I’m preparing for Vertical Church Conference coming in October and you kinda want to go. But it raises some questions in your mind about your motives and the motives of church conferences in general. Aren’t we as believers called to be members of our local churches and to put our time and efforts there? How will the kingdom be bettered by my attendance? I can think of lots of ways to spend my time. What makes a biblical Conference different? What exactly does the Bible say (if anything) about this?
Spoiler alert. The Bible says nothing about whether or not you should attend a conference. Just as your future spouse’s name is not written next to yours in Deuteronomy and it says nothing about vitamins and how much SPF to use on your nose. There are some things that the Bible just doesn’t talk about and church conferences (and spouses’ names) are one of those things.
But the Bible does have some interesting things to say that would give us some direction on this, even if it doesn’t come right out and give us an answer. The Bible is filled with encouragement and direction, if we are willing to look for it and apply.
Blessing in the Pursuit
While ministries and conferences can never replace your weekly church and small group attendance, they are a good way to continue pursuing ways to keep yourself encouraged and equipped.
Romans 14:19 says, “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” It isn’t always easy to pursue in our daily lives because we get used to our schedules and our stressors and tend to put “pursue peace and building up others” on the back burner. Conferences offer a place and perspective in which we can be challenged to do these things well.
Ephesians 4 urges us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called. That is daunting to me, if I am being honest. I don’t really know how to do that or what that looks like. And help and direction in this area would be welcome and appreciated. Colossians 1:10 tells us the same thing and then adds that we should bear fruit and increase in the knowledge of God.
As part of just one body of Christ, we are to look for and seek out ways to help equip ourselves and others for the work of the ministry. And when Monday rolls around and I am back to my routine, new tools (or pulling out some goodies we have forgotten about) in my belt that help me be a light to my part of the world are welcomed and needed.
Stirring Your Heart
Being around other Christians pursuing relationship with Jesus is so crucial to being excited about God. The Holy Spirit can move in your heart as easily as at a conference (really nothing is hard for the Holy Spirit). But there is something that is contagious about other people’s excitement for the God of the universe. Maybe it is because someone is jumping up and down spreading joy through the halls, or maybe it is a new perspective on something to which you have already given much thought.
Whatever it is, Hebrews 10:24 is happening. It tells us to consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Conferences are a good place to meet like-minded people and allow yourself to be stirred up about Jesus and excited to take that excitement home.
The Word of God will never give nothing back in return. Something always happens. Your time seeking biblical truths will always be rewarded. That is what God was talking about in Isaiah 55:11 when He said, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
It is as true you and your friends as it was for Isaiah and his friends. VCC will be room after room filled with people who love God’s Word and want to share it with you and have you share the Word with them. Because it will succeed in the world and in your heart. That is a promise.
In the world we live in, there are so many things to do and so many places to spend our time. It is overwhelming. And as followers of Christ, it seems even more so. How do I make all my decisions honoring to the Lord? Am I doing what the Bible asks of me? What could I do better to become more like Jesus at work? At home? At my family reunion? Does spending my time for Jesus mean I won’t have fun anymore?
Being equipped, encouraged, excited, and understanding the Word of God is not just important, but it is an essential way to spend time in the life of every Christian (the Bible tells me so). Will all your questions be answered? Probably not, but you will learn how to engage with culture and allow your mind to be renewed. And this transformation will bring you one step closer to understanding the answers burning in your heart.