How's your outlook this year for attending conferences? If you're like some church leaders I've talked to, you're trimming budgets - and conferences aren't making the cut. I can't speak for you, and I don't know your exact world, but for me, attending conferences are at the top "stuff to easily cut" list.
This week I'm attending and speaking at the Church Solutions Conference. It's my first year at the conference and from what I'm hearing, attendance is down a bit from last year, but the quality of the presenters is up (I don't speak until tomorrow morning, so the jury is still out on me).
While I'm thrilled to speak (and it's at my own expense, traveling, time away from office, etc.) I'm more excited about learning - so it's worth it to me on several fronts. And from my conversations with others, it's worth it for them too.
Working under the assumption that these are tough times financially, and that this puts added pressure on the church staff...then let me suggest why conferences should stay in your budget, because it's at times like these we need to be on our game to make the most impact:
- my mind is being stretched - I'm learning new ways to approach ministry
- my soul is being refreshed - I've shaken up my routine, I'm spending some time alone with God and some time together with friends, outside the distraction of my regular surroundings
- my work is going to be better - I have been log-jammed on a couple things lately, and this time here has provided fresh inspiration and fresh ideas
- my team will see a difference - I'm returning recharged and ready to lead
I don't know what your list would look like, but I'd love to hear from you. Why do you place a priority on conferences? Or not? Would love to hear.
PS: I'm taking part in the upcoming CKN conferences, you can find the links on the right. The Indy conference is March 3.