“My name is John Smith, and I’m a Conference Addict.”
The conference addict. What do I mean by that, you ask? Let me tell you. This is the person who spends all of their time going from conference to conference to conference. They have been there, done that and I’m sure they have a t-shirt if one was available. They have heard everybody, and can’t wait until the next one. They are the truest Christian event enthusiasts.
"it was becoming harder to be a real part of my local community"
Now, before everyone gets mad at me for writing this, I’d like to say that if you are a conference addict, then good for you! God has blessed you with both the time and money to do this so live it up! I’m writing this simply as a cautionary tale; I have had my share of experiences as a conference addict. My aim here is to help guide you away from a life of highs and lows, but instead to move closer to a life of spiritual normalcy with some amazing high points.
It used to be me. I went from meeting to meeting. I traveled all over the world, and heard many of today’s biggest and best known speakers. I was focusing all my attention on conferences, and it was becoming harder to be a real part of my local community. Conferences are immersive by nature; they consume your time and energy. When you’re hopping from event to event, it becomes less easy to regularly attend a local church and leave space for people to really get to know you, mentor you and lead you through life.
"we can often start thinking we don’t actually need to change"
Conferences are a place for all of us to be inspired and get excited about what God is doing. They are even a place for us to have our lives changed, but without being in close relationship with people day to day, we can often start thinking we don’t actually need to change. We can convince ourselves that hearing all these amazing speakers and being touched by God exempts us from needing to be plugged in.
It’s a bit like eating at restaurants. It would almost be impossible to eat every meal out. Breakfast at Denny’s, followed by lunch at Subway and an all you can eat BBQ joint for dinner. It’s becomes too much. We need a home cooked meal from time to time. A place to have a salad and eat with your shoes off. Some consistency for our bodies and a chance to process the food, rather than eating and running.
"Having dependable people who are watching out for us...is so important"
I’ve found that being properly connected with my church family allows me to have consistent spiritual growth. It gives me accountability that just sitting in a conference could never give. As good as our intentions could ever be, we are just humans. Having dependable people who are watching out for us and guiding us along our walk with God is so important for keeping us in check. We were made for relationships and intimacy; we need them in order to be healthy.
As I said before, going to conferences is great, and I love it still. It inspires and motivates me to be a better person and to walk out a deeper relationship with God. But... We all need to make sure to be plugged in to a local community that lives life with us, prays for us, and when we need it, to challenge us. Go and enjoy as many conferences as you can, but always remember to come home, and let your inspiration spill over to those around you.
What do you think? Are you a proud conference addict eager to defend your lifestyle? Or are you against conferences altogether?