I am making a big assumption here, maybe the first question should be along the lines of “Is leadership conferences failing?”
It depends on how you define failure. Failure for me at times is over stimulation. I can read blogs or watch TV with the best of them, but when it becomes a failure for me is when I become so over stimulated I am overwhelmed. There are times when I have to put myself in “time-out” from media just because I have exposed myself to so much stuff. I almost feel like I was abusing the tools because I was absorbing so much. In this context for me, failure is over exposer and mass quantity.
In this context leadership conferences are failing. Do you become a better leader because you have memorized every word of John Maxwell or because you have put what you have learned into practice? Or how about this, are you an expert on blogging because you read blogs all day or because you have taken the time to blog and have grown an engaging blog community? I would say the second option is true in both circumstances. So why do we equate more with success? Its like trying to open up a grocery store next to a super wal-mart, you have no shot at winning or being successful. Or to bring it back to church world, its like starting a church plant a block away from another church, seems to be kind of working against each other.
Perry Noble announced that his church, New Springs, will be hosting a one day Leadership conference featuring these speakers:
- Steven Furtick
- Mark Driscoll
- Judah Smith
- Francis Chan
- Jud Wilhite
- and me! :-) (Perry Noble)
Now that is a serious lineup, and to be honest I would love to hear all of these guys speak. I would be there if I could. But when it really comes down to it all this is not the only conference or for that matter leadership conference going on in the next 5 months. If someone told me today that I could go to these conferences and they would pay for me (hint hint) I would definitely go. But in all reality that is not a reality and therefore I am left at home hoping to be a better leader and grow in my leadership. Where the failure seems to be happening is the flood of conferences and the disconnect between young leaders and current leaders.
I do feel like (and I have heard others say this as well) conferences are starting to become out of date. Look at Willow Creek, that place was a conference machine. Now they are down to about two conferences a year. This trend is starting to be noticed by others as well. Not a coincidence that online conferences are starting to appear as well.
With this announcement of another leadership conference that I will not be able to attend I am feeling left out and wondering what I am missing. You know, like when you don’t get invited to a party that everyone else is going to? Difficult thing for me is that I feel like I am missing a chance to learn, grow, and network, unfortunately it will cost me close to $500 to do all of this, and that is just for one day.
Are Leadership Conferences failing?