Frustration with Conferences

We keep hearing that many of you have frustration with conferences and training events across the county. Many of these frustrations we hear have to do with:

1. High Costs

2. Travel

3. Same thing, year after year

4. Great motivation but no next step.

We would love to hear some more of your insight on what you are truly looking for when it comes to investing in a Leadership, or Worship Conferences. Let us know your thoughts.

Team IML


15 responses to “Frustration with Conferences

  1. i used to be more jaded toward conferences than i am now, feeling most of these points. how i’m feeling now:
    cost – good things cost money. it’s up to us to determine if it’s valuable or not
    travel – look for something closer to you, there are so many good conferences now
    3) variety – same, there are so many now
    4) no next step – this is the biggest one for me as a leader. so much of the point of a conference is inspiration, as leaders we need to be the ones responsible for our team’s next steps

    my biggest frustration is conferences that feel more scattered than focused on content. i’ve made the next next steps when i’ve left a conference feeling equipped in a direction, not questions 8 different directions.

  2. Full disclosure: I work for the Catalyst Conference

    I think conferences are a great place to network and hear new ideas. Here are some things I’d like to see (more of, or for the first time).
    – facilitated networking between attendees
    – content from attendees
    – a “science fair” atmosphere/room/session where interested attendees share their insights/ideas/projects, etc using a foam board and markers.
    – facilitated connection between attendees before and after conference

    – more practical information from speakers
    – conf organizers following up with attendees to help them put changes into place
    – more Q&A
    – candid discussion between popular leaders and speakers.
    – candid discussion/debate between speakers/leaders that disagree

    – some really out front stuff, I want to hear about some crazy stuff that’s way out front. I want to hear what no one else is doing.

    – questioning of speakers after their talk – cross examining them (maybe just Q&A). It says in Proverbs that the first person to speak sounds right, until someone comes and questions them. I think it’s toooooo easy to say something cool and inspiring that doesn’t work in practice, or is too unclear how to implement in practice.

    – shorter talks, more talks.
    – shorter books.
    – stories of success, examples.
    – best practices shared with detailed examples and explanations of why/why not.

  3. I see conferences no different than choosing good books to read, choose a good one, your inspired, can grow and reflect on many things. Choose a bad one and the opposite happens. But if your a leader, you just need to be in LOVE with God enough to stay inspired and hungry, conferences should only serve to “add” to your ideas or daily walk, not take the place of them.
    Just my 2 cents though…

  4. Great Insight Guys,

    Karl, you make some valid points, thanks for sharing

    Jesse, you ideas are great, the science fair idea is amazing, it would be so cool to see that.

    Marc you bring up the most important aspect, loving God, will keep someone hungry that no event can do.

  5. Hey Guys,
    We’ve been having this same discussion over on my blog, and at TheWorshipCommunity.Com. I think people want “community” and “discussion” way more than they want “lecture”.

  6. I have had many of the same problems with the typical church conference. My biggest problem, however, is that most seem to cater to the mega church only. Providing resources that are far out of reach or programs that are unavailable due to money, staffing and more. Over 90% of america’s churches are smaller than 200 people.

    For this reason we are excited about the small church conference. It will offer just as many speakers and breakout sessions including craig groeschel from All for an affordable price for 90% of America’s pastors.

    I would like to see more conferences cater to 90% of the churches rather than just the 10%.

  7. Mark, Great point. We agree 100 hundred percent with you. Having resources that meet you right where you are at to help assist and grow is important.

  8. I guess I should’ve left the conference link in my previous post.

  9. Hey guys,
    I appreciate your insight. I believe that we need ldrs/ speakers who can set the stage on topics to collaborate on. I have learned that it is valuable to sit in on discussion and creative groups during conferences. (these are usually the most productive times wouldn’t you agree?)

    Let me throw another spin at you guys, how do we help churches/ mission committees help build a better platform for missionaries (stateside and overseas)?

    Many conferences seem too routine or churches are not as focused on missions. (the principle from Piper that missions exist because worship doesn’t) Perhaps we try too hard on the how-tos and not enough focus on the whys? Just thinking out loud.

  10. This is an absolutley wonderful topic to address. Props! Over this past weekend, I attended the “Jubilee Conference” which was hosted by CCO.

    Not to step on CCO’s feet, but I did not come back from the conference with any valuable knowledge. Maybe a few things here or there. Nothing to take me to a new step in my faith.

    However, I did attend a conference in December which was “The World Mission’s Summit” hosted by the AG church (I went as a part of my college campus ministry). It was amazing! Why? It was interactive!!!

    I think a valuable part of conferences that many organizations miss out on is making it interactive. I can learn from a lecture but no more than 1 lecture in one day. So I want to spend my money and time on something lively and much more than lecture. I want adventure and an exprience to bring back home!

    I hope this all makes as much sense as it does in my head. -Tara

  11. Just stop having them. They are a total waste.

  12. stop having speakers who always speak at these big conferences… It seems like we are paying to hear the same 3-5 speakers that was at last month conference. And all these speakers are mega-church pastors/leaders. There are small to medium size church pastor/leaders that need a voice.

    And the prices for the conferences are outrageous… especially these 1 day conference.. Why is it like $179 for a 1 day, 2 session conference??? just crazy. I saw a conference that was for 1 day and had 3 session, for almost $300..

  13. There’s a hybrid conference/ unconference next week, Feb 27-28 in Irvine, California, called The Idea Camp .
    The Idea Camp is gathering idea makers, most if not all are church leaders and/or followers of Christ. The event has $0 registration. Yes, free. There will be “A-list” top-name church leaders there, names you’d recognize on the “conference speaking circuit.” And a majority of the schedule is designated for conversation rather than (one-direction) talks.

    [Disclosure: I’m an employee of Leadership Network, wihch does partner with select church conferences]

  14. YES! the IDEA CAMP seems really cool and I wish that more Christian) conferences would be like this (I think, I haven’t experienced it yet, hoping it comes to Atlanta) – I think this model is better for the Body and advancing the Kingdom!!!!!!!!!!

    GO IDEA CAMP!!!!

    [full disclosre: I work for the Catalyst Conference, which is awesome and you should totally come! yes, it’s expensive, but totally worth it IMHO]

  15. The Idea Camp seems amazing. We will have to help promote it for 2010. Jesse is right, this is a great model for advancing the kingdom.

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