5 Take-Aways From Exponential 2014

Christian conferences are an interesting thing for so many reasons that I won’t comment here on this blog today. I typically do not really enjoy conferences because of the information overload, the artificial hype, and the short-lived emotion that leaves you saying 4 days post-conference, “What the heck did I really learn?”. Truth is, if you aren’t a stenographer, about 95% of what you hear at a conference will be forgotten and therefore not applied. My wife and I had a great opportunity to attend Exponential East 2014 this year in Orlando, Fl. Honestly, had it not been free for us, we wouldn’t have attended. Conferences are expensive, so I have to pick and choose which ones I do and do not attend. I typically only attend one (or at the most two) per year. This conference served as a guise for me to go on a 3 day date trip to Orlando with my wife. I’m sneaky-smooth like that haha. That being said, the experience was still invaluable and I wanted to write down the five big take-a ways while they are fresh in my mind.

1. Step out of your tribe.

  • My tendency is to attend those conferences that I know will align with me both theologically and philosophically.
  • Truth is, there are a whole lot of other Jesus-loving people in this world who care about the mission of Jesus and who are in many ways, doing a much better job at reaching people within their contexts with the gospel of grace.
  • I learned some great things from some incredible Christians this week who aren’t reformed.

2. You don’t know everything.

  • Since I’ve been “doing church” my whole life, my tendency is to think I have it all down.
  • Truth is, there are so many things about Jesus, sanctification, ministry, theology, and grace that I can learn from others
  • I learned a lot of great truths from many incredible Jesus-loving people from all over the world.

3. Network with people you don’t normally get to.

  • Probably my favorite part of my 3 days in Orlando, was the four hours I spent with a buddy who lives in Dallas, who I see twice a year (maybe). We sat soaking wet (after a Florida spring monsoon came through and drenched us) in Chuy’s restaurant laughing, talking about life, ministry, and just having fun.
  • Conferences, like Exponential, ensure that at least five people you know (are in your tribe) will be there (because 5,000 people total were in attendance).
  • In other words, don’t go back to your hotel. Spend the free times that conferences give to network with old friends and new ones.

4. Lower your expectations.

  • Be honest, you attend conferences thinking they will somehow change the game for your life or ministry. I don’t want to discount or discredit the notion that the Holy Spirit can do that for you. But most of the time, this does not happen.
  • Instead of throwing all of your eggs in the conference basket, use the conference again as an agent to bring you closer to Jesus.
  • Even if you walk away with zero earth-shattering ideas to enhance your life and ministry, you should walk away closer to Jesus. That’s all that matters any way.

5. Take good notes.

  • I am not a good note-taker. In fact, most of the time I opt out of taking notes. But I’ve learned to have my iphone notes ready at all times (not just at conferences), so that I can jot down a nugget of awesomeness that I just heard.
  • Don’t feel like you need to write down everything. Again, you are not a stenographer! Just write down what really stands out to you. A week after the conference, after you have had some time to mentally decompress, pull your notes out.
  • Then just sift out 2-3 things that you know Jesus wants you to implement in your life.

Just a few thoughts. Would love to hear yours.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>