I have been to pastors’ conferences and T4G conferences alone. They are good, but not great. Fellowship is a necessary part of making conferences great. To talk about good points and better points and of course, the best points galvanizes the experience. To talk over lunch and dinner and to hear how the songs or sermons spoke deeply to our souls is crucial.
I have attended every T4G conference since the beginning. I have great memories from those. My most memorable moment was a sermon by Ligon Duncan on Elijah. It changed my life. I was shocked when that sermon was mentioned at the last conference by Mark Dever (I believe) as one of his favorite sermons ever. I look forward to making more memories.
8. Meet Ups
Like most pastors, I have colleagues across the U.S. that I rarely get to see. I look forward to seeing some of those that I haven’t seen in months or even years. Meet ups are always fun.
7. Break Out Sessions
There is always something to learn and ways to grow. The break out sessions are top notch, led by top notch pastors, teachers, and theologians.
6. Men Singing
Yes, there are women who go to this conference, but probably less than 20%. The vast majority at this conference are men, and to hear thousands of men raising their voices to sing is literally awesome. If one just sits back a moment and takes it in, they will be awe-struck (at least I am).
5. Q&A Time
After every couple of sermons, a time for Q&A comes, and those who had just spoken are usually (though not always) on the platform answering those questions. It amazes me how quickly and, often times, profoundly the answers come for those questions. Of course, there is always that comical moment when no one wants to go first.
These last four could go in any order.
4. The Bookstore
One massive Christian bookstore with good books, old and new. This year, I hear there are two of these bad boys. I can’t wait!
3. The Songs
Bob Kauflin has been leading the worship since the beginning of T4G and he surely does so with much prayer and planning. He is a treasure to the Christian community. Usually half of the songs I have never heard, but I immediately fall in love with them and have to have at least a few worked into our church’s rotation. They are always rich with theology and carry a wonderful melody.
2. The Speakers
Yes, these are celebrity pastors, but there is a reason they are celebrity pastors. I would say that not one of them sought out the celebrity status, but God has blessed them with extraordinary talents/giftings. They are just human, I know. Yet they are used mightily by God to change the lives of thousands (perhaps millions) of people. As I said, Ligon Duncan’s sermon on Elijah changed my life.
1. Free Books
Is that bad? My number one reason for being excited is for free books. That’s just wrong, isn’t it? Oh well. I am who I am. The conference may be a tad on the expensive side, but the amount of free books one gets completely outweighs the cost of going to the conference. There is something tangible to be brought home on top of that all the great spiritual truths and amazing songs. It’s all good. That’s why I said the last four could be in any order.
How about you? Are you going to T4G? What are you excited about? How many times have you been?