A Wrong Reason to Attend a Conference
So many people I know love attending conferences and usually it’s because they need a break. They want to uplug from “normal” ministry life and rest, get some ideas, connect with some other leaders, have fun but they are also seeking something they cannot truly find.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the verb “restore” as to bring back to or put back something to a former or original state (Restore, n.d.).
When you attend a conference are you as a leader brought back to a former or origninal state? (The way I would define ask, “Do you have Day 1 passion, clarity and sense of purpose and calling?”)
So in my humble opinion, if you are going to go to a conference looking for restoration, you will most likely be disapointed and heres a few reasons why I believe this to be true.
*Conferences are filled with so many activities that you don’t truly slow down and restore yourself to a healthy pace. Am I wrong? So many conferences I’ve attended in the past, I was staying up late, going from breakout to breakout. Walking through the exhibit halls and then collapsing into bed to repeat the next day. They are not designed to slow you down, they are designed to fill you up and keep you running.
*Conferences are about information, and encouragement but they don’t truly focus on the restoration of a leader. This isn’t being negative but most conferences this is not their primary focus. Yes, you’ll hear some messages that have restoring principles, Mostly what is known today as soul care. But soul care and restoration are different. From my expereince, the soul care at conferences is refreshing and enouraging but it doesn’t restore. (remember the definition)
*Conferences will give you plenty of ideas on how to do ministry but don’t truly focus on how you can personally restore your heart, soul, and mind for ministry. Whe you first entered ministry, do you remember how clear everything was? Do you remember the drive you had to fulfill you calling? So often as you go on in ministry it can drain alot of that away. There are small things that energize us and refresh us, but I have found very little true restoration.
That’s why I believe a leader that desires to stay in minstry will be intentional about several things:
*Continued Learning- You must continue to learn from those ahead, beside and behind you. You should have one person in each of these areas that you can be intentionally learning from.
*Continued Change- You will not be changing just to change but you will anticipate the need to change and you will lead your ministry to make the necessary changes before the bandwagon passes you by.
*Continued sustainable and healthy pace of life and ministry- This is the critical one. When we run ahead of God or we run at an unhealthy pace and the only time we hit a “pause” button is at conferences, we won’t last. You will burnout and to me burnout is not a badge of honor it is a critical warning sign that you are not leading the way God intended. He did NOT intend for anyone to burnout while doing ministry? Give me one example of a burned out leader in the Bible? You can’t find one unless you want to twist scripture some how. Yes, you’ll find discouraged leaders. Yes, you’ll find leaders battle spiritual opposition and fighting fear. Yes, you’ll have leaders who have huge obstacles in their way but you won’t find someone who’s totally worn out and exhausted from doing what God has called them to do.
How does virtual Conferences impact this? It makes it even worse. I’ve attended 2 online conferences and I was even more exhausted doing those than I ever was attending an in-person conference. Zoom fatigue was and is real. I didn’t take time to really rest. There is zero connection with other leaders unless your watching it with a group, and there is the reality that I’m home and I still have all the regular obligations and interuptions. So restoration? umm, no.
If you want to last in ministry, if you want a greater impact. Stop and get restored and refocused to live and lead in a healthy way.
Restoring Leaders is one of those ministries whose sole focus is to help hurting, broken and burnedout leaders get back in and stay in the ministry battle.
We desire to help leaders find the right way to restore their heart, souls and minds. We want you to find your day one visions, calling, and passion.
We are launching Restoring Leaders Project which is by holding in-person an online retreats. We believe by coming together and truly hitting PAUSE both professionally and personally, will allow the Holy Spirit to restore us. We will spend time in solitude, rest, laughter, connection and understanding what God designed us to be as his followers.
I believe if you take the time to join a group at a retreat or join us online in a care group, you will find true restoration.
Check it out, sign up to get more info about the dates and locations of the retreats. Head to our website by clicking this link: RestoringLeaders
The promise of restoration, “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17, New International Version)