During tough economic times, many churches are looking at cutting all travel for training and events, but that may not be the wisest decision. Here's why:
Care. The church is about people caring for people, so your most important resource is people! They need to be trained and equipped to not only care, but guard and protect. They need to know how to identify young leaders and raise them up. They need to develop an eye for gifting and calling as well as those on the margins. Investing in people is one of the best investments you can make.
Creativity. Conferences and events are a great way to infuse your staff with engaging, innovative ideas and energy. Many events offer workshops and practical advice on how to handle the challenges of economy as well as do big things on small budgets. In addition, conferences often provide a gold mine of best practices. Skipping out may cost you more in the long haul.
Communication. Conferences and events provide your staff with a common language. Staff members sometimes struggle to put into words what they want to see changed or developed in their church. When staff members attend events together, they develop a common vocabulary and shared experiences, which are critical ingredients for innovation, growing a team, and developing a healthy congregation.
Close proximity. More conferences and events are looking for regional options in 2009 and 2010. Like Passion a few years back, more events, including Catalyst, are looking at more regional, coastal, and one-day events. That means you may be within driving distance to an enriching event—saving time and money. Keep your eyes open for events and conferences in and near your area and encourage staff to attend. In addition, keep an eye out for conferences and events that offer online attendance options or let you purchase DVDs and CDs to share with your staff.
More than ever, now is a time to embrace best practices, innovative ideas, and the encouragement of gathering with others facing similar challenges in ministry.
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