Can a conference change your life? Aren’t conferences just a Christian bless me club? Do Christian conferences end up becoming a big emotional hype-fest?
These are the questions I have wrestled with year after year of running conferences. For 9 years I have been helping lead Represent Conferences. We have seen God do so many amazing things in the past 9 years and never dreamed of some of the things that God would do when we first began. We have seen thousands of people attend our events since we began, with countless testimonies of people giving their lives to Jesus, getting baptized in the Holy Spirit and getting delivered to bondages from sin. Since we do a lot of training we have seen many equipped to share the gospel as a lifestyle, heal the sick, cast out demons and prophesy to pre-Christians.
With all the amazing things that happen at our conferences I still process their long term effectiveness. Conferences cost a lot of money to put on and there is a huge investment of many people’s time from the organizers, worship team, administrators, media team, volunteers, etc. I don’t like to do things just to do things. There are a lot of ways to equip and train people these days and so I could accomplish our goals apart from doing an event that takes so much to pull off. As I have analyzed why we do what we do at our conferences I started to see why we should stick with them but also some things we should each keep in check.
How a Conference Cannot Change Your Life
A conference like many things can be good, bad or indifferent. Our attitude and motives of course have a huge place of importance to determine what we get out of these events. Here’s a list of some of the things we need to keep in check in our own hearts and as we run events:
- Come to observe and not participate.
- Rely on big crowds and experiences to momentarily boost your faith but fail to live consistently in community and a lifestyle rhythm what you are learning.
- Look for entertainment from the speakers, the band and from other people’s stories.
- Become familiar with the God’s presence.
- Get attached to only specific preachers and teachers and choose not to receive from anyone else.
- Take for granted the miracles that God does because you compare things to what you deem to be more spectacular.
- Wish that other people could be present because they need this so badly in their life while not opening your own heart to what God wants to do in you.
How a Conference Can Change Your Life
I think the greatest conference, if you will, is found in Acts 1-2 on the Day of Pentecost. This was the day that Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples of Jesus and the church was born. A conference resembles the day of Pentecost because its about a gathering of people that want to meet with God for a purpose. Here’s why I do conferences and how you can get the most out of one for a life change:
- Have a purpose, intention and expectation of faith to go meet with God (Acts 1:4-8).
- Spend time in prayer leading up to a conference and during it (Acts 1:12-14).
- Have a heart of unity with one another and come with a group if possible (Acts 1:14).
- Be hungry and open for an encounter with the Holy Spirit, one encounter with Him can change everything (Acts 2:1-14).
- Don’t worry about what other people think, but be focused on receiving from God so that you can make a difference for His glory (Acts 4:5-15).
- Be built up by Biblical and Christ centered preaching (Acts 2:16-39).
- Respond in repentance and obedience to be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit and wherever God calls you to obey (Acts 2:38-39).
- Use your experience at a conference to empower your family relationships, habits, church community life and your lifestyle for continued growth and stewardship of what God speaks to you. Also, step of your comfort zone to minister to others outside the church, as you have freely received, freely give (Acts 2:39-47).
- Keep a record of what God does by sharing your story of how God changed you, used you or what He showed you by journaling, sharing on social media, telling your friends, etc.
May your conferences that you attend this year be a time of great growth, impartation and fresh encounters with the living God! I love conferences for what God can do in the short time that we gather for them, but I know they are only a part of how God wants us to grow.
Please join us this year at Represent Souls and Cities Conference, from February 16-17, 2018. Registration is free but required. If this was a helpful blog post, please share freely.