21 Nov 2011

As a pastor, I’ve been to my fair share of conferences. Most of the time, it’s like drinking out of a fire hose! But information transfer doesn’t guarantee inner transformation. So let me offer some tips and resources to help you process your thoughts.

1. Carve out time for personal reflection

It’s easy to dive right back into the grind and busyness of life. The fact that it’s Thanksgiving weekend may or may not help. But if it all possible, find some down time to look over your notes or re listen to the audio to drive certain truths home. A few years ago, I found a list of  questions by Don Whitney that you can ask yourself after a conference:

  1. What’s the single most important truth I have learned at this conference?
  2. What’s the most important thing in my life that will bed different or I will attempt to change as a result of attending this conference?
  3. What’s the next step I should take to incorporate this change into my life?
  4. What’s the single most important resource I should acquire at or after this conference?
  5. When will I begin to read/listen to/utilize this resource?
  6. Who is one person at this conference with whom I should discuss this conference?
  7. Who is one person after this conference with whom I should discuss something from the conference?
  8. Who is the one person at this conference I most need to encourage?
  9. Who is someone who has helped to organize or serve at this conference who deserves a word of gratitude and would be encouraged to know of the impact of this conference in my life?
  10. What’s one thing I should pray about for myself and for others as a result of this conference?

2. Process what you are learning with someone else

This next step is just as crucial. It can be as simple as asking the question, “So how was the conference?”. But to get deeper, you can ask, “what session impacted you the most”? Or ask, “How do you want to approach your relationships differently in light of this conference?” In order to break the strongholds of shame, it’s important to bring our issues into the light in the context of community.

3. Dream a little

Moving forward, think of ways our community can continue to live out a faith that is not shame based, but grace based. Think of ways in which we can continue to learn, grow, and serve each other! As we end 2011 and head into a new year, let’s pray and imagine a community described in the song, “Sanctuary” by Eugene Kim.

“Make us a sanctuary, where grace would overflow
Make us a sanctuary, for lost and weary souls
Grant us true community where we’ll find
A house of safety where there’s nothing to hide
Make us a sanctuary, where we can be made whole”

 

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