Make meaningful connections at your conferences


It’s late-February and it can mean one of many things—and in this case, it’s that conference season is upon us once again!

One of the great blessings I had in 2012 was being able to attend a number of excellent conferences including the Truth Xchange Think Tank in Escondido, California, Together for the Gospel in Louisville, Kentucky, The Gospel Coalition in Cambridge, Ontario, Story in Chicago and the Bold Church Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska.

All in about seven months. (And yes, it was exactly about as exhausting as it sounds.)

Each of these featured fantastic speakers and terrific opportunities to engage with like-minded (and not-so-like-minded) believers who you might not otherwise meet this side of eternity, whether singing alongside several thousand other men, praying for the North American church with a group of 40—or seeing Christian creatives act like they think creative-types are supposed to act (which is funny since creative-types tend to be introverts).

But among all the events I went to in 2012, the ones that I found in some ways to be the most special were the regional ones. When I was at the Bold Conference in Lincoln (which is funny since I’m a Canadian), it was amazing to see church leaders from the area come together and start talking through contextual issues and how to apply the teaching they’d received. The same happened during the lunch breaks at The Gospel Coalition in Cambridge, when a number of us began discussing what ministry looks like in our contexts.

This is so exciting for me to see—especially since it can happen at an event of any size and in any location. Our city has a wonderful theology breakfast that I attend (and occasionally speak at) facilitated by Jude St. John, and it’s been really cool to see the guys get to know one another and engage on some very important topics. A good friend met another brother in ministry who’s become a friend to both of us while in Louisville—and he happens to live about 40 minutes away from our city.

The point is this—wherever you go, whether something big like The Gospel Coalition in April or something a little closer to home, use your time well to make meaningful ministry connections, especially if someone lives in your region (and I say this as an introvert). For many, it makes a world of difference knowing that there are like-minded brothers and/or sisters dealing with similar situations (it’s nice to know you’re not on crazy pills, after all)—and it offers a way for us to come alongside one another and bear one another’s burdens as the larger body of Christ (Gal. 6:2).

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  • Scott Cochrane

    Aaron, in a world of online learning and digital resources, your post answers the question, “Why should we bother with conferences at all?” The fact is, there’s something irreplaceable about a conference setting in terms of being able to make connections. The key, as you point out, is intentionality.

    Thanks for these insights.