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In my last post, I shared about how the right conference can boost your ministry and encourage you in a more meaningful way than any other activity.  Wouldn’t it help to get some feedback on a conference before plunking down your cash?

After attending the recent Speak Up conference, I developed a tongue-in-cheek checklist that should help you decide if Speak Up can help you in your ministry. As a bonus, page down to the end of the post to click on other bloggers who want to tell you their version of Speak Up.

Here are my first five reasons “not” to attend (with the rest coming next week):

 1.  If you’re happy with stagnancy. Speak Up leaders and speakers challenged me right where I’m at in ministry. They know how to address the amateur and the aficionado, and they offer sessions that appeal to both.

2.     If you’re convinced God will never ask you to do something other than He’s asking you to do right now. Speak Up has two tracks, one for (mostly) speakers and one for (mostly) writers.  A number of the sessions crossed the tracks, so to speak. The idea was implicit: if you’re writing, people expect you to speak about what you’re writing. And if you’re speaking, people want you to submit material in writing.

3.     If you’re fine with your ministry mirroring you instead of serving others. There wasn’t a theme to the conference, but if I gave it one, it would be, “It’s not about you.” Rather, the speakers repeated this idea in numerous ways: your ministry is about the God you glorify through the people you serve.

4.     If you only attend large conferences. Speak Up is a smaller conference with the benefits of a larger conference, like experienced speakers. Unlike at larger conferences, they don’t hide in a separate office. They’re milling around freely, giving directions, grabbing a cup of coffee beside you, or eating breakfast with you. They don’t even have their own bathroom.

5.     If you only go to conferences in large cities. Grand Rapids, Michigan, is easy to IMG_0692navigate for an out-of-towner. Its beltline makes any entrance point into the city accessible for reaching Calvin College, which hosts the conference, and into downtown. The downtown area is charming: children rolled down a park hill, Clydesdales offered carriage rides, and then there was Kevin—a city ambassador (think “guide”) evidently accustomed to looking for the lost. Rather than giving us the Gospel, however, he related a little Grand Rapids history, acquainted us with the sports teams, and escorted us to good Americana fare with dueling pianos in the background.  Meeting Kevin was worth the trip alone.

To be continued…. I’ll post the other six points next Wednesday.

Encouraging you in your ministry,


P.S. Don’t just take my word for it; check out all of these attenders’ blogs and see what they had to say about Speak Up on our blog hop!

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