ISM SC 18 Email Communication

Dec 18, 2017

Good Afternoon, ISM Staff Conference participants!

We’re only two weeks away from the conference, can you believe it? (I can’t.) Make sure you read through this email for information on how to get to the hotel, what to bring, and what will be happening. Then get excited!

Are you arriving by the early afternoon? Let me know if you want to assist in setup for the main sessions!

Getting to Tempe Mission Palms


The address is 60 E 5th Street Tempe, AZ 85281. Remember that valet and self-parking are free for overnight guests.

From the airport:

There is a shuttle that will run from the Sky Harbor airport to the hotel between 5:30 AM and 10:30 PM. When you arrive, pick up any baggage you have. Then:

  • Call the Tempe Mission Palms Operator at 480-894-1400
  • Tell them what terminal you are in
  • They will give you directions to the shuttle stop; the shuttle will arrive in a few minutes
  • The vans are white with the Tempe Mission Palms logo on them

The shuttles are not allowed to wait outside the airport, so make sure you call in order to be picked up!

Arriving at the Hotel

When you arrive, first check in to your room at the lobby main desk. Reception staff will ask you for a credit card for incidental charges, and you may see a charge appear on your card. As long as you don’t order room service, decide to pay for extras, etc, that charge will be removed when you check out. Any extra amenities you add to your stay are your responsibility. (Extra charges for single rooms or additional days will be worked out internally, you do not need to pay the hotel for them.)

You can then come to the ISM check in table (also in the lobby) for your handbook, nametag, and gift. The check-in table will be up from 3-7 PM. Those arriving at the hotel beforehand can check into their hotel room and come back later for the conference info. Those arriving after 7 PM will be able to check in from 8-9:30 PM in the Abbey or 8-9 AM on Jan 3rd in the Abbey.

What to Bring

It’s warmer in Tempe in January than in most places, but still don’t expect summer weather! Anticipate highs in the upper 60s/low 70s, and lows in the 40s. Check the weather before you pack. A pool and exercise room are available at the hotel. Other items you may want to bring include a Bible, journal, something to write with, and board games or sports equipment for free time.

The First Night

Also make sure you bring a short story to share about something that happened this semester! We will be meeting at 7:30 PM in the Abbey (our main meeting space) for a brief welcome on Jan 2. During this time you will meet your small group for the week and we will do a quick (and hopefully encouraging) activity involving a story about how you’ve seen God at work this semester. We will then mingle and party at the poolside for the rest of the evening.

A Brief Schedule Rundown

You can stay up as late as you like during the reception, but we’ll be starting our first group worship and scripture exposition time at 9 AM the next day! The first day will be rather full as we explore as a large group how cultural views affect our ministry. We also will have one slot for seminars: take a look before you get there if you want to narrow down your options! The other days will also start with worship and scripture exposition, but the rest of the days will be spent around our table talk subjects. With a concert of prayer, afternoons to relax, and a great community, we hope the week is full of great things for you!

Dec 8, 2017

Happy Friday, all!

As an early Christmas present for you, we’re unwrapping our Table Talks! We’d like you to choose and confirm the Table Talk that you will be participating in at the ISM Staff Conference. (You got a brief taste of what each was and indicated preferences when you registered, but now you can see each one with a little more description.) These table talks should ideally be a collaborative, sharing, and low-pressure experience as we together develop solutions to common ministry problems. Please read them carefully and consider what you most would like to participate in, then reply to me by Dec 15 with your #1 choice. This will help us with material and room planning. Then you can think about it or forget about it as much as you’d like, and we’ll tell you where you’re heading when you check in at the conference!

Foundations for ISM

(You may have already received an email about this, even if you have please still reply to me.)

