What I learned at Willow Creek's Small Groups Conference

The title of this article is all wrong.

The title of this article is all wrong.

It's not that I didn't learn a lot at the Small Groups Conference at Willow Creek this year. I did. In fact, I learned more about real small group ministry than I've ever learned before. More on that later, though.

The problem is that the title is in the past tense.

I am still learning from the conference. More, perhaps, now than at the conference itself. Every time I get in my car I'm learning from the conference. Every time I call a leader on the phone, I'm learning.

At the end of the conference I bought about twenty cassette tapes of workshops and main sessions. Some of the workshops, and all of the main sessions, I attended in person were so good, I wanted to listen to them again and again, so that the ideas would become part of who I am as a small groups pastor. Other workshops I was not able to attend in person, and now I have the opportunity to listen in and glean lots of new insights from the presenters.

Head to Heart

The conference theme this year was, "Authentic Community … Real Transformation." Great title. The conference was transformational for me.

I hope this next statement does not come off sounding wrong. It will sound a bit arrogant, until you understand where I'm coming from. Here it is. I know about as much as there is to know about small groups. I might know as much as anyone in the country. I've read lots and lots of books and articles. Written quite a few too. I've gone to so many small group seminars and conferences and workshops I've lost count. Led many of them as well. I have experience leading small groups and small group ministries in churches. Going to a conference to learn more about small groups was not why I was attending.

I attended because I was searching ...

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