2022 Leadership Conference Explores Shifting Discipleship
Nashville, TN—December 5-6, 256 pastors and ministry leaders from 25 states and a Canadian province gathered at Sonesta Nashville Airport, for one of the largest Leadership Conferences in the meeting’s history. Attendees enjoyed two days packed with intense training, inspiration, fellowship, and business. Keynote sessions featured bestselling author and pastor Robby Gallaty who explored the theme “DiscipleShift.”
During Monday’s opening session, Gallaty challenged leaders to care for their own discipleship needs in preparation to disciple others. He pointed listeners back to the basics of discipleship: spending time alone with God and His Word, seeking silence and solitude despite busy schedules that make this feel impossible. “Every great movement of God starts by not moving,” he concluded.
On Tuesday, Gallaty tackled five common myths that can become barriers to effective discipleship in the church:
- Activity = transformation.
- Ministry excellence = excellent ministry.
- Teaching = training.
- Filling spots = empowering people.
- Church impact = ministry ownership.
To remove these barriers, Gallaty urged church leaders to become hero makers, who make the church a training center to empower individual members to embrace a discipleship plan they own.
During Q&A following each keynote session, Gallaty answered difficult and challenging questions about being a disciple and about making disciples. His honest (sometimes blunt) answers were perhaps as helpful to listeners as his messages.
In addition to keynote sessions, 14 seminar speakers delivered timely sessions addressing a wide range of discipleship topics from strategies for discipleship to discipleship across generations, the role of the pastor’s wife in discipleship, cross cultural effectiveness in discipleship, and more. The seminar program included new tracks especially for women and Spanish speakers, leading to high attendance numbers for both groups, including 42 women, the largest number ever to attend the meeting.
Conference Director Ryan Lewis reflected, “In a year where the conference theme was ‘DiscipleShift,’ attendees were challenged both personally and practically to change their thinking in how they reach those within their circle of influence and help them grow in the faith.”
The two-day conference featured much more than strategy and training. Ballrooms buzzed with animated conversation during banquet-styled meals, and in-depth discussions continued long after meals and sessions concluded, spilling over into the hallways and common areas of the hotel.
Various boards and committees also met in conjunction with the conference, including the Board of Retirement; the Executive Committee; Free Will Baptist Foundation; IM, Inc; North American Ministries; Randall House; Welch College; WNAC; and state leaders.
Tennessee Pastor Matt Honeycutt expressed enthusiasm about his experience: “I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to the Leadership Conference each year. From seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones, to gaining insights in the breakout sessions and hearing keynote speakers, the Leadership Conference fills an important need.”
Executive Secretary Eddie Moody announced December 4-5, 2023, as the dates for next year’s meeting. Author and veteran pastor and church planter Mark Clifton will be featured as the speaker, exploring the theme, “Reclaiming Glory: Hope for Our Churches.”
Visit this webpage throughout the year for more updates regarding the 2023 conference.
Audio recordings of Tuesday morning seminars will be made available on this page soon.