A conference culture

this past week, i received information on attending the following church ministry conferences:

  • Teen Apologetics Conference
  • Focus on Parenting Simulcast Conference
  • Focus on Marriage Simulcast Conference
  • Time to Honor: Promise Keepers Conference
  • Killing Cockroaches Tour
  • Catalyst OneDay Conference – Dallas
  • Servolution Conference
  • Dynamic Church Conference
  • Missionary Church Pastor’s Conference
  • Worship Facilities Expo Live from Long Beach
  • Sticky Church Conference
  • San Diego A29 Bootcamp
  • Everything Must Change Tour
  • LifeServe Conference 09
  • The “One” Conference
  • MinistryTech Conference
  • Shift Conference
  • ReFocus Conference
  • WordCamp (a blogging conference)
  • Catalyst West Coast
  • National Youth Worker’s Convention
  • Exponential 09
  • Community
  • Simply Strategic Volunteers Workshop

just this week!  this week!  and here’s the deal…these conferences cost tons of money (between $1500 – $2000 to experience one of them) and the speakers are basically all from large, successful mega-churches and mega-ministries.  now i’ve got two observations.

the first is that i don’t get it.  it seems like we have become a culture of conferences.  we are mesmerized by success and those who can tell us about it.  we are captured by the stage.  it’s like we have taken our love affair with sports and entertainment (the spectator mentality) and just transferred it over to the church. and it even happens with our leaders.

on second thought, i do get it.  but i don’t like it.

my second observation came tonight as i was reading another blog.  seattle pastor, eugene cho had these profound insights:

Megachurches only comprise 1% of the churches in North America. But then why do the majority of the conferences revolve around the mega-churches and their pastors?

I think mega-churches and their leaders are doing phenomenal ministry.  I really do.  But we’ve elevated this 1% as the epitome and face of a successful ministry and created a machine of conferences, publishers, books, and networks based on this very limited expression.

the author of the blog then made an amazing illustration by rewriting 1 corinthians 12 and substituting the concept of the church whenever the parts of the body are mentioned.  we all (ministers and churches) have a god-given calling, but there is an incredible temptation to want to live out the calling of ministers and churches that are in the spotlight.  here’s the rewrite:

The Church has many different parts, not just one part. If the house church says, “I am not a part of the Church because I am not a megachurch,” that does not make it any less a part of the Church. And if the rural church says, “I am not part of the Church because I am not a gigachurch,” would that make it any less a part of the Church? If the whole Church were a gigachurch, how would you reach rural areas? Or if the whole Church were a rural church, how would you reach urban areas?

But the Church has many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange the Church would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one Church. The gigachurch can never say to the megachurch, “I don’t need you.” The Internet church can’t say to the church plant, “I don’t need you.”

In fact, some parts of the Church that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.

i love calling north point my family.  how about you?

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4 thoughts on “A conference culture

  1. I get so lost sometimes being jealous of the megachurches and not realizing that they are called to do the same work that we are. The money thing is what really bothers me. Think about it this way…

    AROD (The Megachurch) gets paid the most on the Yankee’s line up but the Yanks (gigachurch)still win without him and sometimes they are better off without him. This is how I feel about megachurches after reading just this little article. Megachurches help win but so do we and we are all on the same team. How cool…
    Sorry for the farra baseball anology!

    One more vent… Church is not a business, conferences costing 1,500 to 2,000 dollars, to me, seems to be a business.

  2. Wait… what Corey? I don’t get it.

    How about this:
    The processor (megachurch) does all the major number-crunching and computing, but it can’t separate itself from the graphics card (house church), or the speakers (missionaries).

    Eh?

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