Laura Treneer

Mar 20, 2024, 10:00 AM

Christian conferences - to go or not to go?

With Easter falling so early this year (fun fact – there will be another Valentine’s/Ash Wednesday mash up in five years’ time), there is more unbroken time in the calendar before the summer break. This could be an ideal opportunity for networking, learning and broadening horizons by attending some events and conferences. For senior leaders of Christian charities, this can add further complexity to planning the calendar. So here’s a taste of what’s coming up and some questions to help you choose which ones to attend.

What’s on

Westminster Chapel has just hosted both Ekklesia and the Everything Conference, “to connect and to learn from one another about transforming culture”; and coming up we have national conferences like Spring Harvest (1st-5th and 8th-12th April) and Big Church Festival (25th-26th May), denominational events like On Fire Mission (29th April -2nd May) and the Baptist Assembly (17th-19th May), more niche gatherings like The Forge (17th-19th April) for children and families workers, and Hutchmoot UK (9th-12th May) for creatives.

More explicitly on leadership there’s the national Leadership Conference (6th-7th May) at the Royal Albert Hall and, for members of Global Connections, there was a recent forum for CEOs.

Choosing which events to attend

Post-Covid, the appetite for in-person events continues to increase. For the extroverts among us, the diary can fill up quickly. To make sure you keep your commitments manageable while making the most of what’s on offer, ask yourself the following questions.

Q: Could it be an opportunity to spend some quality time with someone?

In the day-to-day, especially when we’re working remotely, we miss the opportunity for eating and ‘fellowship’ together. Events give a good excuse for spending unhurried time, perhaps with peers from other charities, or invited staff members or trustees.

Q: Can I exhibit?

It’s not always possible but it’s always worth asking if you have something relevant to contribute to delegates. When the opportunity is presented, is the costs can vary, so explore it carefully. The sponsorship or partnership packages might give more options than just lugging the pull-up banner out of the boot. If you do exhibit, remember to build in time to visit the other exhibitors.

Is it a good time for spiritual and social refreshment?

Many Christian events and conferences include time for worship and prayer. They are a time out from your usual responsibilities, and a time to hear from God. There are social connections I have made entirely unexpectedly at conferences, which have endured for years.

Will the subject give me a better or broader perspective on our work?

If you know what every speaker is going to say, and especially if you’ve heard them talk on the subject before, maybe mix it up a bit! Try an event from a different tradition as a way to listen and learn. Find out what others in your context are doing.

And finally, if you go, make the most of it: be curious, be relaxed, be prayerful and see what God has prepared for you in it. Who knows, it might be just what you didn’t know you needed.



Laura Treneer

Laura Treneer is a communications strategy consultant. She started her career as a brand manager in educational publishing, developed networks for The Prince’s Trust and is the former CEO of communications charity CPO, where she published a series of books on church communications for BRF. Recently Laura has provided research, strategy insight and training for a wide range of charities in the Christian sector.

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