Nary An Unpublished Thought







June 18, 2008: Last minute thoughts before heading to San Jose

The time to travel is rapidly approaching. I know many of you are going to be attending General Assembly for the first time. If you are like me, you have been somewhat overwhelmed by the volume of material that has appeared in your mailbox this last week. In addition to the reading and the prep work, it all seems a bit of a blur.

So, if this is helpful, great; if not, ignore it. Here are some thoughts for your preparation:

1. Bring a USB stick drive for the computer.

Anything you want the GA to do (amend, strike, correct, or offer) will need to be in writing. The easiest way to transfer it from your computer to the clerk's computer is by electronic transfer. If you have a stick and can walk it up, you will know that they have it. If you trust e-mail, anything is possible (lost in cyber-space, undeliverable, never got it, etc.). If you do bring a USB stick, make sure you have your name on it somewhere.

(By the way, make sure you bring a lock for your computer.)

2. When you get to San Jose, take a tour of the grounds.

One of the first things you should do is to take a trial run around the grounds.

a. Look at the map ahead of time, figure out where your committee room will be, and then do a practice run to see what it is going to be like trying to get from here to there.

b. As a commissioner or advisory delegate, you have a mailbox. Find it.

c. Take the walk to where the resources you need will be (OGA, Tracking, PC-Biz, whatever). This is an important exercise because you will not want to be trying to find things when an emergency arises.

d. There will be a map of the plenary floor in the registration materials. If the hall is open, scout out your seat. Sometimes the hall is open early, sometimes not.

Do the routes, get comfortable with the setting, and then you can play in the Exhibit Hall.

3. Make a daily checklist now.

Making checklists works for me -- I offer it as a thought for you. Each day of the Assembly looks a little different. It is important to stay focused on what you need to accomplish for that day. Having that list will help you deal with the question of deciding whether to do other things -- i.e., can you go get coffee with new friends or do you need quiet time to prepare for the next meeting?

I have found that the lists help calm me. Trying to do the whole assembly at once is mind boggling. Taking it day by day, piece by piece, helps make it a little more manageable.

4. Identify a helper or shepherd.

If your spouse is coming, that's a great choice. If you are on your own, ask someone to help you. The shepherd is someone who will pray for you, to go-fer for you, to be your eyes and ears outside of what you are concentrating on. They also are someone who can be a steward of your time and energy -- they may see you getting exhausted before you recognize it.

These things do not need to be written in stone, but it is helpful to have that framework. Otherwise, time can get away from you.

Signing Off Until San Jose

That's it for the pre-General Assembly tour and analysis. I hope that these notes have been helpful to you. May God grant safe travel mercies for everyone going to San Jose, and I would ask that everyone else would lift us up in prayer. I will be posting from San Jose -- though how much and how often is a little bit up in the air. We'll see how it goes.