Here in Lancaster, we’re in the midst of preparation for Spiritual Leadership Conference just a few short weeks away. Our to do lists are long, and our anticipation is high.

But the hosts of a conference aren’t the only ones who should prepare. One of the things I always pray for our delegates is that God will use this meeting to meet needs in your lives. For that to happen, it helps if you prepare as well.

What can you do to gain the most from a conference like Spiritual Leadership Conference? Here are seven suggestions:

  1. Pray. This may seem too obvious to even mention, but sometimes we forget the most obvious! Begin asking the Lord to prepare your heart for what you’ll receive, the various speakers’ hearts as they prepare their messages and sessions, and to work in your life in a great way through the conference.
  2. Consider your areas of need. What do you hope to leave the conference with? What areas are you struggling in personally as a leader? Where do you feel you’ve hit a wall in your ministry? What questions do you have for other leaders? Where do you need encouragement or specific help? As you think through these questions before you come, you’ll be more sensitive to recognize the help that God brings through the conference—whether it comes during one of the preaching services, through fellowship at a meal, or by you choosing to attend a specific session.
  3. Review a list of available sessions. Take advantage of the list of sessions on our website so you can already be considering which sessions would be of most value to you. Some churches find it helpful to review the session list ahead so various staff members can attend different sessions and give insights to each other later.
  4. Invite a friend, and look for a friend. One of the blessings of a conference like Spiritual Leadership Conference is the sharpening, encouraging fellowship with other spiritual leaders. Invite another pastor or leader to join you at the conference, and also look for someone to encourage during the conference.
  5. Plan ahead. Do all you can to have your personal life organized before you leave, so you don’t have to worry about if you sent in the electric bill or who is feeding your dog while you’re gone. Settle everything you can as early as you can.
  6. Prepare ahead for the Sunday following the conference. Even though the conference ends Wednesday evening, you may want to enjoy Southern California for a couple days (including the Leo Walther golf tournament) before you head back home. Either way, if you can have your Sunday messages or Sunday school lessons largely prepared before you leave, you’ll give yourself margin to take care of any needs that arose while you were gone and space to process what the Lord did in your heart through the conference. Try not to come back from a renewing, refreshing time only to stay up until 2:00 a.m. preparing Sunday’s messages.
  7. Expect God to work. If you are coming with a prayerful heart, come also with an expectant heart. Expect God to work in your heart, give you answers for the challenges you are facing, and to strengthen your faith. Every year, pastors leave saying, “This was my last hope before giving up on the ministry in discouragement, and God powerfully used this conference to help me.” I hope you’re not about to give up on the ministry, but I am praying that whatever your need is, God will use Spiritual Leadership Conference as part of His answer. He can!

If you have not yet registered for the conference, it’s not too late. You can find more info and register at

Also know that we—myself, our church family, and staff—are praying for you and looking forward to serving you.

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