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Top 8 Conferences Every Christian Leader Must Attend

January 7, 2014 51 Comments
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I’m a conference junkie. I can’t help it. I have gained enormous value from attending conferences at least a few times a year. Since I wrote my article “10 Tips to Maximize Your Conference Experience,” many people have asked me which conferences they should attend. So, here’s my top eight conferences I’m recommending for every Christian leader. Please note that I haven’t attended all of these conferences yet. Some of them are based on the great testimonials and recommendations from friends and colleagues.

Catalyst Conference

catalyst-conference

2014 Theme: Leading from Who You Are

Website: http://catalystconference.com/

Date: Catalyst West (April 2–4); Catalyst Dallas: (April 30–May 2); Catalyst Atlanta: (October 1–3)

Why You Should Attend!

Catalyst is simply the best leadership conference I have ever attended hands down! Catalyst is a powerful gathering of young leaders, a movement of influencers and world changers who love Jesus, see things differently, and feel a burden for our generation. Catalyst has been described many ways, but once you’ve experienced it, you’ll call it what they call it—pure leadership adrenaline.

Leadership has been the topic of focus for the Catalyst brand since inception. Catalyst and the annual Conferences provide a wide cover for addressing a variety of topics specific to Next Generation Leaders, including organizational leadership, personal leadership, integrity, character, relationships, and teamwork, among others.

One cool perk is FREE books dozens of publishing companies give away like candy.  Last year, I got more than 15 free books, all free! Besides that, there’s lots of fun entertainment and cool things to do that keep you from getting bored.

Notable Speakers: John Maxwell, Andy Stanley, Malcolm Gladwell, Dave Ramsey, Jon Acuff, Christine Cain, Francis Chan, Simon Sinek etc.

Pricing: $249 (early bird registration), $299 (regular price) Note: prices vary for each location and timing of your ticket purchase) 

Center for Work and Faith Conference

CFW_GC

2014 Theme: Re-imagining Work – Not as the Source but as the Expression of our Humanity

Website: http://www.faithandwork.org/cfwconference/

Date: November 7-8, 2014

Why You Should Attend!

The CWF Conference is a unique opportunity to learn how to amplify your influence as young Christian professional in our workplace. Founded and sponsored by Timothy Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church, the annual conference encourages societal leaders’ discernment of God at work in the world. The fact of the matter is work is an expression of humanity not as the exclusive source of our identity. Too many young Christians have been enslaved by the demoralizing effects of work. Through inspiring speakers and shared experiences and responses to this work, you’ll experience His transforming grace as well as practical pointers on how to be salt and light of this world.

Notable Speakers: Dr. Timothy Keller, Mark C. Crowley, David Kim, Julia Easterlin, Dr. Julia Wattacheril, MD, MPH, David Chang etc.

Pricing: $99 (Now – June 30, 2014); $139.00 (July 1 –  September 20); $169.00 (September 21 – October 18); $189.00 (October 19 – November 7)

SCORRE Conference

SCORRE Conference

2014 Theme: Prepare with Focus, Deliver with Confidence, Speak with Power

Website: http://www.scorreconference.tv/index.html

Date:  May 5-8, 2014

Why You Should Attend!

Michael Hyatt says “this is the single best conference I have ever attended. I use what I learned every single day. If you are a communicator, this conference will help you prepare with focus, deliver with confidence, and speak with power.” I haven’t had the chance yet to attend the conference, but I heard extremely positive reviews particularly with its specific delivery techniques and personal attention where you will prepare and deliver one speech a day followed by one-on-one coaching by expert trainers. You will discover how to find and effectively use powerful illustrations and inspire your audience to action.  You will learn to prepare powerfully focused, crystal clear talks and then deliver them with confidence and power.

Notable Speakers: Michael Hyatt and Ken Davis

Pricing: Early Bird Registration: $1397 (tuition & conference meals, lodging not included) – Save $100 $

Q Conference

q conference

2014 Theme: Q Nashville – Summit on Engaging Culture for the Common Good

Website: http://qideas.org/

Date: April 23-25, 2014

Why You Should Attend!

