Conquering Christian Conferences: How do we deal with going home?

There are many choices available to the Christian when it comes to summer. You may like to go abroad to do mission. You may like to serve in your church. You may like to have the summer off being a Christian and go on a secular holiday. But the choice for many of us is to go to a conference or festival. It was New Wine and Momentum which were the Christian conferences of choice for me this year. I have to be honest and say that Momentum is a choice every year without fail for me.

But two days ago, I returned from Momentum. And, as any Christian would know, it is the following two weeks or so that Post-Christian-Conference-Blues sets in. A complete lack of enthusiasm to do anything, a general low, and a very overbearing spirit of tiredness and sometimes incompleteness.

And it was this disease that I currently have which has inspired me to write this post. Because the fact is that so many of us just don’t know what to do with everything we have taken away from a conference. Moreover, we don’t know how to cope without the conference or festival of choice.

I have decided, therefore, to point out some realisations that have helped me, and should help you to overcome the Post Christian Conference Blues, and to use everything you have taken away from your conference of choice for God’s glory, for your personal spiritual advancement, and for the building up of the Kingdom.

So, here we go with the realisations:

  1. We must realise that God has not called us to live in the conference world! Indeed, Christ himself has told us to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19) and it is Christ who throughout all the gospels sends out his disciples to tell people about him. The reality of conferences is that the vast majority of people who go to them do know the Lord. We can’t preach to the converted, as one saying famously puts it. Instead, conferences should be thought of as a time of refreshing and filling up, ready to go out onto the mission field whether that be our local communities or further afield. I think that this realisation is best… realised before the start of a conference rather than after.
  2. We must realise that our church will never be the same as a conference. This is such a common problem amongst Christians, which is why I think the post conference blues can be so bad. After a wonderful conference, we will go back to Church ready to take over the world. We enter church enthusiastically, hugging every single person we meet, Bible under arm and singing God’s praises as we make our way to our seat. And then the service starts. And as we sit through the service, we suddenly realise that the amazing professional band is absent, the dynamic, enthusiastic and humourous speakers aren’t at the front, and that the church isn’t full of something-thousand passionate, like minded people as yourself. That’s because conferences aren’t church… as such. Yes, when people come to conferences as Christians, that is a form of church. But the church isn’t the conference… if you see what I mean. The church is generally filled with broken, mix and match Christians. Many of whom are completely different from yourself. Many of whom haven’t been to the conferences you have. And we mistakenly forget that whilst we’ve been singing our hallelujahs to Jesus, the rest of our local church have been in the real world, being salt and light. We forget that they have probably, at some point, had a hard time during the week. It’s important to realise this before your first Sunday back at church. We mustn’t try and make our church meet our requirements based on a few days at a really cool conference.
  3. Because of realisation #2, we must realise that we have to love the Church. The reason why so many churches aren’t like conferences is because we all get into habit, routine and our enthusiasm ebbs away as daily life gets to us. If only God’s kingdom would fully come NOW we say… But the thing is that God’s kingdom hasn’t fully come yet, and until that time we must learn to love the church in its imperfect form. If only we used the enthusiasm from conferences to tell our church family how much they mean to us, how much we want to see God’s kingdom come and how we want the Holy Spirit to fill our church community. What do you think the outcome of that would be? I don’t for one minute think that your church would be the same. Some of you at this point may be thinking… “But I am using my enthusiasm and it just doesn’t work!!!”. Yes, you may well be… but too often we just charge into church and expect change over night. The purpose of conferences is to enthuse us! But that enthusiasm is something that has to stand the test of time. God loves it when we persevere for him, and I can’t think of a time in my life that God hasn’t honoured perseverance that I’ve painfully had to experience.
  4. Something which I have personally learnt from Momentum (the conference I went on this year) is that we as Christians have to realise that God answers prayer outside of the conference. I was serving on the prayer ministry team at Momentum this year and saw God answer prayer after prayer. I saw healings, prophecies and words/pictures being fulfilled by him and was utterly amazed. But the fact that I was amazed shocked me. Should we really be amazed that God answers prayer? The Bible makes it clear that we should be expectant of God answering prayer (Matthew 6:9–13; Luke 11:11; John 15:7–17; Romans 12:1–2; Galatians 5:22–23; 1 Thessalonians 5:16–22) and more amazed by the sheer fact of who God is, rather than that he answers prayer. By realising this, it empowers us to have the same Holiness when it comes to prayer in our local church. Rather than just going through the prayer motions, we start, if we are expectant, to enjoy praying in our churches and we don’t become disillusioned when we feel that prayer isn’t working. Rather,what seems to be unanswered prayer propels us to pray more earnestly and more fervently.
  5. Lastly, we must realise that God is never finished with us! By this, I mean a few things. The conferences haven’t gone forever (unless of course the Second Coming happens during the intervening year). We can easily go to more. Aside from this, God is always present and working in our churches. Who knows what the year may bring to you and your church. You may see charismatic renewal or revival or just a real joy and peace in your personal life. Of course, you may experience bad things. But through those bad things, what are you going to use from the conference that you’ve just been on to help you through? What did God teach you or what was it that he spoke to you about that you can implement to make it through times of trial?
By realising these things, I’m pretty sure that I’ll shake off my Post Christian Conference Blues pretty soon. And I’m sure, by God’s grace, that you will too. I wish all of you who’ve been to a Christian Conference/Festival this year that you really use what you’ve learnt and that God really works within you to be instrumental in the building up of your local church this year.
Maybe you want to share your best/worst conference moments this year, or discuss what you’re going to use from a conference that you’ve been on to help build the Kingdom in your local community over this coming year. How do you deal with your Post Christian Conference blues? I’d love to read your stories!

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Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about

  • A good read that I will be sure to pass along to my friends who are likely to suffer with the condition posted here.

    • Thanks Jack! Really good to hear that you benefited from the post! 🙂