A great question raised by many today. Do we really need another event?
Do we need another conference?
Do we need another ____?
It’s a great question to ask. My good friend Dan Paterson explored this question over at his blog Traverse. He looked at three primary reasons why we need events. I want to look at these reasons and apply them to our upcoming conference, neoLeader.
1. Neutral Space. In Dan’s article, he identified that many geographical location carry ‘religious’ baggage that may prevent people from wanting to gather in or at a church. Events help to provide a ‘neutral’ space for people to gather around a message. In our context, the primary audience are new and emerging leaders who are not opposed nor unfamiliar to church ‘spaces’. Rather, the neutral space that we create is one of denominational neutrality. We aren’t gathering around one denomination, just the gospel. We aren’t gathering around hidden agendas, just the gospel agenda. We aren’t gathering around ecclesiological leadership distinctives, but rather gospel distinctives. This affords neoLeader accessibility to a wide range of audience as we gather around the ‘neutral space’ of gospel centrality that cuts across denominational border lines.
2. Credible speakers. In Dan’s article, the speakers at these events carry a credibility in the public eye (John Lennox) or they are relatively well known in Christian circles (Matt Chandler). A speaker’s degree of expertise and insight can help unite people together under the message they’re communicating. An event affords to give the speaker a platform from which to communicate and transfer a message effectively to larger amounts of people. This is good for the cause of the gospel.
This year neoLeader’s key note speaker is Guy Mason, lead pastor at City on a Hill, Melbourne. He has both credibility of ministry and clarity of message. Last year we went overseas getting Adam Ramsey from the United States. However, as a conference, we don’t want to buy into the trap that overseas equals better. Instead of merely look for big names in the US or UK, we want to identify those who are in our context, know our people and thus create a platform to elevate Australian speakers with solid credibility- Guy Mason is precisely that.
3. Gospel Seeds. Lastly, Dan mentioned one benefits of an event is that it sparks discussion. Movement. Conversation. These outcomes are what events help drive. The notion of conversation can be geared around the content of the event itself which helps open channels for critique and engagement. People can be more open to discussing topics, agreeing and disagreeing as they speak to content of the conference rather than speaking to their personal ideas as the source of the discussion. This is great particularly when engaging with people who want to push back on the content presented.
Yet even with this in mind you might not be convinced that events are worth it. After all, we’re after ongoing impact and events just don’t seem to do that all that great? Well this is precisely what I love about neoLeader. NeoLeader Conference has no reason to exist apart from a partnership with the local Church. That’s right, we’re not chasing after a ‘one night stand’ where people seek fleeting fixes, temporary excitement, end up settling for sparkle over substance. NeoLeader is after a relationship. A relationship that exists through collaborating with churches, networking with pastors and resourcing leaders. We’re here to help.
It’s a relationship that lasts.
Therefore, NeoLeader might just be the one event you need this year.