I've attended many pastors' conferences—and seen hundreds of advertisements promoting others. All of these events were geared around a definition of success that assumed that "bigger" and "more" were a pastor's goals. I pushed back from my desk after reading an ad for one such conference thinking, That's a lot of pressure for a pastor. Furthermore, I wondered if the ad's assumed definition of pastoral success was even accurate.

So I posted an idea on my blog: What if there was a pastors' conference devoted to ministry failure? What if we focused for a few days, not on ministry success, but on our failures?

Such a conference, I imagined, would have to be completely different. Instead of featuring senior pastors of well-known megachurches, it would include ordinary pastors of smaller congregations who were attempting to faithfully follow Jesus in seemingly obscure places.

What would it be like to share our failures, and then culminate the conference at the communion table? As we rallied ...

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