Back in August I wrote a post on the blog called EPIC FAIL Pastors’ Conference. It was an idea (mostly theoretical) that had been stirring in me for a while that I finally found some time (and words) to tell about it.
I was blown away.
Thousands of hits.
Hundreds of emails, phone calls and text messages.
Dozens of comments.
I hadn’t posted anything that came close to the amount of traffic that I’ve gotten to this particular post.
What I found out is this: We had struck a nerve among North American pastors (and even pastors outside the US). Pastors need spaces to talk about their failures, their identity and their mistakes – and yet there is little opportunity given or allowed.
As the responses from pastors and Christian leaders were pouring in – and numerous people said they would do what it takes to make this happen – we wondered if this thing might actually have some teeth to it – if we might actually be able to pull something like this off. Could we have enough courage to actually do something that hadn’t been done before – something counter-intuitive from other conferences we’ve attended?
And so. We decided to go for it.
The EPIC FAIL Pastors’ Conference will be held April 14-16, 2011 in Lansdale, PA (Greater Philadelphia Area).
The cost is $79.
No glossy fliers.
No big marketing budget.
Just purposeful space to tell stories, reflect, pray (a lot), eat meals slowly, connect with other pastors (and former pastors), listen to others and take communion. The goal isn’t to host a conference to celebrate ‘success’ – and we aren’t looking to host a conference that celebrates failure either. Our goal is to celebrate faithfulness in ministry, regardless of what the outcome looks like. We’ll have experts on failure telling stories of their own mistakes, sin, gaffes and screw-ups – and they’ll share how God showed up despite the failure. And space to process our own stories and how the gospel intersects at our brokenness.
We anticipate it being hopeful. Rich. Meaningful. Significant.
We desire for the tone of the event to raw and hopeful. Scot McKnight encouraged me to keep this passage from 2 Corinthians 4 as the foundation of the event:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
And a few verses later:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
And as of this morning, the website is up: www.EpicFailPastorsConference.com Check it out – and read the vision and the purpose of why we’re hosting such an outlandish event at this location.
Am I involved in some sort of shameless promotion of this conference we’re hosting? Of course I am.
Why? Because I’m convinced that so many pastors wrestle with this idea of failure constantly – and nobody is actually talking about it.
And so, a team of us wanted to change that.
Pastors: I want you here. You belong here. Come spend some meaningful time with us for a few days in April. It might be the most spiritually significant conference you’ll ever attend.