2019 Conference

‘Losing Control – Enabling Withness’

NEW: Draft timetable now available here.

Three hands weaving a rope
Working with the gifts of others

MODEM’s 2019 Conference, in partnership with the Susanna Wesley Foundation, will be held at Sarum College from lunchtime on Thursday, 21st – lunch on Friday 22nd November. This year’s conference builds on the ideas generated at last year’s conference, and is entitled ‘Losing Control – Enabling Withness’. We will be exploring ideas that Sam Wells has been developing in ‘A Nazareth Manifesto: Being with God’ (2015), ‘Incarnational Ministry: Being with the Church’ (2017) and ‘Incarnational Mission: Being with the World’ (2018), and how these can relate to ideas from organisation studies about emergence and non-imperialistic forms of organising and non-control. We shall be relating these ideas to experience and wisdom from local churches. A Nazareth Manifesto has been described as ‘nothing less than a call to rethink Christian witness and mission, based on a profound re-telling of our relationship with each other and God’. This conference is an opportunity to think together about how church organization might better facilitate such a retelling. The ideas follow on naturally from our consideration of witness in the 2017 conference and asset based community organization in the 2018 conference.

See Sam speaking about ‘Being With’ here:


Samuel Wells is vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, and author of more than 30 acclaimed books. He is also Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics at King’s College, London and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.

Paul Hibbert is Professor of Management at the University of St. Andrew’s, and Vice Principal for Education. His research is principally concerned with collaborative and relational processes of organising and learning. He also has a strong interest in collaborative and relational approaches to the conduct of research, and in particular the role of reflexivity in such processes. He has published numerous papers and book chapters in this area.

Nic Beech is the Vice Principal and Provost of the University of Dundee and President of the British Academy of Management. He was previously Vice Principal at the University of St Andrews and Lead Fellow of the ESRC Advanced Institute of Management. His research is in identity and the leadership of change in complex settings, particularly health and creative industries, and he is a board member of NHS Tayside and the V&A Dundee. He has held visiting chairs in the UK, the Netherlands and Australia and was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Academy of Management of Australia and New Zealand.

Call for contributions. We would like to include some case studies from participants to help us all to think through how ‘being with’ meets church organization. Do you have a case study from your own experience that you would be happy to think through and offer within the conference? If so, please let us know. We do not need those offering case studies to feel that they have arrived at definitive conclusions about the situations they are talking about; MODEM participants are usually extremely helpful in developing one anothers’ thinking and in developing thoughts together.

Dissemination. We are very excited about the potential of this conference to offer something new and important to the church. We hope that the papers, case studies and the discussion will give us material for a publication, so that the work can be offered more widely.


The residential fee includes en-suite accommodation, Thursday lunch and dinner, and Friday breakfast and lunch. The non-residential fee includes lunch on both days and dinner on Thursday.

Fees: Residential £138; non-residential £85.

Discounted rates: Residential £124; non-residential £76.

The discounted rates are available for MODEM members, students (including Sarum College postgraduate students), and ministers -in-training.

Please note that residential spaces are limited, so make sure to book early. All bookings via Sarum College.