The Top 6 Management Conferences for Church Leaders
These events cover training, development on legal, financial fronts.

Leaders are learners, as the saying goes, and in matters of church management, ongoing training and learning are essential for leaders to keep up with legal, financial, and risk management developments. Numerous conferences and live events abound on this subject matter, and it's sometimes hard to discern which ones are best. Factor in limited budgets, and the decisions are even tougher to make.

After receiving numerous inquiries from readers regarding conferences worthy of their time, energy, and attention, and, after the continued questionable practices of a few seminar leaders, we put together a short list of national events that churches should consider.

Of course, many denominations provide training to their churches, and those events shouldn't be ignored. Many good organizations also offer live web events that provide valuable information for a fraction of the cost of a conference.

But sometimes breaking away from the office to spend a couple of days focused on learning and networking with peers can bring numerous benefits for church leaders. So if you fit in that category, here are six–listed in no particular order–that we recommend:

1. NACBA National Conference. The National Association of Church Business Administration hosts the longest-running national conference serving church business administrators. It offers a full daily schedule with a wide range of workshops and an exhibit hall with more than 100 vendors serving the church market. Can't make it? NACBA has 75 local chapters that meet monthly. These chapters offer guest speakers who cover various topics related to church administration.

Dates: July 14-18, 2014

Location: Orlando, Florida

Number of years in existence: 58

Registration cost: Members: $729 (early bird); Nonmembers: $999 (early bird). Rates go up after May 15, 2014.

Maximum attendance capacity: 1,000

Don't miss: The strong lineup of presenters, including Richard Hammar (senior editor of Christianity Today's Church Law & Tax Group, the publisher of and Michael Batts, Frank and Elaine Sommerville, and Vonna Laue (all Editorial Advisors for the Church Law & Tax Group).

More info:Click here.

2. National Nonprofit Conference. A one-day event by CPA firm Batts Morrison Wales & Lee focused on recent developments and trends on legal, tax, and financial topics affecting nonprofit organizations and churches. Michael Batts, managing partner of Batts Morrison Wales & Lee, is an Editorial Advisor for Christianity Today's Church Law & Tax Group, the publisher of

Dates: Early fall of 2014

Location: Orlando, Florida

Number of years in existence: 22

Registration cost: Varies–group discounts are available.

Maximum attendance capacity: 300

Don't miss: This event has grown in stature over the years–to the point that registration is only available by invitation. Contact the firm to ask about an invitation.

More info:Click here.

3. WFX 2014 Conference & Expo. EH Publishing and Production Media's event focuses on facilities, communications, and worship technology and best practices. It now draws about 3,400 church leaders.

Dates: October 1-2, 2014

Location: Dallas, Texas

Number of years in existence: 8

Registration cost: $165 (individual early bird). Rates go up after May 30, 2014.

Maximum attendance capacity: 3,500+

Don't miss:Ed Stetzer delivers a keynote on October 2. The conference also features nearly 150 sessions on nine areas of planning, building, and operating a church, and hosts an exhibit hall with 230 vendors serving the church market.

More info:Click here.

4. The Ultimate Financial and Legal Conference. This conference, co-founded by Frank and Elaine Sommerville (Editorial Advisors for Christianity Today's Church Law & Tax Group, publisher of, is designed to help church and ministry leaders transform their organizations internally with best practices in financial, legal, human resources, and risk management. This conference has expanded to a slightly larger venue after reaching maximum attendance the past two years.

Dates: October 27-28, 2014

Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Number of years in existence: 8

Registration cost: $235 (individual early bird) and $215 (group early bird). Rates go up after August 31, 2014.

Maximum attendance capacity: 155

Don't miss: Both Sommervilles present individual workshops with intensive information on legal and accounting best practices–and they provide time to answer questions.

More info:Click here.

5. Regional events by national organizations: Can't travel far and tie up multiple days for a national conference? Then consider regional events hosted by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (CEO Dialogues) or Capin Crouse.

Dates and locations:

  • Capin Crouse: Dublin, California, on May 6, 2014; San Diego, California, on May 7, 2014; Brea, California, on May 8, 2014; and Chicago, Illinois, on May 15, 2014
  • ECFA: Brea, California, on May 9, 2014; and Atlanta, Georgia, on November 7, 2014

Registration cost:

  • Capin Crouse: Events range from $39 to $89 for the first person, with a price break when two or more attend
  • ECFA: $199 (members), $249 (nonmembers)

Maximum attendance capacity: Capin Crouse events vary, depending on venue; ECFA's CEO Dialogues takes only 25 people per event

More info:

6. 2015 XP-Seminar. This event, led by founder David Fletcher, educates and encourages executive pastors, senior pastors, and other church leaders. It covers key leadership and management issues facing medium-, large-sized, and multisite churches.

Dates: February 18-19, 2015

Location: Dallas, Texas

Number of years in existence: 10

Registration cost: $500 (individual early bird). Rate goes up after August 31, 2014. Price break for two or more to attend.

Maximum attendance capacity: 200

Don't miss: Excellent case studies led by Fletcher, which includes live interviews with senior and executive pastors. Also, there's a legal update featuring attorney David Middlebrook (an Editorial Advisor for Christianity Today's Church Law & Tax Group, publisher of and afternoon workshops covering church finances and human resources. The 2015 keynote speaker is Will Mancini, author of Church Unique.

More info:Click here.

Before you register

If you aren't sure about whether a workshop, conference, or seminar is good for you and your church's leaders, keep these two guidelines from Richard Hammar in mind before you register and make any payments:

  • Review the advertising for the workshop, conference, or seminar to determine if it's designed to frighten or intimidate.
  • Confirm the professional qualifications of the presenters. For conferences involving information about church law or finance topics, ask for the state or states where the presenter is licensed. You can call the bar association or board of accountancy in those states to confirm that the person is a licensed attorney or CPA. These agencies can be located online.

    One warning sign to especially watch for: The identity and professional qualifications of the presenters aren't disclosed in advertising and aren't provided upon request.

If you attend a workshop, conference, or seminar, and you discover the event is not what you expected (or you're uncertain of whether everything is above reproach), keep these two tips in mind:

  • Don't agree to hire the presenter, or any individual or firm associated with the individual, to conduct professional services for your church.
  • Don't purchase any resources sold during or after the event.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.


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