When I was in college, I read a great book called Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels. The book had a profound effect on me based on one simple mantra Hybels laid out: the local church is the hope of the world. I came to agree with Hybels and since that time I’ve given my life to edifying the church, both mine and others. Whether I’m preaching, administrating, pioneering, singing, or photocopying, understanding the significance of the church has centered and fueled all that I do in ministry.
With the local church in mind, I want to encourage those of you involved in worship, media, and the arts in the Northeast U.S. to consider coming to The Forge Conference. Conferences are everywhere these days, and to be fair I’ve put on my own and still participate in others. Every conference has a different thrust, but The Forge Conference is unique because of its focus. It focuses on small churches; ironically that means it focuses on the majority of churches in the United States. Stats show that most churches in America are under 200 people. The problem is many of the conferences offered nowadays are by churches or ministries that are way larger than 200. Growth is good, but my point is that it’s sometimes impractical for Bob in a church of 100 people to attend a workshop about some ministry concept when the speaker’s paid church staff is bigger than Bob’s entire church. It also perpetuates the lie that small churches are insignificant. I’m glad pilots don’t think I’m insignificant just because I’m on a plane that isn’t packed. It’s too bad many Christians feel that way about small churches…especially their own! Small is significant to God. Do some Bible study in Zechariah 4, but for now here’s a great verse: “For who has despised the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:9)
The Forge Conference equips people who don’t necessarily have equipment and encourages individuals who may be the entire worship or tech team of their church. Beyond that, it facilitates community and an environment where relationships can be cultivated, something that all church leaders need…big church or not. I was at the first Forge Conference in 2010 and developed friendships with people I otherwise never would have had I not gone. I’d say they are worth more than the $99 I spent to attend. Hope to see you this year at the Forge Conference!
Ocean Grove, NJ