Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why Pastors Need Pastor Conferences

Most pastors I know love going to conferences. Over the years, I have been to numerous events that have ranged from a handful of men to a few thousand church leaders. It is one of the highlights of my year. There are a number of reasons why I, and I'm guessing that many other pastors, love going to conferences each year.

1. To Continue Learning
Most pastors teach at least once, maybe several times a week. Their life revolves around preparing for the next lesson or sermon. I hope they are learning as they do those preparations. I really hope that those sermons are not an end of themselves, but they are a means to an end of learning about God (If not, read THIS). But it is good from time to time for them to sit under the teaching and preaching of God's Word.

For me personally, this is one reason I love to go to conferences. I want to be challenged. I want to hear God's Word preached. I care less about techniques or new "tricks of the trade." I want to grow closer to my Lord. It is my camp time. It is a time of refreshing. It is my time up on the mountain. I want to continue learning.

2. To Enjoy Fellowship
Many of the conferences I have attended are chosen strategically so I can spend time with close pastoral friends. I cherish any time I can spend with a handful of men from around the country that I have befriended over the years. I want them to speak into my life. And I want to invest in them. In many ways, conferences provide a boost to community relationships. There is as much encouragement happening around the dinners as there is in the teaching times. I want to fellowship with other church leaders.

3. To Step Out Of The Spotlight
It is good every now and then to get away from the day-to-day pastoral spotlight. I know that most people think pastors only work one day a week (insert joke here). But it is just not true. At least, not a good pastor. Going to a conference gives the man time to take a vacation that is not a vacation. It is time away from the pressures of their normal routine, but it is still time beneficial to their occupation. I would recommend if a guy goes to a conference during a week that they do not preach that coming Sunday (although, I will be breaking that recommendation in a few weeks). If he is not preaching, it gives him time to not have to think about the preparation of a sermon while he is being ministered to by someone else.

4. To Receive Free Books
I would be lying to you if I didn't say pastors love to receive free books. When the Shepherds Conference first starting offering free resources from different vendors, it was a frenzy. It looked like a bunch of heroin addicts looking for their next hit (not that I know anything about any of that). I am fairly sure there was some sin going on. But over the years, conferences have found better methods of passing out free books. Many of these books are new releases that help shape their thinking on different issues. It certainly is a highlight of any conference.

I am sure there are many other reasons for going to conferences. Maybe you could share a few reasons why you go. But maybe the larger question that hangs over many church leaders these days is, "Which Conference Should I Attend?" Tomorrow, I will share which conferences I plan on attending this year and why I am going to them.

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