Monday, January 29, 2007

Christian Pastors and Conferences.

I may step on some of your toes with this one, but that's OK, we are all adults here. I have been in and around ministry for many years. I have served as a student ministry volunteer and pastor, a young adults minister and pastor, associate pastor and an active member and inactive "pew sitter" in some churches. There has been one disturbing trend from my point of view that I can't help but point out, the fact that pastors and ministers go to more conferences and helps conventions than any other trade I know of. Here are some examples from other vocations: I have a friend who is in the military. No conferences, conventions or what ever. Just a lot of on the job training. He continually grows and learns his vocation by doing it and getting instruction from his superiors. Another person that I know very well is a successful electrical estimator and contractor and has been for many years. He goes to one conference a year. That is it. It is a special event for him and he makes the most of it. Why is it that people in Christian ministry must attend more conferences than most other vocations? My thought is this. Is it necessary to attend 5, 6 or 7 conferences a year? I know what conferences are like and what goes on there (of course I have been to many). It's typically a bunch of people who are paid to go there by their church. They are put up in a hotel, eat what they want, talk to a bunch of other guys about their ministries (usually the numbers are fudged on about everything from financials to attendance to staff members) and listen to a bunch of other paid speakers tell you what you may have already heard 20 or 30 times in your ministry life whether through a previous conference, book, disk, pod cast or what not. Why can't we be more content learning in our called environment? Is it really necessary for us to go to every conference by every rock star public speaker or pastor? I don't think so. I believe we should protect our churches, our lives and our vocation by being responsible in our learning and expenditures.



At 1/29/2007, Blogger Bob Franquiz said...


I'm with you on most conferences being a waste of time and money. The truth is though, ministry is the most spiritually and emotionally exhausting thing a person can engage in. That's why most Senior Pastors are out of ministry within 7 years. So for a Senior Pastor who gives out every weekend, to go to a couple (not 5,6, or 7) of conferences a year and learn, be challenged, refreshed, and hopefully learn something that will help him be a better leader makes sense to me. The issue is, which ones do you go to because there's a conference going on every week?

Most denominational type conferences are a waste of time. It's exactly what you described.

At 1/30/2007, Blogger Chris Goeppner said...

the truth be said, i enjoy a conference or convention every now and then, but seriously i have friends in ministry and it sems that they are always conferencing. it makes me wonder if they are in this to rub shoulders with other guys doing the same thing they are or if they are in this because of the deep irresistable call on their lives where they are called to rub shoulders with people in the community in which they were called. im with you on the denom conventions. typically waste of time. its just like anything, balance.

by the way, im thrilled for you as you will be leading a pre-conf intensive, very cool, very practical. looks like the type of conf that will actually be an incredible benefit to the those attending - not like the one mentioned in my post.

At 1/30/2007, Blogger Max Power said...

I couldn't agree more. I think you should give some serious thought to hosting a conference on this issue.

At 2/09/2007, Blogger Phillip Santillan said...

interesting read...I didn't know that there were a lot of ministers going to that many conferences. Having served in two other denominations other than CC, I didn't see much of that. Now I do "hear" of a lot of non-denom guys conference hopping, which makes me wonder. I'll admit, I'm only two years into the CC thing, but my involvement here in South Orlando has only shown that my senior pastor's focus for us attending Pastor's Conference is for that "challenging, and refreshing" aspect.

I resonate your desire for having "meaningful" conferences.

Ditto on the denominational stuff. Having been born, raised, university educated, diploma recipent, and previous liscenced minister of a major denomination, I went to plenty of their "conferences" - except they were called "councils" (i.e. district council, general council, ect...) What got really old were all the meaningless sessions where we voted on officials, watched promo videos of missionaries and para-church ministries and then there was the "unofficial dresscode" of tie and coats. I really appreciate going to a conference that ministers to the minister. Hearing teaching that is verse-by-verse from a pastor's conference is totally refreshing after having grown up going to conferences (as cool as they are) with national recording artsists, breakout sessions on technical, financial, and a lot of other stuff that ministers usually learn - as Chris said, "In our called environment".

Kudos to you, Chris, for sharing your heart on the whole "conference hopper" mentality. What I am about to say may be a little strong, but if you find yourself going to 7-8 conferences a year trying to "figure out" what to do, maybe it's because you're not supposed to be doing "it"...if you know what I mean. As the old saying goes, "Where God guides, God provides"

By the way, if you read this Bob, we were totally bummed you're momentum conference didn't go through, but we're glad up here at CCSO to see that God is still using you to help a lot of pastors through the experiences that you've had. Keep it up! By the way Chris, it was good to see ya at this year's pastor's conference. Missed ya at the youth leaders dinner thingy...there was free olive garden! God bless.

At 2/09/2007, Blogger Esther said...

Does going to a Beth Moore conference count? I just heard Beth Moore in Redmond, WA (near Seattle) last weekend. FABULOUS!!! I highly recommend seeing her. She rocks. And if you are required to go to "x" amount of conferences a year, go to one of hers. You'll at least enjoy yourself and learn something. Over on my blog I've listed her tour schedule for the year and her websites.

PS..we're adopting too

At 2/10/2007, Blogger Chris Goeppner said...

Phillip - great to know yer in the blog world! i will put you in my bloglines! im coming to orlando in march, ove to get together! i DO appreciate a GOOD conference know and again, but i truley believe it has become an american church comfort that has gotten way out of hand.

At 2/10/2007, Blogger Chris Goeppner said...

esther - beth moore is one of my personal favs. she very well may be one of the best communicators of ur time and God has used her ministry to speak into my life as well as my wife. my only concern is when people get the "greatful dead" mentality with these folks. they follow them like they are rock stars. its all about balance. thanks for your posts!

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