Sitting at home after nearly a week away at the Together for the Gospel conference, I can't help but reflect on how full my soul is. And how tired my body is (remind me not to book a 5:30am flight, ever). So I'm thankful for coffee and its ability to help barrel through.
For many of us in ministry, conferences function as a way of continuing education and training. Even though we spend 3-4 years in intensive study in seminary, we realize that our learning is never finished. Just like doctors have to attend continuing education to maintain their credentials, we who care for souls must never forget to continue to grow.
We should consider attending conferences for a few reasons:
1. We need to be challenged - Many times when we go to a conference we're wanting to be stretched or pushed in our growth. We want to learn about a ministry or program. We want to hear from a speaker we listen to on podcast. Or we need to deal with something in our life and ministry that's hindering us.
2. We need to be refreshed - One of the perks of a conference is that they're usually held in a nice area. I've yet to see a pastor's conference advertised for Nome Alaska (although I'm sure the people of Nome are quite wonderful). They're in Orlando, Dallas, Louisville, Nashville, San Diego, etc. You can go to a new city, eat in different restaurants, sleep in a hotel bed, and connect with old and new friends over coffee. It's good for our souls.
3. We need to be read - My favorite part of T4G is the book giveaway. Free books is like Christmas morning for the YRR crowd (thanks Colin Hansen for investing in us!). And whether you get a suitcase full of books or a stack of papers presented or a keynote lecture, we need to be read. Leaders are readers. When we read, we're dealing with ideas, challenging our thinking, growing in our knowledge, and shaping our action.
4. We need to bring our best back home - Your church needs you to get away periodically for a conference. They need you to be at your best, to be hungry for growth, to be physically and spiritually renewed. They need you to bring back ideas and practices and paradigms, not so you can replicate whoever was speaking on stage, but so that your church can be more faithful.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.