Some church planters assume they don't belong at annual meetings. But here are 5 reasons every planter should attend.
1. Networking- Because there isn’t another gathering like this in the entire state.
You will not find a collection of pastors like this anywhere in the state. You have an opportunity to rub shoulders with these leaders in a way that is not normally afforded to you. Not only this but you have people with whom you can share your story. Maybe things are going well and you have nothing but successes to share. But maybe you are struggling and a listening ear is what you need most. No matter the circumstances, having other pastors that you can connect with not only could do wonders for your plant but also for your soul. If you don’t come for any other reason, the connection with other ministers is worth the price of admission (free!).
2. Perspective- Because the kingdom is bigger than your individual plant.
In the day-to-day grind of planting a church, it is easy to forget that no one church makes up the entire kingdom. You are a part of something that is bigger than you. You are a part of a network of over 1500 churches partnered together to reach the state and beyond. Nothing demonstrates this better than the annual meeting. You will hear stories, reports, and sermons that illustrate why you are involved in a network to begin with. We believe that we can do more together than we can apart.
3. Partnership- Because opportunities to partner with other churches & entities are available.
Someone at the annual meeting needs to partner with you. Someone is not as far down the road as you are and needs your partnership! Or, you might just find another church that wants to partner with you to plant a church together. Whatever the case, this gathering is a great place to connect with others for partnership. You will hear stories about the children’s home, disaster relief, and many other ministries within the ABSC that you will be compelled to get involved with. You will find new partners and new partners will find you!
4. Connection- Because you need to have your pulse on the direction and culture of the convention you belong to and partner with.
If you don’t come to the annual meeting you can be a part of the convention but you can’t really know what the convention is all about or where it’s headed. You can have an idea about what the convention does but you can’t know who the convention is. You can see the hands of the convention but only the annual meeting reveals the heart. The best way to keep your hand on the pulse of what God is doing all around the state is during these 3 days. If we are going to partner together we should know where we are headed and what God is calling us to be about. It is difficult to speak into something and influence it if you aren’t there. The convention needs the presence and voice of planters that are connected to what’s going on.
5. Refueling- Because you need to get away and receive instead of give for a few days every now and then.
Let’s face it ministry is hard. Church planting is hard. Sometimes you just need to get away. As much as some of us need a beach vacation in the Caribbean it’s not always financially feasible. Other conferences offer great content but can be cost prohibitive as well. The annual meeting is free and is always within driving distance. The greatest cost is time and that time is well spent. In ministry you often give out with little thought to what you are taking in. You pour into people day after day but who is pouring into you? If you don’t regularly take time to refuel and refresh your heart then you will burn out. It’s good for you to sit in the audience sometimes and not on the platform. You need times when you are a worship participant and not a worship leader. Take this time and allow the Lord and others to pour into you. You need it!