In the most recent issue of Leadership, John Ortberg shares this important observation:

I once was part of a survey on spiritual formation. Thousands of people were asked when they grew most spiritually, and what contributed to their growth. The number one contributor to spiritual growth was not transformational teaching. It was not being in a small group. It was not reading deep books. It was not energetic worship experiences. It was not finding meaningful ways to serve. It was suffering. People said they grew more during seasons of loss, pain, and crisis than they did at any other time.

The same truth surely applies to pastors. We grow most in our leadership and maturity not through our successes but through our failures. So why are so many of our pastoral gatherings focused on celebrating successful ministries and triumphant pastors? Wouldn't we be better served by learning from those who have failed; wouldn't they be a better font of wisdom?

If you're like me, you may walk away from some ministry conferences feeling worse about yourself and your calling rather than better. I'll never be as gifted as the guy on the stage. I'll never have a church that size and making that kind of impact in my city. I'll never get my hair to do that no matter how much product I put in it. And the skinny jeans? Forgetaboutit. The cool train left my station 20 years ago.

Well, if you've felt that way someone has finally developed the conference for you: the Epic Fail Pastors Conference. (This is not a joke).

Check out some of the thinking behind the event:

-What if we offered a space that is gutsy, hopeful, courageously vulnerable for pastors to let go of the burden to be a Super Pastor?

-What if we could hold an event that was free from the thrills and frills of other pastors conferences?

-What if we came together as epic failures and sought not successful models or how-do's but instead celebrated faithfulness in ministry because of the reality of Jesus?

-What if we were reminded that we're not responsible for being ‘successful' in ministry, but we are responsible for being faithful to the calling that God has laid out for us – regardless of the outcome?

-What if we had a conference that was not led not by famous pastors who are household names, but by scandalously ordinary ministers and leaders who are faithfully attempting to join with God – even in the midst of glaring obscurity and anonymity?

If this kind of gathering is right up your alley, check out the website for more information.

And for the sake of our conversation here on Ur, what do you think about this? Is this exactly what pastors need, or does it miss the mark? And what about the standard slate of ministry conferences out there–are they helping or hurting your communion with God and calling in ministry?

Failure  |  Fellowship  |  Formation  |  Suffering
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