The Future of Annual Conference

by Caz Andrews

Senior Staff member Caroline Andrews reflects on the state of Annual Conference.

We had a great week at Annual Conference (AnCon); a fabulous week of Bible teaching, challenging bible studies and community. Four people came to Christ among the 553 people in attendance.

While was a stimulating conference, it was also worrying: our numbers at AnCon are declining. We feel excited about the good things God has been doing amongst us at AnCon, but must also acknowledge that we have a problem. How have we gone from the heady days of 646 attendees in 2010 and 634 in 2011 to nearly 100 less just 2 years later?AnCon v Small Group Annual Numbers

On one had, we have no idea! We don’t have a clear idea why growth came at such a rate; so the decline is equally confusing. When things are booming you can simply claim the blessings of God, but that isn’t as easy when it is declining.

One possibility for this decline in AnCon attendance is that the EU’s on-campus growth has made the students’ connection to big events like AnCon very tenuous. In the realm of faculty-based small group bible studies it can be very difficult to connect to the idea of a week away later in the year, so people miss the invite and connection to AnCon.

For others the thought of being away with 600 people where you know just a handful is too much too handle. In addition we have seen a significant increase in students taking overseas holidays, internships and working through the mid-semester break, a phenomena being experienced at university groups across Sydney. Maybe there are simply too many good Christian conferences in and around Sydney.

And the solutions? We are just beginning to work on them through difficult conversations, through analysis and surveys, and in prayer. Our desire is that through AnCon’s growth students will grow in knowledge, understanding and love, and that many might come to Christ. Please join us in praying that God would grant this desire, for his glory.


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