“When we were planting our church, we did 1000 things wrong. I don’t have time to tell you about those, so I’m going to tell you what did work!”
“Reaching this people group has been a blessing, but very difficult. We made many mistakes, but you are here to hear what works.”
No one schedules a conference called “The Things that did not Work.”
No one would want to come to that. No one would flock to hear a bunch of people talk about the shortfalls. We would not pay for that. Plus, we are not secure enough in our identity in Christ to talk about our “failures.” That means being vulnerable, transparent.
We want to know what works.
Now, the reality is that many times by the time we get to the “conference of stuff that works”–and definitely by the time we read the book–society has moved on. What was once on the edge with that team is now five years removed from where society is.
(not to mention the contextual factors that were unique to them then and different from the rest of us now)
How about a gathering where little time passes between the execution of a strategy, its learned limitations, and when the strategist tell us of the limitations? Now, that is a valuable gathering.
After hearing three or four people in the room share how in different ministry contexts each spent $25,000, only to not see much in terms of results, you’ll begin to reconsider if you should spend your $25,000 on a similar project next month.
A gathering where a diversity of people from different contexts, addressing a common issue, by talking about what is not working. . . now that’s a gathering I would be interested in. Knowing what is not working so well is a Kingdom stewardship matter.
Knowing what is working is not sufficient enough. Important? Yes! But, not sufficient. Zeal without knowledge is not wise; he who makes haste with his feet misses the way (Prov 19:2).
But don’t expect such a conference soon.