I know it is a bit cliché, but as I reflect on my experience at Sentralized this year I keep thinking about those old MasterCard commercials that were so popular for a while. I’m sure you have seen the commercials I am thinking about. The commercials went something like this: a narrator would list the cost of three or four items that people paid for by using their MasterCard. This short list of three or four items was then followed by a final, more sentimental item that money could not buy. The narrator would always proclaim this last item to be “priceless.”
Like I said, I know it is cliché, but this is how I’ve been thinking about my experience at Sentralized. If I were to turn my trip to Dallas this year for the conference into a MasterCard-esque commercial it would go something like this:
- Flight - $100
- Staff Conference - $35
- Forge Party - $30
- Networking with people who are on the same missional journey – Priceless!
Each year I go to Sentralized with the goal in mind to do a better job of actually going to all the sessions and workshops. Each year I fail miserably to do so. The reason for my failure, you ask? The reason is this: there are simply too many conversations to be had with too many amazing people and too many kingdom opportunities to explore. This year alone I had so many amazing conversation about so many potential opportunities to partner with others in kingdom work. Here are all the networking opportunities I can remember:
- I had coffee with a editor from a Christian publisher to discuss book ideas that would help others learn the gospel foundations of missional living.
- I met with three different people on three separate occasions to discuss Forge’s academic partnerships.
- I brainstormed with a hub leader about how we could work together to run the hub’s first intensive.
- I spent an hour sharing stories with a couple I had never met before, resulting in an ongoing relationship of seeking new missional adventures together.
- I had dinner with a Forge resident and spent time discussing the challenges of his context with him.
I’m sure I could think of more if I tried, but what I have listed is enough to make the point I wish to communicate in this post: the value of Sentralized is not limited just to the gifted speakers and workshop leaders, but also includes the chance to network with so many other people who share a common, missional journey. Likewise, the value of Forge is not just the training we can distribute to people, but the relationships and partnerships we can offer and facilitate.
About the Author
Scott Nelson studies the missional church movement for a “living,” which allows him to help generate resources for Forge hubs and create partnerships between Forge and Christian academic institutions while he also feeds his three addictions: sour skittles, disc golf, and board games.