No one has a conference like this…

… but we need it.

It’s called the Epic Fail Pastor’s Conference. It’s for failures.

Back in August I wrote a post on the blog called EPIC FAIL Pastors’ Conference. It was an idea (mostly theoretical) that had been stirring in me for a while that I finally found some time (and words) to tell about it.

I was blown away.

Thousands of hits.

Hundreds of emails, phone calls, text messages.

Dozens of comments.

I hadn’t posted anything that came close to the amount of traffic that I’ve gotten to this particular post.

What I found out is this: We had struck a nerve among North American pastors (and even pastors outside the US). Pastors need to spaces to talk about their failure, identity and mistakes – and little opportunity is given or allowed.

As the responses were pouring in – and the numerous people that said they would do what it takes to make this happen – we wondered if this thing might actually have some teeth to it – if we might actually be able to pull something like this off. Could we have enough courage to actually do something that hadn’t been done before?

And so. We decided to go for it.

The EPIC FAIL Pastors’ Conference will be held April 14-16, 2011 in Lansdale, PA (Greater Philadelphia Area).

The cost is $79.

No glossy fliers.

No big marketing budget.

No rental of a large arena – just a gritty bar that used to be a church (but failed).

Just purposeful space to tell stories, reflect, pray (a lot), eat meals slowly, connect with others, listen to others and take communion. We’ll have speakers experts on failure telling stories of their own failures, mistakes, sin, gaffes and screw-ups – and they’ll share how God showed up despite the failure. Hopeful. Rich. Meaningful. Significant.

And as of this morning, the website is up:www.EpicFailPastorsConference.comCheck it out – and read the vision, the hope and the purpose of why we’re hosting such an outlandish event at this location.

Am I involved in shameless promotion of this conference we’re hosting? Of course I am.

Why? Because I’m convinced that so many pastors wrestle with this idea of failure constantly –  and nobody is actually talking about it.

And so, a team of us wanted to change that.

Pastors: I want you here. You belong here. Come spend some meaningful time with us at this event.

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  • Robert A

    A great irony would be if this conference fails to meet budget and is discontinued. 🙂

    Honestly though I think its a great idea for a conference. We need to get out of our success syndrome.

  • Peter

    This looks wonderful. I would love for my wife and I to attend but I’m working that weekend. I’ll keep my eyes open for the next one though!

  • There needs to be one in every city … there are no shortages of EPIC FAIL stories — nor of stories of how God uses them to bring the Kingdom closer.

    JR — you need to put up a section in your webpage for folks to share a date for one of these in their cities. Really.

  • MikeK

    I won’t be surprised if this gets “sold out” early.

    I agree w/ Peggy: this could be reproduced across NA…

  • Fred

    It would be interesting to hear what they admit to.

  • LOVE the picture on the event site. I think it is a humorous metaphor for what many of us thought we could do and have the bruises and scars to prove it. In my book I decided to share the good the bad and the ugly of my journey into urban ministry. What has been interesting is the number of people who wrote to tell me how happy they were that I shared the stories that ended badly as well as the ones that ended hopefully. As a society, especially Christians, we do not allow space for lament. I have written extensively about this on my blog and even got into some hot water for lamenting over the brokenness of the body. But, I still think our failure to allow this kind of space is creating unhealthy outcomes in our emotional lives and our ministries. I would love to be there but am already committed that weekend. I applaud your vision and courage.

  • Cindy Baxter

    I will be interested in hearing how successful this conference is. I agree with a few others here that this type of conference is needed everywhere.

  • Ben

    I hope your conference on failure is a huge SUCCESS, and eveyrone loves it and wants to duplicate it. Maybe you can even write a book about it after the fact. 🙂

  • Laura Flanders

    So needed! Every semester, my husband and I share our stories of failure and loss to a sizeable group of seminary students where I serve as adjunct. After 24 years in the pastoral ministry, we are no longer. Long story. hah hah. God was always good in the middle of it all. Most of my students tell me that they weren’t looking forward to the retreat where we were going to tell our sad sad stories. They said they thought it would be a big downer. Instead, many feel encouraged by what we share. Not all do, but most. I’ll settle for the most.

  • JoeyS

    Great idea…………

  • pam w

    Beautiful. We all know growth comes through that which we consider failure in this culture. The ways we measure success (and the issues most prevalent at Christian conferences) don’t line up with definitions of spiritual formation in scripture or church history. This might be the most developmental conference for leaders I’ve seen described. Kudos!

  • Sean Silverii

    I LOVE this! Would totally try and go to the next one.

  • Really a great idea…

    Yes – Admitting we are failures – and turning to Jesus is freeing.
    Apart from Jesus we can do nothing.

    I think one of the major failures I had to admit was…

    I really didn’t study the scrptures when I desired to be a “Pastor/Leader.”

    It wasn’t until I was ordained, and had my papers, did I discover

    The “Title” and “Position” of “Pastor/Leader” is NOT in the Bible.

    In the Bible…
    I found NO one “called” – “Pastor/Leader/Reverend.”
    I found NO one with the “Title”- “Pastor/Leader/Reverend.”
    I found NO one “ordained” – “Pastor/Leader/Reverend.”
    I found NO congregations “Led” by a “Pastor/Leader/Reverend.”
    I found NO “Pastor/Reverend” being hired, or fired, by congregations.

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

    It took four or five years but eventually had to rip up those papers.

    My choice was – either I go along with the crowd and NOT make waves…

    Or – become a “Disciple of Christ” learning from Jesus,
    being a “Servant of Christ” and NOT a “Leader,” being “His sheep,”
    hearing “His Voice,” and following Jesus.

    What is popular is not always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is not always popular.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice;”
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.

    {{{{{{ Jesus ))))))