I'm looking forward to attending the Catalyst Conference next week in Atlanta. Susan is going with me, as well as Matt Boisvert (who attended Catalyst with me last year). I'm a fan of conferences... so is Mark Batterson. Here are some thoughts Mark shared in a recent post that resonated with me.
I like conferences. Here are a few "reasons why" and a few "how to" thoughts.
#1) I never want to become a closed system.
Over time, we develop what psychologists call inattentional blindness. In other words, we stop noticing things in our environment. Going to conferences is one way to overcome this. It gives you fresh eyes. I always come back from conferences seeing what we do at SoHills in different ways. Conferences keep me from becoming a closed system.
#2) Allot 5% of your church budget to leadership development.
The 5% can certainly include a resource budget for staff members. And it should include some staff retreats or team building experiences. But I think conferences are a big part of this budget. I'm just a big believer in reconnaissance. I'm always looking for new ideas. And one of the best ways to get new ideas is to go to conferences. Think of it as R & D (research & development).
#3) Conferences are a great way to make relational connections.
I used to go to conferences for informational reasons. Now I go for relational reasons. The greatest added value are the relationships you make. Conferences = Kingdom networking.
#4) Conferences get me out of my routine.
I have a little formula: change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. Going to conferences gets me out of my normal routine and helps me think about old problems in new ways.
#5) Conferences force me to look in the mirror and evaluate myself.
#6) Conferences help me dream bigger dreams.
One of the reason I love going to conferences is to listen to speakers who inspire me to dream bigger dreams. I know conferences can be overwhelming. Information overload. And that's why I always try to identify three applications ideas. But if you can process the information and inspiration, conferences have a unique way of fueling dreams!
#7) Take someone with you!
I've had so many defining moments and defining thoughts at conferences, but they were tough to translate to our team. You need to take your team with you. Nothing like a shared experience!