New ISM staff, potential ISM staff, new-er ISM staff, any staff with international students, and volunteers are encouraged to participate in our ISM staff training newly offered this year! This track will help you to understand the character, skills and practices necessary for fruitful ministry among international students. You’ll increase your vision for international students as world changers and share practical ideas for developing them at every stage: pre-arrival to post-departure. You’ll practice a method for learning other cultures from the inside, and you’ll be equipped to participate fully and fruitfully in any team context.

Leadership: Moving Students Along to "little bro/sis” and “big sis/bro”

We continue to find the identification and affirmation of international student leaders a challenge, which in turn is critical to our larger goals of seeing internationals become agents of change in their home countries or elsewhere. This table talk will focus on where the issues lie and what best practices are that will help students better understand and affirm the gift of leadership God has given them.

Reentry: Preparing Students for Post-Academic Transitions

Preparing our students for post-academic transitions often is an afterthought in highly evangelistic and fast-paced chapters. What are key issues and best practices to prepare students for post-academic and crosscultural transition? How do we move away from “I do this in the last 3 months” to an integrated development of disciples and leadership? How can we disciple students for spiritual and work integration?

Training Student and Community Volunteers

Volunteers enhance our ministry in many ways, but they can also present challenges if out of touch with the needs of internationals and/or Intervarsity’s vision. How can we train American community and student volunteers in student empowerment, partnership, crosscultural sensitivity, and vision for creating world changers? How can we develop better lenses for ministry collaboration?

Discipleship: Responding to Crosscultural Dynamics

Jesus invites us to respond to him and his announcement of the Kingdom of God by becoming his disciples. And yet, our responses and definitions change from culture to culture. Discuss ways of developing students in a multicultural environment. What does it mean to live as a disciple? What are our preferred methods for helping ourselves and others grow in walking with Jesus?

Evangelism: Inviting Students from Curiosity to Openness

Recent AFR’s show most internationals do not cross from threshold #2 (curiosity) to #3 (openness). When open, students are willing to take a risk to see if Jesus is real. The students and the staff inviting them along the thresholds each live with unique worldviews and cultural practices. How do we develop cultural awareness as we proclaim the Gospel and empower students to cross the threshold?

Stay tuned to your inbox in the next week or so for information on what to bring, how to get to the hotel from the airport, and general schedule things.

Nov 20, 2017

Hi all!

We’re very excited about you joining us Jan 2-6 in Phoenix for the ISM Staff Conference! Here are some logistics you need to know before you get there. It’s a long email, but you’ll need to read it all!

First, a requested reply: if you were to get yourself a hypothetical zip up jacket/fleece/sweatshirt, what size would you get?

Cultural Assumptions Game

During the first day of the conference, we will explore cultural dynamics especially as they relate to you and the students you work with. Please fill out this survey by Dec 15! It should take approximately 15 minutes—and there are no right or wrong answers (the best kind of survey). If you work with students from many different cultural backgrounds, answer questions with the largest group in mind.

Getting Flights

Make reservations to fly into the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport by 7 PM on Jan 2 and to depart any time on Jan 6. Expense flights through Workday to the ISM Staff Conference Cost Center to be reimbursed. Expenses submitted through Dec 5 will be reimbursed the full amount. Expenses submitted after Dec 5 will be reimbursed up to $400. Expenses must be submitted within 60 days of purchase to be reimbursed. We appreciate your efforts to keep costs low and find economical flights! Conference registration fees cover reimbursement of flights; they do not cover travel to and from the airport, parking at the airport, or meals while traveling. Those costs may be submitted for reimbursement through personal accounts.


Valet parking or self-service parking are available at the hotel and are free for any guests staying overnight at the hotel. If you are driving in for the day, parking will be $12/day. Submit mileage for reimbursement after the conference to the ISM Staff Conference coast center.

Expenses and Fees

Registration costs will be transferred out of the accounts of all staff and official volunteers. If you do not have an account with InterVarsity, you will need to bring a check to pay the rest of your registration and will pay at check-in at the conference.

During the conference we will be eating some meals out. Your registration fee covers reimbursement up to $90 total ($15/lunch, $20/dinner) for the conference.

