You can't Drink from the Fire Hose!
I can remember my very first big church conference. The year was 2000. The name of the gathering was the Pastor and Leadership Conference, held at the Potter's House in Dallas TX. and led by the infamous Bishop T.D. Jakes. My church was around one hundred twenty people at the time, so walking into a twenty-five thousand member church fried my brain. The preaching was amazing (and still is. Bishop can preach!) and the worship off the chain. I went back each year for the next three years and always returned home full of new ideas.
Over time, I attended Catalyst, Exponential, Verge, and other conferences around the country. Later, I spoke at a few. It's been a great ride. While each conference had it's own genre and flavor, there was a common phrase that I heard at each one. You've probably heard it too. Usually the guy MC'ing the conference would open with it. It sounded something like this, "How many of you are ready to drink from a fire hose this week?" It was normally followed with shouts and cheers from pastors and church planters. Over the next few days, mainline speakers would unload a ton of information and content as pastors and planters typed away, causing MacBooks to overheat and minds to frazzle.
While I enjoyed the conferences (and still do), there is one thing I have learned. No one can drink out of a fire hose very well. The water comes fast and hard and you get really wet...but little gets swallowed. Perhaps this is why the majority of conference junkies return to their church with one hundred and one new ideas, with little or no implementation. I know, because I used to be the conference junkie.
Now don't misunderstand me. I am not against the big conference. I both attend and speak at them each year. I believe big conferences are great for meeting new people, learning about the latest church movement and hearing phenomenal speakers. Big conferences help guys learn how to dream. They did me. However, I also believe that in order to grow and move forward, you have to stop solely drinking from the fire hose and learn to sip from the saucer.
My encouragement to you is simply this. Go to the conference and get soaked. But come home and find a good coach to help you process, translate and...sip the principles and strategies that will help you and your church grow. There are fantastic coaching opportunities all around the country. Many of these are affordable and virtual, so no need to drop a lot of money on airfare. Find you a good gospel-centered coach today!
Be sure to check out opportunities at The Unstuck Group