Exponential 2024

If you've wondered where I've been this week (which is not the office), I've been at the 2024 Exponential Conference. Here's why that should matter to you.

The theme this year is: ONE-EIGHTY — Return to Disciple Making
Although making disciples is the clear mission of the Church, when asked, most churches say that making disciples who make disciples is still their biggest weakness. We sense God is calling the church to return to its primary purpose, to make disciples who make disciples. In order for us to do that, we must make a one eighty turn with five essential shifts back to disciple-making in our life and leadership.

Pastors, laity, and future church planters from all church denominations worldwide attend the Exponential Conference. Everyone has 1 goal: to build the Kingdom of God!

Why This Conference

This is my 3rd year attending this conference. So let me say why I keep coming back:
  1. I love the worship
  2. I love hearing what God's doing in the world
  3. I always come away with my soul encouraged
  4. I always come away with something I can apply

Two years ago, I didn't know about my appointment to Fleming Island. I heard God reaffirming a call to my life in 2019 that I was to plant a church. Not long after, I received word I was being sent to you to help you heal and rebuild after the hurt, pain, and split of our denomination's hardships. This is called revitalization work. Revitalization work takes all the planting skills but is more challenging because we must deal with our past as we look toward the future. Friends, we have come a long way in 2 years, and our future is bright.

Last year, I brought back the event we have multiple times a year as a mixer event to help new people get connected within our congregation. This event has helped us in so many ways. I also made some connections that have given me ongoing support.

This Year

This year, I chose a pre-conference to help me learn how to be a better leader and then a conference track to help us grow in our Holy Spirit connection. These two things have nothing in common except God. Here's what he has shared with me:
  • Churches everywhere are changing how they accomplish the mission of reaching new people for Jesus. It's okay if we change, too. Since 2019, my heart has told me to spend less time in my office and more time with the community, but I feel like tasks pull me back. This week, God has reminded me that it's okay. The work of the church doesn't need to control us. Our job is to build relationships with those who need Jesus.
  • People care more about relationships and experiences than they do about knowledge. The days of an incredible evangelism preacher transforming a person's life are over. I've "known" this in my mind, but I learned this in my heart. If we want to change people's lives for Jesus, we can only do that through relationships and experiences with people.
  • The best way to train people is to bring them into my personal space. This was probably the hardest thing for me to hear. As I shared briefly in my sermon Sunday, growing up a PK makes it hard to bring people into my personal space. I grew up feeling like I had no privacy. Therefore, I guard my privacy and personal downtime. This training method is how Jesus did things so that I would be in good company.

You can expect to see a shift in my time and the events I schedule based on these things. One thing I love about this conference is it helps me look at my time and how I look at events from an evangelistic perspective. Are we using our resources to their fullest?

In May, I'll spend a week with God to examine the church's Spiritual direction. These two weeks together will allow God to direct us both logistically, programmatically, and spiritually. Stay tuned for more.
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