I often get a few phone calls every year from education ministers or discipleship pastors asking me what would be the best conference they could go to this year. These requests make complete sense with both limited budgets and limited time away for the folks that lead the small group organizations in the local church. Time and money are at a premium.
For 2018, I can answer this question without hesitation – BACE 2018 (or #BACE2018 for you social media types). BACE 2018 is fully loaded and is coming to Oklahoma City April 5-6 at Quail Springs Baptist Church. In my opinion, the BACE Conference is the clear #1 choice for educators/disciplers in 2018. Here’s why…
Most conferences have one, maybe two keynote speakers. BACE has five (5) keynotes this year. Any one of these speakers alone could keynote a conference (and have!) It’s not just about the speakers, but their topics follow the theme, Take the Lead. Here’s a look at the BACE keynotes:
What do you do when the government passes a law that violates your personal and corporate values, and the result is a daily fine of $2.5 million. Yes, 2 1/2 million dollars in fines every day that you are in violation. Steve Green, President and CEO of Hobby Lobby knows exactly what this is like. He is the concluding keynote speaker for BACE and his topic is Courageous Leadership.
LifeWay’s Michael Kelley (pictured at right) will speak on the personal leadership of the church’s small group staff member. As the personal leadership of the church’s point person for small groups go… so go the groups! (as you go, we go!)
Your small group leaders look to you for leadership. Tom McCormick of Hope Church-Las Vegas will challenge you to build strong groups. By the way, Tom’s church is ministering to hundreds of people since the fatal shootings in Las Vegas.
The people we lead and serve will generally do what we expect them to do. Dr. Lawless is going to raise the bar on what we expect of our group leaders and the people we have in our small groups.
Ron has personally planted two churches and is revitalizing another. Ministry doesn’t grow and the Gospel does not advance if we cling to our ministry. Get ready as Ron challenges you to give your ministry away to those you lead.
The Variety of the Breakout Sessions
The breakout sessions are all focused on helping us grow in our leadership. Topics include personal, organizational, men, women, students, children, next gen, and yes… even the spiritual leadership of the church’s small groups.
BACE won’t be a talkathon. Randy and Lauren Faram (pictured at right) will lead us in worship at every general session. Both are leaders at Edmond’s First Baptist, where Randy is the student pastor and Lauren is the worship leader in the church’s modern worship service.
Tracks for Students and Childhood Church Leaders
Mark Jones and Jeff DeGiacomo have put together breakout tracks just for student and childhood pastors. The church’s small group and discipleship ministry does not only revolve around the leader of adult groups, the student and childhood leaders are also critical to church’s mission of making disciples.
Breakouts for Leading Women and Men
Men and women generally face different issues in our churches. Men need to be challenged, and women need respect for their unique gifts, talents, and leadership abilities. There are breakouts on how to engage the men and women in groups who are basically unchallenged or unemployed by the church. As the church educator, we need to learn how to lead both genders without bias.
Balancing Sunday School and Small Groups Strategies
Rick Howerton and Tom McCormick are two strong proponents of home groups. Jeff Young of Prestonwood leans toward the Sunday School model. And this conference has breakouts for everything in between.
I am thrilled with the variety of leaders. We have veterans of the groups movement, as well as the leaders from the younger generation leading breakouts. One breakout leader is 28 years of age! The BACE Conference also has a multi-generational balance of leaders, and also men and women leading conferences (and in worship). BACE will be an opportunity to not only hear, but also connect with leaders of all ages and group styles. One thing I like about the BACE Conference this year is it recognizing the value of women and young adults who are rising to the occasion in local churches and involving these leaders in the conference leadership and topics.
On Wednesday, there is an Academic Pre-Conference that will feature seminary students presenting their dissertations. It’s great stuff with the presentations in the morning, and then shifting to group dialogues in the afternoon. As a Southern Baptist and an educator myself, I am thrilled to see participation at BACE from our seminaries. In fact, over 40 seminary students are already coming to #BACE2018. Wanna meet the next generation of educators… come to #BACE2018!
Networking and Mentoring
Meet other people with a passion for making disciples through groups. One of the great things this year’s BACE Conference has to offer is this opportunity to connect with other leaders, some similar to you, some maybe not so similar. Hear and learn how other people form groups and make disciples at their church. Pick up on some training ideas that you can implement at your place. Find or become a mentor. The mentoring relationship often takes chemistry, and meeting people in person builds relationship.
Leave any comments or questions you may have in the comments section below.