Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting the most out of conferences

We are hosting the Willowcreek Global Leadership Summit this week at Grace Church. It is 
a tremendous event and has had a huge impact on our church over the years. As an 
occasional attendee at conferences of this sort, I'm always looking for ways to leverage the 
time most effectively.  I was reminded of some advice I received a few years ago from my friend Bob about getting the most out of conferences.  Here are a few thoughts that I found 
most helpful. 

1.  Note Taking. Keep a running list of thoughts and notes from each general session and breakout workshop.  If possible take your laptop so you can email and live blog what you are learning.  I like to take notes for application and action instead of content when there are reliable bloggers who are blogging content (a common occurrence at most conferences).  I 
have found that they capture content far better than I ever could - so I just need to be responsible for what I'm going to do with the information.   

2.  Daily Wrap-Up. If you’re with a team use meal times and breaks to debrief your learnings/insights. Group discussions always yield great understanding of the session/topic, 
you get to hear other point’s of view.  Include insights from these debriefing times in your notes.

3.  What do you think we need to think about?  Good conferences raise questions, great conferences cause us to question and evaluate what we’re doing.  Be sure to write down 
what questions you’re beginning to ask, questions you believe we should be asking, 
questions worth asking.  Plan to incorporate these questions into future meetings with 
your teams when you get back home. 


Lindsey said...

Wow -- I wish I knew about this! It looked like a great summit. I've seen a lot of bloggers from Grace's ministry team -- is this part of your vision? A way of reaching into the community or just coincidence? I just picked up the book "blogging church" and wondered if you were on the same wave length and how you feel it's going. Thanks!

Lindsey @

Derek said...

Hey Lindsey - thanks for checking in. Yes - we encourage our staff to have a social media presence and find that it connects us with our congregation but it also allows us to engage in conversations with those outside of our church.