Recently, the Verge Network posted an excellent article related to those who attend conferences. Having hosted and run large events like this, I was interested. And to date, it’s one of the most helpful pieces on the subject I have seen, so I want to excerpt it here and the make a few comments:
“Take time to write out your vision statement and all the things that your ministry is currently doing to accomplish that vision. What needs to be added? What needs to be enhanced? What needs clarifying? What needs to be possibly cut all together? Where do you need guidance and insight?
After you’ve answered these questions, be very specific on what you want to happen as you are at the Verge Conference. List out these goals, but don’t be vague. Don’t say, “I want to learn more about the Bible.” A better goal would be, “I want to learn how I can effectively lead our people to disciple the poor in our inner city missional communities.”
Take time to share these goals with your leadership team and ask them for input and direction as well. This creates shared leadership and also helps create accountability for your time while at Verge. All goals aren’t created equal…so rank them in order of importance. You want to make sure the most pressing questions and goals are addressed while at the Verge Conference.”
In other words, think about the conference before you actually go and don’t just turn up because you have an affinity to certain speakers, that’s simply perpetuates a celebrity mentality. Instead, what will the conference do for you? It’s fine if the point is: “I need a break and want to get away and rejuvenate so that I can tackle a certain project,” but that’s still more targeted than “I really like John Doe preacher or Sally the author”.
Having organized and run such events, we definitely planned them and selected speakers who would equip people and encourage people and challenge people, so we didn’t waste time in preparation and people shouldn’t waste time in attending. The Verge article continues:
“The worst thing you can do is overextend yourself while at the conference so that you don’t get the most out of the sessions you needed to hear and learn from most. Make a plan and adjust as you go…but most don’t even make a plan.”
There’s the maxim that if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time. The article I am quoting makes the distinction between the conference being an expense and the conference being an investment. The latter will multiply, not so the former. Expense accounts are run by addition and subtraction, but investments are meant to multiply and over time, investments become more and more valuable.
So, what’s your plan for attending the next seminar or workshop or conference? If you don’t have a plan, what’s keeping you from making one?
You can read the entire article I quoted here: full article
Paul Tripp on Preaching the Gospel to Yourself