. You are valuable to us because your Asbury education helped to shape your ministry, and it is our goal to continue that process.
The value of conferencing at Asbury is that we earnestly and tirelessly invest in you. Our hope for all who attend conferences held through the Beeson International Center for Lifelong Learning is that you walk away with practical learning that will advance your ministry; that your soul will be refreshed; and, that your response to God’s call into ministry will be renewed.
The Beeson International Center for Lifelong Learning is here to serve. Come and see what we have prepared—for you.