If you have a PCard

You should use your PCard for travel and conference meal costs and submit them for reimbursement through the ISM Staff Conference cost center.

If you do not have a PCard but do have an InterVarsity account

You should pay for travel and conference meal costs on your own, then submit an expense report for them to the ISM Staff Conference cost center.

If you do not have an InterVarsity account

Reply right now to Sharon for information on flights and food expenses.

Questions? Let me know!

Nov 3, 2017

Good afternoon!

We’re excited to have you join us at the ISM Staff Conference Jan 2-6, 2018. Now that you have registered, we want to be sure you’re able to get to Phoenix! Some of you have already arranged your travel, but for those of you still waiting, please take a look below. Flights are increasing, so the sooner you can get them arranged the better it will be!

If you are driving:

There is valet or self-parking at the hotel. For those staying at the hotel, parking is included in your registration. Submit mileage for reimbursement to the ISM Staff Conference cost center. If you are driving in for the day, parking is $12/day.

If you are flying:

Make reservations to arrive at the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport by 7 PM on Jan 2 and to depart any time on Jan 6. The registration fee does not cover travel to and from the airport, airport parking, or meals while traveling. Flight costs can be expensed through Workday to the ISM Staff Conference cost center. Any expenses submitted after the 60 day deadline will not be reimbursed.

Tempe Mission Palms provides a shuttle that runs every half hour between the airport and hotel between 5:30 AM and 10:30 PM.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there!


Feb 27, 2017: Payment Options #2

Hi ISM staff, staff partners of ISM, and their supervisors,

I wrote in November about our National ISM Staff Conference in January 2018 in beautifulTempe Arizona from Jan 2-6, 2018. Today I am writing to invite you to attend and to your supervisor to include $980 on your staff budget for 2017-18, or, to defray this substantial cost with a $50 discount by transferring $465 this fiscal year (2016-17) and another $465 next fiscal year (2017-18), recognizing that the $465 wasn’t budgeted this year. We recognize that this is a significant investment but believe it to be crucial to equipping staff for their mission.

This triennial conference is critical to the community of IV staff working with internationals either primarily (ISM staff) or secondarily (staff partners of ISM). We will have exposition, training seminars and think tanks, community time, and lots of celebration and story telling. This time we are very keen also on inviting staff who aren’t “ISM staff” in some official sense, but those who are working with internationals in integrated, American and international, chapters. They are key to the future of international ministry.

I appreciate your partnership in this; please let me know if you have questions. We will work with staff who want to come but would need some subsidy to be able to do so. Please contact me if this is the case for you or a staff you supervise.

Nov 28, 2016: Payment option

Hi ISM staff, friends of ISM, and supervisors,

I am writing to staff and their supervisors about our National ISM Staff Conference in January 2018.  This conference happens once every three years, and occurs when there is no Urbana and no national staff conference.  This time it will be in Tempe, Arizona, at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel and Conference Center from Jan 2-6, 2018.  We meet to equip staff with vision, energy, learning, and lots of relational time to enjoy.  This time we are very keen also on inviting staff who aren’t “ISM staff” in some official sense, but those who are working with internationals in integrated, American and international, chapters.  

I am writing now because I’d both like to put it on your screen early, and to make an offer on how to charge staff accounts.  The total cost will be around $980 for the five day, 4 night event.  We are proposing a $50 early bird discount if you and your staff member will give us permission to transfer $465 this fiscal year, and another $465 next fiscal year.  That lessens the one year hit that the full fare would be.  We negotiated the cost down from the original $1200+, and recognize that flying people from all over the country to Arizona isn’t cheap.  But we fully believe that the conference is vital to our mission, and hope that 100+ staff will be able to attend.

At your next supervisory meeting, could you talk about whether you would like to do this, and let us know?  I am hoping to get a good sense of this by the middle of February 2017.    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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