I am getting ready to head to Columbus, Ohio for a one-of-a-kind event: LifeServe 2010. And I am pumped!
“What is LifeServe,” you ask? Last year, Group Publishing’s Church Volunteer Central partnered with The Externally Focused Network to offer the only national conference dedicated to missional-minded equipping practitioners. Last year approximately 80% of the participants traveled more than 500 miles to attend the conference in Loveland, Colorado. The decision was made to move the venue to a more central location for 2010, and the registrations for this year have almost doubled that of last year. Last I heard, they were nearing the 800 mark! Incredible!
What makes this conference so special? Everything about it is geared to help leaders equip their people for ministry that is transformational, both for the individual and for the community. There are more than 50 workshops that speak to every aspect of volunteer management, as well as leadership development, the unique needs of non-profit organizations, becoming externally-focused, and so much more! I am blessed to be included with such well-known writers/presenters as Rick Rusaw, Erik Swanson, Erik Rees, and John Stahl-Wert, just to name a few.
One highlight of the conference is the Affinity Groups that meet each afternoon, creating a space for folks to share what they are learning in the context of their particular “affinity”: children’s ministry, youth ministry, pastors, veteran equippers, beginning equippers, non-profit leaders, etc.—15 Affinity Groups in all. The leaders of these groups have developed some great strategies for helping their participants connect and develop a network of support that will outlast the conference itself.
Then there are the general sessions in the evening, always a celebration of what God is doing in our midst! Great worship music… and Theater Off the Cuff is opening each night for the keynote speakers: Debi Nixon, Harvey Carey, and Alan Hirsch. Believe me, everyone goes home with useful tools for their equipping toolbox!
But you know my very favorite part of the whole conference? It’s not the inspiring speakers or the informative workshops, as wonderful as they are. The part I’m really looking forward to is building relationships… with people I will meet for the first time, with folks whom I only know through e-mail or phone, with my faithful and fearless friends and partners in the TeamCVC network. For three wonderful days I will be in heaven-on-earth, sharing my passion for equipping with other like-minded practitioners who are as excited as I am that we get to invest in people, encouraging them to be the serving ministers God has created them to be!
If you are in Columbus this week (Wednesday thru Friday), stop by the Hyatt Conference Center and check out LifeServe 2010. If Columbus isn’t on your itinerary for this week, make sure you visit http://lifeserve.group.com and get LifeServe 2011 on your calendar. (The information will be up on the website as soon as the 2010 conference is over.) Next year’s venue? Louisville, Kentucky! Don’t miss it!