Q is the Christian equivalent of TED Conference. Q attendees hear thirty presentations in a concise 18, 9 or 3 minute formats. This is a place where the most influential and innovative thinkers meet from every channel of society to share the next big thing. Though the conference is relatively a big investment, this is a great networking opportunity with today’s thought-leaders. The Q Conference curates a forward-looking conversation that celebrates what’s right, imagines what’s possible and educates Christians on how they are meant to play a central in God’s work to renew all things. Over the course of three days, Q introduces participants to myriad topics presented by over fifty experts. Their ideas have been selected to heighten our awareness and challenge our creativity as we consider our roles, individually and corporately, in shaping culture. Though this may seem like a big financial investment, it is much inexpensive compared to TED ($7,500), The Summit Series ($4000) or The Aspen Institute ($2750)

Notable Speakers: Jason Russel, Mark Burntt, Dr. Kara E. Powell, Jessica Rey, Rebekah Lyons, Rich Stearns, Margaret Feinberg, Brad Lomenick, David Kinnaman etc.

Pricing: $825 (Early Bird Discount)

Leadercast

Simply-Lead1

2014 Theme: Beyond You

Website: http://leadercast.com/

Date: May 9, 2014

Why You Should Attend!

Chick-fil-A Leadercast is a one-day broadcast live from Atlanta to over 100,000 leaders around the globe. Unlike many conferences, you don’t have to travel outside of your city. You can find a host site that will simulcast the conference LIVE. This makes the price point very affordable (somewhere around $50-$100) depending on when you purchase the ticket. I have invited several friends to attend this event together which made the learning even better. The best part of the conference is the amazing line up of world renowned speakers.

Notable Speakers: Dr. Henry Cloud, Jack Welch, Andy Stanley, Malcolm Gladwell, Simon Sinek, Laura Bush, Randall Wallace etc.

Pricing: Very affordable. Around $60-90 for simulcast. For LIVE event, usually around $250+

Storyline Conference

storyline

2014 Theme: Come and Plan a Meaningful Life

Website: http://storylineblog.com/conferences/sandiego2014/

Date: February 28 – March 1

Why You Should Attend!

Storyline conference is a unique conference that helps you rethink your entire life. You will leave this conference with greater clarity around your life, answering questions like “Who are you?” “What makes you tick, what lies do you believe about yourself, what do you really want to bring into the world after you stop people pleasing? You will leave the conference with a working plan. You’ll enter a proven process and work through more than one-hundred pages of material and 30 day process to lock in what you’ve learned. Overall, you will become more attuned to who you are and understand how God has formed with you His purpose.

Notable Speakers: Don Miller, Bob Goff, Jon Acuff, Anne Lamott etc.

Pricing: Storyline has the most unique pricing structure of any conference on the planet. They are the first to offer a “pay what you want” system. The minimum payment is $45. You can pay a lot more based on your willingness to pay for the value.

The Global Leadership Summit

lead_2010

2014 Theme: Lead Where You Are

Website: http://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/

Date: August 14-15, 2014

Why You Should Attend!

The Global Leadership Summit is a two-day, world-class leadership event experienced by more than 170,000 leaders around the world, representing more than 14,000 churches. It’s telecast LIVE from Willow’s campus (near Chicago) every August. The mission of the conference is to transform Christian leaders around the world with an injection of vision, skill development and inspiration for the sake of the local church.  I would call this a more robust, intensive, and longer version of Chick-fil-A Leadercast.

Notable Speakers: Bill Hybels, Collin Powell, Patrick Lencioni, Mark Burnett, Henry Cloud, Bob Goff, Andy Stanley

Pricing: Individual Rate $249

The Platform Conference

platform

Theme: Helping You Get Noticed in a Noisy World

Website: http://www.platformconference.tv/

Date: TBA (November 2014)

Why You Should Attend!

The market is more crowded than ever. Worse, people are more distracted than ever. To succeed, you need a platform. The Platform Conference is designed to give you an unfair advantage in launching or building yours. Whatever message you’d like to share you need one thing, PLATFORM. This is arguably the best conference that will give you specific and practical advice and material on how to amplify your influence and platform. You’ll learn how to avoid the common pitfalls that stop most from realizing their full potential. This conference provides an effective framework for making sense out of social media and understanding how to prioritize (and maximize) your activity. You’ll know how to leverage your platform to further God’s Kingdom.

