This year I’ve been given the opportunity to go to Oxygen2014 – as a blogger/reporter. I reckon that’s an offer that’s pretty hard to refuse. And it comes back to what makes inter-church conferences valuable.
Inter-church conferences are when people from many churches gather for an event – as opposed to people from one church having their own event (Like we’re doing this week at forge2014!!!). It could be 1 day, weekend, or a whole week.
But there are two basic reasons to go to an inter-church conference… either
- to facilitate friendship with other Christians from other churches, or
- to facilitate friendships within your church members
See, if you’ve got a small church, chances are you don’t need to run your own church conference – everyone already knows each other. Going away for 3 days isn’t really going to make that much of a difference. In fact, if your flock has been part of a small church for years, they might need reminding that Jesus’ church is massive by going along to a inter-church conference, and meeting all these other Christians and being encouraged that they’re not the only ones. Those conferences are usually smaller (50-500 people). If’ you’re organising a smallish inter-church conferences, that should be one of your goals… facilitating people meeting new people and having to chat.
If you’ve got a bigger church, chances are that many of the people DON’T know each other very well. Those people don’t need to meet and chat with Christians from other churches, rather they need to get to know each other better and form their own relationships. So you’ve got two options. Either run your own church-conference so they spend the time with each other, or, go to a very large inter-church conference AS A GROUP that sticks together.
This is what we’ve done with Men’s Convention over the past few years. We knew we really needed our guys to get to know each other better. They didn’t have the time for a few conferences a year, and we couldn’t run our own, so we hire a bus and go to Katoomba Men’s convention as a group, we stay together and, while enjoying being with 2000+ guys, we try to get to know each other better first.
This comes back to why Oxygen2014 is valuable. It’s for that relatively small group of church “leaders”. Not just senior pastors, but those people who bare some level of responsibility for their church. It’s usually a lonely job. Paul knows it…
Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. (2Cor 11:28)
Oxygen2014 gives leaders the chance to meet and be encouraged by other leaders who know what it’s like.