By Mark A. Taylor
CHRISTIAN STANDARD blogger Jennifer Taylor gave her answer to the question in a post this summer, excerpted below:
Every time any conversation turns to the NACC, I hear three recurring comments.
The first is that other events—many of them more helpful—exist for church leaders.
The second is that the NACC is too expensive for many preachers to attend, especially those from smaller churches with less money to allocate for travel and professional development.
The third is that the National Missionary Convention is becoming a preferred alternative.
First, it’s true church leaders have more options for personal and professional growth than ever before. Whether you’re into northern Michigan church planting, family worship services for primary school students, or gospel choirs of 25-40 people, there is a niche event for you. I think this is a good thing, even if it’s symptomatic of our 500-channels culture.
Second, I don’t think the NACC should try to duplicate these niche events. There’s no way they could, for one thing, but more importantly it would be contradictory to their stated mission, which is to be “the connecting place” for a movement. The value of the NACC is its role as a place for all of us to gather, make new relationships, renew old ones, and generally remember that for all our independence, we are not alone. That in itself is a “niche” worth preserving.
Third, since many of these alternative conferences cost much more for one person than the NACC’s current family registration rate, my guess is that megachurch leaders and others who have the money are more frequently commenting on the irrelevance of the NACC, and the less resourced pastors more often complain about its cost.
I suspect the larger issue is a waning desire on the part of younger leaders to associate with “the movement” in the first place. I think these guys are missing out, and we need their participation and perspective.
As much as I enjoy the NACC, I’m all for letting something die when it’s time to die. If that time has come for the NACC, and the NMC should become “the connecting place” for our churches, then I will happily transfer my attendance to that event.
The bottom line is we need to decide if we’re serious about being “connected,” however loosely, and—if so—how we want to nurture that connection. We need some consistent way to journey forward together. Meanwhile the events vying for attendees need to step up their educational and promotional efforts to address the underlying issues.