I love going to conferences.
Like many of you I just got back from a conference. Post-Easter is conference season for ministry leaders as I just returned from Exponential and I know many who attended the Orange Conference in Atlanta.
You leave the conference encouraged, challenged, and probably exhausted. In your bag are handouts, notes, books, and a conference book all that you plan on studying and implementing.
Plans have a way of falling apart.
Recently I was cleaning out a drawer and found a couple of conference books that I hadn’t touched since I put them in there. Conferences become worthless without implementation.
I don’t have this figured out, but I’ve got a few ideas as to how:
If possible don’t go to conferences alone.
Best is to take someone from your church. Another pastor or someone who serves as a volunteer is the ideal because the conversation automatically goes to implementation and the realities of it. I know that for many of you this isn’t realistic so you have to make do.
Your spouse is a great choice. Conferences should be refreshing personally and as a couple there are things to process.
If that doesn’t work connect with someone through Twitter and talk about the conference at a break or over a meal.
Sometimes when you get home from a conference it feels as though the conference and what you experienced never happened. You come home and responsibilities and activity is waiting to take all of your attention.
In the sea of notes and handouts in your bag and on your computer you have to make an action list for when you get home. During the conference you had plenty of great ideas, but these are too easily lost.
Before you get home make a list of less than 5 action items for you to immediately implement. Limit yourself to 5 so you don’t get overwhelmed and put a timetable on this.
You know all those books they are selling at the conference? Buy some, and actually read some.
First of all those authors need the cash (being an author doesn’t pay like you would think it would) and second reading a book or two in the weeks after the conference allow you to keep things fresh.
If you are like me when I read for long stretches, particularly physical books, I get in some sort of zone where some of my most creative ideas emerge.
If that isn’t your speed buy some audio of a favorite session or better yet a breakout that you missed. Exponential puts a ton of their content out there for free as a podcast.