Every year Newfrontiers hosts a conference at the Brighton Conference Centre, UK, Together on a Mission. The conference has two streams: Christian Leadership and Mobilise. The latter is for Students and Twenties. For parts of the programme these streams are separate and for parts they meet together.
This is an international conference which gathers around 4000 people from up to 50 nations, mostly from churches who are in the Newfrontiers ‘family’. Based strongly on teaching from the Bible and with an expectation of the activity of the Holy Spirit the purpose is to impart vision, train people in their leadership skills and provide a context for people to sense any commission from God about their future ministry. The conference includes times of worship and prayer.
I chair the Management Team which makes all the arrangements for the conference. As described in my blog of July 8th our primary role is to provide a smooth running conference which allows people to meet with God without distraction.
The planning cycle for the conference runs across 12 months. Beginning with a debrief of the previous Conference a few days after that has ended, we review what has happened and what can be improved for the following year.
We have just held the first of four planning meetings – September, November, March and June. Each of these lasts only 2-3 hours since each of the key members of the Team has clear delegated authority to take decisions in their area of responsibility. Accordingly, at this meeting those areas of responsibility were confirmed.
The agenda had four items:
> Review of debrief notes
> Confirmation of Roles
> Timeline for actions
Information had been gathered from various sources:
> Feedback questionnaires from selected and representative Participants e.g. Male/Female, Leadership/Mobilise, UK/Overseas.
> Post conference correspondence from participants
> Debrief by Management Team
The recommendations were collated under areas of responsibility and discussed concerning the relevance of adopting them
The key areas of responsibility are:
> Conference Coordinator. I lead the Management Team and liaise with the leadership of Newfrontiers to ensure their goals are achieved
> Conference Administrator. Monitors progress according to the Timeline, oversees the budget, coordinates invitations and visas for overseas delegates.
> Facilities Manager. Responsible for all the venues, including negotiating contracts etc. The ‘hands on’ person during the Conference to ensure the minute by minute detail flows smoothly
> Communication Manager. All advertising, and profile/branding of the Conference in advance (DVDs etc) and in the venues (Stage design etc)
> Technical Manager. Audio and Video, Stage setup etc
> Personnel Manager. Information, Volunteers, Staff Welfare
> Bookings Manager. Booking system, confirmation letters, badges etc
> Programme and Hospitality. Invitations to speakers, supporting their practical needs for hospitality and visual aids, notes etc. Supporting Terry Virgo as the Conference host.
> Mobilise Coordinator. Ensuring full integration of the Mobilise stream into the Conference including specialist programme.
This is the key tool for planning throughout the year. Each person specifies his or her activities on a schedule. These schedules are then integrated onto a timeline and form the basis of review at each planning meeting. Much communication takes place between members throughout the year.
At this meeting we had the opportunity to review the interim accounts for the recently finished Conference. These form the basis on which a budget is produced for the next one. In due course a fee level will be set which is intended to produce a balanced budget.
All these meetings take place with a strong relational element and include prayer together. We believe that only as we are open to being guided by the Holy Spirit and have high regard for each other’s gifting and contribution will we be able to accomplish the task we face.