For those of you who follow the blog, you know a few years ago I had this crazy little idea to host a conference for pastors on failure. We called it the Epic Fail Pastors Conference. Last spring we hosted our first-ever event in Philadelphia. Last month, we hosted the second Epic Fail Pastors Conference in Mansfield, OH.
After the event, our planning team was even more convinced the Epic Fail Pastors Conference idea needs to continue. The amount of healing and courageous honesty around the concepts of pain, hurt, failure and shame was incredibly redemptive and hopeful. Our desire all along has simply been to steward this crazy idea as well and as wisely as we can. With what we’ve experienced thus far, we need to continue to offer these types of events.
And so, we’re announcing an exciting shift in our approach: we’re decentralizing the Epic Fail Pastors Conference.
One of the things we’ve realized is that as beneficial as a centralized yearly conference on failure for pastors can be, it actually keeps many pastors from attending, especially those who need to be at the event the most. So, moving forward, instead of “you come to us” we’re structuring these events so it’s “we come to you.” We, in a sense, are taking Epic Fail Pastors Events on the road.
Several pastors contacted us the past few months leading up to EFPC 2012, saying they deeply desired to attend, but with a minimal – or non-existent – ministry budget, financially they just couldn’t make it work. Yes, $89 for a conference was incredibly reasonable, but by the time they totaled up a flight, hotel room for a few nights, meals, rental car and gas, even if we offered the conference for free, they told us, it was still cost prohibitive.
In addition to these conversations, we were invited to lead an event in Colorado Springs last month called the Epic Fail Pastors Roundtable, a truncated version of last year’s conference. It was incredibly hopeful, the hosts were fantastic and the time incredibly with 60 pastors and leaders was fruitful. At that point, the gears in our heads started turning and we began to believe that a decentralized regional shift in approach was the best way to steward this idea moving forward.
We sense that there are numerous regions around the country where pockets of pastors feel like failures. This makes sense financially as well as relationally.
- Financially, our Epic Fail Pastors events team would come to you in your region, thus bringing the cost down significantly for each individual pastor who attends. If they live in the region, it eliminates the cost of a flight, rental car and a few nights in a hotel. This is crucial, as most pastors who are interested in Epic Fail do not have the luxury of having access to a large mega-church ministry conference budget to work with.
- Relationally, pastors who live in the region either (a) already know each other or (b) have the opportunity to connect rather easily after the event is over. With such courageous vulnerability and healing at the event, we sense there is a powerful bond that could be build long after the event is finished. We desire to see bonds and friendships developed among pastors within their region that goes well beyond the walls of their own church and things more in terms of relationships across the city/region.
We’re structuring the Epic Fail Pastors events in various formats in order to provide different expressions of Epic Fail that may address the particular context of that region. There are three specific expressions we’re offering:
 Epic Fail Pastors One Day: a one-day event where I come to facilitate and lead the day in your particular region.
 Epic Fail Pastors Roundtable: a evening and one full day event where myself and our Epic Fail Pastors events director facilitate, host and lead the event.
 Epic Fail Pastors Conference: a three-day event where our Epic Fail Pastors planning team is present to facilitate, host and lead the event in greater depth.
We’ve shared this idea with pockets of people and thus far we also have serious interest and discussion with the leaders in the following locations who want to bring an Epic Fail Pastors event to their region in the near future:
There is even talk of an Epic Fail People’s Event to be held in New Orleans since all of us (not just pastors) experience failure.
Our planning team has worked long and hard to work through all of the details and logistics of the three expressions of events, as well as capture exactly what is required for a regional event to occur. The more we work on it, the more excited we become.
But here’s how this works moving forward:
We’ve developed a detailed information packet for anyone interested in knowing more about bringing an Epic Fail Pastors event to your area. This new vision only works if a leader or pastor who wants to see an Epic Fail Pastors event in their particular region of the country steps up and contacts us.
We’re convinced there are too many pastors in too many regions of the country struggling with their own failures and desperately in need of safe spaces to process failure, pain, hurt and shame in light of the grace of Jesus and the hope-filled power of the gospel.
We’d love to hear from you and talk about bringing this idea to your community.
If you’re interested in knowing more – or have questions – we’re ready to move forward on these plans and would love to talk to you about an Epic Fail Event in your neck of the woods.
If interested, contact Epic Fail Pastors Events Director Jason Sheffield at email@example.com