Notable Speakers: Michael Hyatt, Ken Davis, Michele Cushatt, Jeff Goins, Ray Edwards, Derek Halpern etc

Pricing: Ranging from $897 to $1997

Question: What conference did I miss that every Christian leader must attend?

About the Author:

Paul Sohn is an organizational chiropractor, purpose weaver, and kingdom-minded catalyst. Paul currently serves at The Boeing Company as a LEAN practitioner, providing expertise in continuous improvement initiatives, building high-performing teams and processes to create effective organizations. Paul also serves as an organizational consultant and Board Director at the Portland Leadership Foundation. He is writing his forthcoming book on how to live intentionally as a twenty-something. Paul received a Bachelor of Commerce degree at University of British Columbia in 2010. Above all, Paul’s vision is to turn the world upside down by equipping, connecting, and transforming emerging Christian leaders and organizations.
  • drjimharris

    Great list Paul. Between your list an mine, we’ve got many great conferences covered. Thanks for your work here. Love following you my friend.

    • Lavonya Jones

      Where can I find your list Dr. Harris?

      • drjimharris

        My post today at http://www.ToaHigherLevel.com – register for my blogs and you receive a free eBook “Lenshift: The Key to Transformational Leadership” (shifting our lens from secular to sacred). Thanks Lavonya for asking (I guess I really owe Paul now!)

        • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

          Sounds great Jim! The need for shifting the focus from secular to sacred is so needed!

        • Lavonya Jones

          Thank you!

      • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

        Lavonya – Jim is a person you definitely want to follow. He shares our Kingdom-minded vision. You’ll enjoy his insightful posts on leadership as a Christian professional.

        • Lavonya Jones

          Thanks Paul! I have definitely added him to my list of favorite blogs!

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      Absolutely. I hope to attend all these conferences and share those insights with our readers. Stay tuned!

  • Lavonya Jones

    This is awesome Paul! Thank you for this!

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      Thanks Lavonya! Hope I get to see you this year again. Perhaps we can arrange something together for us to attend a conference! It’ll be epic.

      • Lavonya Jones

        Absolutely! Working on my calender for the year. I should have it finalized by the end of the month and we’ll see what we can do to make that happen.

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

    Great list of conferences here on this list. I am going to have to attend a few others than the one on the list that I attended last year. Thanks for sharing these conferences Paul, and you are correct every Christian Leader should attend them all or whatever they can this year. I know I will.

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      Awesome Lincoln. Let me know how the Robert Kiyosaki conference goes! What is the main topic and theme for that one?

      • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

        Thanks Paul. He will be speaking about the Business of the 21st Century, and how we all need to do Business like its the 21st Century and stop with 20th Century tactics. I can’t wait.

      • Guest

        Same Here.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Lincoln, you’re in Georgia. Have you ever attended the Catalyst Conference?

      • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

        I have never Joe. I was planning to this past event last year but had something come up. I won’t miss it this year. I think they have a 1 day coming up soon in Atlanta I want to attend. What are your thoughts on it?

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          We’ve gone to the big Catalyst event in Atlanta for the last 3 years. Well worth the 12 hour drive we have to take. If you’re that close, it’s a no brainer.

          • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

            Absolutely. I won’t miss it this year.

          • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

            If you do, let me know and we can plan to meet up. Would love to finally meet you.

          • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

            Same here Joe.

          • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

            Awesome! I hope to see you there brother! Finally, I can meet my brother from a different but the same FATHER?! ;)

          • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

            Definitely Paul. It will be great to meet you too in person and hang with you Both.

          • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

            Hey Joe! I hope to see you there as well. Do you know how I could sign up for the Catalyst blogger team?

          • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

            Send the team at Catalyst an email. They randomly sent me an email last year.

  • http://www.reflectionsfromthealley.org/ Dave Arnold

    Great list!

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      Thanks for reading Dave! :)

  • Peter C

    Perhaps see you at one of these?

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      Yes, that’d be great. Any one in particular that interests you Peter?

      • Peter C

        Catalyst looks very interesting – do you plan to go to that this year?

        • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

          Yes Peter. Catalys Atlanta hopefully – it is the best by far!

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Thanks for including our conferences, Paul. Awesome. I have been to most of the others as well. They are all great!

    • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

      Wow, I’m surprised that you have been to most of these conferences! I know I’ve heard you talk about the SCORE conference too which is one I’d like to attend sometime but it might have to wait a few years.

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      Thank you Michael for your service. I’m one of the many individuals who are inspired and equipped by your good endeavor.

  • Charles Johnston

    Great list Paul, thanks for compiling them all in one place.

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      No problem Charles. Thanks for checking this post. Are you planning to attend any one of them this year?

  • Catherine Wright

    This list is very helpful. We are a host site for the Chick-fil-a Leadercast in NW Arkansas and have seen thousands of people benefit over the years. I have also attended the Work As Worship Conference in Dallas http://www.workasworshipnetwork.org/conference/ – Dr. Jim Harris has it on his list. We enjoyed it thoroughly and got a lot out of it. Thanks Paul!

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      Awesome Catherine. I love Leadercast and look forward to participating in the Work as Workship conference. Thanks for your service in bridging the Sunday anf Monday gap. It’s so needed!

  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    Paul thanks for this great list. It makes me a little frustrated that I already filled my schedule for our 10 months in the US. I’ll actually be speaking about 4 missions conferences myself and I did manage to schedule in the Shepherds Conference in LA, which will be in early March.

    I thought it’s interesting that the Global Leadership Summit also does events in Ukraine. I know that some of the leaders in my church there faithfully attend it every year.

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      Well, I think people really need to hear your story. I’m sure you’ll be able to attend many of these conferences at the right time.

  • Jonathan Morgan

    The Simply Jesus conference would be top of my list…
    http://www.simplyjesusgathering.com/

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      Thanks Jonathan for introducing me to this conference. It looks like a great conference. You can’t go wrong when you have N.T. Wright.

  • Ginger Edwards

    Great list. One suggestion. Perhaps I missed it, but this “At a Glance” type list would have been more helpful for those on a tight budget if there was easy to find location info, perhaps listed next to the dates.

    • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

      Great feedback Ginger. It helps to know how people would like to view the information at a glance. Thanks!

  • Bereanman

    Yeah, the Super Christian conferences in the link below are PRICEY! I see that Andy Stanley is involved with most of them. Does this mean he is not at his own church a half a dozen times a year? Not sure. Maybe he is at these conferences as an “image” or in video and really does tend to his own flock (in his defense, I’m sure he is in demand and I don’t want to vilify the brother).

    On the other hand, some of the best Christian conferences are free or not too expensive. Mt. Hermon in California comes to mind.

    The guy that sponsors this site on conferences–Paul Sohn–seems well-intentioned enough but probably has zero formal Christian education. He is probably far more familiar with studying the way of Wall Street than the way of the cross. Looks like most of these conferences are just dressed-up self help. No wonder our churches are drenched in self-help guru-isms–it’s how today’s church leaders are groomed.

    If they want to have power in their teaching, why not open the pages of God Holy Word and shout it from the mountain tops! We lack God’s Word today. I don’t think we need any more gurus and new age John Maxwell business leadership training and platform building.

    Isn’t this all the platform building that is needed? Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.”

    May the evangelical church in America just get back to teaching the story of God in His Holy Word. May we all be part of it. Let the persecutions come.

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    Great conferences, Paul! I’m planning on attending the Catalyst, Leadership Summit, and maybe Storyline conferences.

  • Josué Fonseca

    Thanks for your advice! In Europe we have some nice conferences too. Networking is Church future! GBY.

    • Daniel Singh

      Hi Josue, please let me know what are such conference in Europe. My id is daniel_singh_in@yahoo.com I am a church pastor from bangalore – india. thanks in advance.

  • Pingback: The Christian Conference I Would Love to Attend | A Healthy Dose of Heath

  • Geoff

    Together for the Gospel and The Gospel Coalition

  • http://investmentinkathmandu.blogspot.com/ Sooraj

    Hi Friends,

    I am from Nepal. I have been supporting two NGO’s named, Prayer House Orphan Children Home (PHOCH) and Nepal-Jersey Friendship Trust. They are doing impressive job. I was searching for a Christian Program/Conference in the U.S. in the month of November and December, 2014; so that I may visit there while I am in the U.S. We are looking for Donors from around the World to join hand with us and help Orphan Children in Nepal.

    Looking forward for suggestions and support.

    Thanking you,