Why I Attend So Many Conferences

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I attend—and speak at—a lot of conferences. I usually attend a couple a month: church conferences, industry events, and educational gatherings.

Pouring Water into a Glass - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Mordolff, Image #9042613

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Mordolff

I attend in my capacity as the CEO of Thomas Nelson, for two reasons. First, I am constantly on the lookout for new authors. Hearing someone speak is a great way to discover someone with a compelling message. Sometimes ( though not always), this translates into a viable book project.Second, I also attend to raise the visibility of my company with its core constituents. As active as I am on the Internet and as much as I believe in social media, I still believe there is no substitute for meeting people face-to-face.

While these are valid and important reasons to attend professionally, the real reason I go is to grow personally. If you are not constantly moving forward spiritually, intellectually, and relationally, then you will start slipping backward. I attend conferences to be exposed to new ideas, to network with other leaders, and frankly, to hear from God.

I think it is especially important for pastors to get away to one or two conferences a year. You can be constantly giving out and not receiving. According to an August 2, 2010 article in the New York Times, entitled, “Taking a Break from the Lord’s Work”:

Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.”

In addition, PastorBurnout.com reports that:

  1. 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches.
  2. 75% report severe stress causing anguish, worry, bewilderment, anger, depression, fear, and alienation.
  3. 70% don’t have any close friends (this one about makes me cry).
  4. 57% would leave the pastorate if they had somewhere else to go or some other vocation they could do.
  5. Clergy have the second highest divorce rate among all professions.

This makes the ministry one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet. God never intended for us to go it alone. Great community creates longevity in your ministry and leadership. We really are better together.

That’s why I want to let you know about the Nashville LIT Conference in Nashville on March 24 on the CrossPoint Church campus. I am especially excited to be speaking alongside my dear friend and Thomas Nelson author, Pete Wilson. (You can find the additional speakers here.)

Dr. Chris Stephens, the conference founder, as assigned us the theme of “Leadership in Turbulent Times.” I have spoken on this topic previously and written on it. More importantly, I have had to do it. I know the other speakers have, too. This is why I believe this conference will encourage you and help you in your critical role.

I hope you will join me for a day of inspiration, encouragement, and challenge. I guarantee you will leave refreshed.

Question: What do you do to avoid ministry or leadership burnout? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://charlesjaymeyer.blogspot.com Charles Meyer

    As I was reading through some of the stats you posted and seeing my friends go through ministry burnout reminds me of the reasons why I have not been part of a ministry for a couple years.

    I am currently 23 and had been interested in being in ministry since I was 17 but seeing what my friends have gone through in the last 3 years I have decided to wait on fully pursing ministry. As I read these comments I am encouraged to return one day to ministry.

  • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

    I can totally relate to the whole ministry burnout thing.

    One of the problems many pastors have is that their salaries are insufficient to enable them to go to conferences and the church is unwilling to pay for them to go.

    I would love to go to a conference or two. I really need it but just have no way to do so!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think rather than accept this as the status quo, I would encourage you to try and convince your church why it is in their best interests for you to go.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

    To avoid ministry burnout:

    1. I like to hang out with other believers and we just worship together. No teaching, no planning, no work. Just love on God and letting God love on us.
    2. Like you do, I attend conferences to receive and be refreshed.

    More important than these two, I do my best to respect my Sabbath :)

  • http://dustn.me Dustin W. Stout

    So important for us church leaders to take time to get poured into on a bigger scale. This is why I’m upset that our church couldn’t afford to send us to Catalyst West this year. :( I will be saving for next year to make sure I don’t miss it again. Your talk last year on Platform was an inspiration & even started me on a new consultation path alongside doing youth ministry. Thanks again Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  • http://www.walkwiththewise.wordpress.com Gail

    My pastor has always said that you’re a fool to go into full time pastoral ministry unless God has very clearly called you there. Being a pastor is not a job, it’s a lifestyle with many sacrifices.

    Thanks for putting the spotlight on some of the pressures our pastor’s face. I think if we were a bit more aware of what our pastor’s do for us we’d be a bit more accepting, forgiving, gracious and a little less demanding and critical.

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