I remember going to my first conference with the rest of the “big staff” of our church. And of course I was on their dime, so I counted this as a vacation. It was a time for me to stay up late and get up just in time to roll to the first session. I didn't have my folder to take notes and I was completely unfocused. I definitely did not get much out of the conference at all. In fact, I recall being much too smart and knowledgeable for anything that I could possibly learn that could be of value to me, my youth staff or ministry. So, the answer to your question is “yes”, I am an idiot and was totally pompous, thinking that I was the man and that there was nothing more to learn to better myself.
Over the years I started to realize that whenever I was given the chance to learn from anyone about youth ministry or leadership as a whole I was lucky. And when it began to become repetitious for me to learn the same lesson over and over, from a different person at a different conference, I realized that there was not much to this whole leadership deal. That was the easy part. The hard part was realizing that I had to put that stuff into practice and make it work in my ministry. The lessons and ideas that I was receiving were exactly that. None of it was good until I applied it.
Now that speak at different conferences and attend them as well I see that the stuff that I am teaching or learning is nothing new. Funny that Solomon had a pretty good handle on it. But for those of you out there that are just starting in ministry I hope that you are paying attention to what is going on in the conferences that you are attending. No one can make you understand the importance but yourself. You will not raise your leadership lid – your maxed out potential – until you get your head out of the sand and apply the stuff that you are learning.
At the conferences when I was younger I can remember our senior pastor having late nite meetings with the big dawgs on staff to talk about the stuff that was just taught that very same day. I would think, wow, I am glad I am not in those meetings. Now I wish I had been invited. And, there was prolly a reason I was not invited. You are the one in charge of your ministry. If you do not have higher leadership lid than the peeps you are leading, then you will not be leading them for very long. Peeps want to follow others who they believe can take them places they cannot go on their own.
So, use your conference time to excel and expand your ministry potential. Listen to leaders on tape, the net, video – whatever you can get your hands on. The more you put into your own leadership the better chance you have to lead others. You cannot add value to others if you have nothing to give.