I’ve never hosted a conference before and have no idea what I’m doing.
But I anticipate this will be a time that will be fruitful and significant for many people to process hurts, wounds and, in all hope, experience healing and encounter the God afresh and anew who loves them deeply anyway. At least that’s what I’m praying for those attending. I looked at the roster at those coming. Some I know their story; others I’ve never met. But the amount of hurt and wounds that will exist in the room tomorrow is a bit overwhelming to think about. This morning I heard a story that makes me grieve deeply: one person who will most likely be attending was fired by the elders of his church last night. I’m already praying for this guy.
I’m so excited for the group of experts on failure and storytellers we have lined up. A few months ago we began extending invites, asking them to be one of our storytellers and/or experts on failure. Many of them are unable to attend because of financial reasons (yes, even at $79 a hotel and a plane ticket was just too much) or scheduling conflicts or they couldn’t get off of work from their ‘real job.’ But the most significant no’s we’ve gotten were from people who said, “I’d love to come and share, but its just still too raw. I’m just not ready to open up yet. The pain is too deep. I’m not even sure I’m ready to simply sit and listen and observe, let alone share.” I can totally respect that. And my heart breaks for them.
The most frequently asked question of the entire conference – especially of those who are unable to attend – is “Will you be recording the sessions?” We will not. For two reasons:
(1) We want as many people in the room to be as fully present as possible. Having someone record, upload and administer that would keep someone from engaging fully.
(2) And most importantly, sharing raw and vulnerable stuff is hard enough in a room full of flesh-and-blood people. Having what is shared intimately and put online publicly, in a less personal/more virtual existence didn’t feel right. Plus, we’d hate for those sharing their stories to hold back and wonder who “out there” would be listening in. By not recording the sessions we feel it will create a safer environment for those attending to wrestle with failure.
By the way, if you’re still thinking about it and haven’t registered, walk-ins are welcome (though we would prefer registration on the website). But if you are a walk-in, you can pay at the door ($79 in the form of a check).
Finally, would you be willing to pray for this time? I sense that the Holy Spirit wants to bring healing, to provide a kiss on the bruises of many pastors, leaders, former pastors and seemingly non-namers.
Would you commit to praying with me for this time and those attending?