As you’re probably already aware, this is the season of Vineyard regional conferences!
And whether you’ve attended regional conferences for a long time, or you are newer to the Vineyard and haven’t been to one yet, I can’t encourage you enough to get involved with your extended Vineyard family.
So think of the conference like a really cool family reunion. You know all the cousins will be there —even the weird ones—but you’ll still get a lot out of it. Plus, it’ll be a blast.
Personally, I’ve been attending regional conferences for years (since the late ‘80’s in the Midwest region), and I’ve always found that attending them gives me an extra boost of encouragement to take me through the next few months of life and ministry. When I was starting out as a church planter and local pastor, I loved the encouragement of walking in and having older pastors pull me aside to ask how I was doing. Or missing really excellent workshops because I was sitting in the hallway having the best conversations of my life, getting prayer, and receiving prophetic words from some of those guys. Or even those same pastors challenging me and pushing me to grow, like the time Steve Nicholson told me not to come back the next year unless I had hired some staff—he knew that was something I needed to do, and he cared enough to call me out on it.
And then after while, I felt like I wasn’t really getting much out of my area meetings or regional conferences anymore. I had some experience under my belt, and I felt like I had a handle on most of the topics they were covering. That’s kind of a selfish attitude, I know, but I’m being honest! So at that point I was challenged, should I continue to go, or should I stay home and get an extra couple of hours worth of sermon prep accomplished?
But the reality was that I had now become the guy who could encourage and pour into new pastors. I wasn’t looking for as much help or support anymore, but now I was in a position to give it, instead. And that has made going to conferences and area meetings tons more fun. I love getting the opportunity to give away what I know and to pour into people at my regional conferences, just like I get to do in my local church. And, believe it or not, I still have lots to receive!
So no matter where you’re at, whether you’re brand-new to the Vineyard, or whether you’ve been around for years and have all the Hawaiian shirts to prove it, conference season is the time to connect with your wider Vineyard family. And whether you are the baby cousin or the wise aunt or uncle, getting together is important. Not to mention, really fun. So don’t miss out—take the time. Go and be encouraged. Go and share some of what our Heavenly Father has so richly deposited into your life.
And make sure to say hello to the Multiply Vineyard team while you’re there—we will have a presence at many different regional conferences, and we would love to see you. And if you are a church planter and would like to spend some time around the church planting booth, helping us meet and encourage people, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll connect you with the church planting folks who will be at your conference.