I love attending ministry conferences. There’s just something about getting outside of one’s own ministry context and learning from others who are doing it bigger/better/differently than you. The change of pace is always refreshing and the exposure to new concepts and ideas inspiring. But often, in the days following a conference, that inspiration and excitement can turn into an overwhelming burden.
If you’re anything like me, when you go to a conference you take copious notes in the breakout sessions, network with other leaders, and make pointed observations on everything from service flow to facilities. I usually end up with a list of things a mile long of what I’d like to implement in my own ministry setting. But then I get back home and start to wade through that list, along with the resources that I’ve gathered, and I begin to get bogged down in all the details. I’m reminded that I don’t have the budget/personnel/talent/etc… to pull those things off. And instead of doing anything, I end up doing NOTHING.
Maybe you’re a superhero and you manage to implement every new idea you learn at a conference within a couple weeks. But that’s just not me. If you find yourself in the same boat alongside me, here’s a couple things I’d suggest that might help:
- Go through your list of new ideas and pick the 4 or 5 things that could help you move the ball the furthest down the field in your current setting. Yes, you are going to have to eliminate some really good stuff. But the best leaders know how to say no to ‘good’ so that they can instead focus on what is ‘great’. And just because those other ideas are being eliminated doesn’t mean they aren’t right, it just means they aren’t for right now.
- Take the 4 or 5 selections you kept from your list and organize them into short-term and long-term goals. You need to identify the one or two things you can implement immediately (short-term)…and then do it. Share the ideas with your team, cast the vision for how they will enhance your ministry and then move forward. For the 2-3 ideas that are left over, make them long-term goals. Set a reasonable implementation date on your calendar for the next 3-6 months or so, create a plan, and work toward fulfilling it.
Filtering your list of ideas in this manner will help you to stay focused and not get overwhelmed or bogged down. It will also help you to take steps toward accomplishing the things that are most important in your ministry right now.
So what about you? What are some of the best ministry conferences that you’ve attended? What are the best 1 or 2 ideas that you’ve recently gleaned and been able to use to enhance your ministry?