I went to the Center for Global Mission’s Emerging Leaders Conference in 2012, and it was a highlight of my year. But even with all the life-transforming lessons, terrific speakers, practical advice, new friends, and discipleship opportunities, I asked myself, “Is there any reason someone wouldn’t love this kind of thing?”
It was a fun thought experiment, and here’s a list of reasons why you shouldn’t go to or support another Emerging Leaders Conference.

1 You really don’t care about leadership.

Last year, former ServiceMaster CEO Bill Pollard and EFCA Executive Vice President T. J. Addington told it like it is. I learned about setting up mission statements in business and ministry, how to find awesome employees and volunteers, responsible time management, balancing visionary leadership with servanthood—the list goes on.

If that’s no big deal to you, or if you’ve reduced your leadership difficulties to absolute zero, you shouldn’t be there next year. Actually, if the latter is the case, you should probably speak at ELC 2013.

2 You think ministry should be easy.

The speakers tell it like it is: it’s tough. Church-Planter “V” discussed the ins and outs of church-planting and overcoming cultural boundaries. Pastor Phillip Nelson shared his story of blessings and burdens. And when you’re in a room with 70 other ministers, missionaries, businesspersons, and students, you realize that no matter how many hurdles you’ve jumped, the bigger ones are still ahead.

If you believe working for God’s glory shouldn’t ever make you sweat, bleed, weep, and tremble,
the ELC is no place you want to be.

3 You just don’t like diversity.

The ELC brought people from all over the world together for five days. This wasn’t just ethnic diversity; this was a nexus of different opinions on how missions should work, how leaders should lead, and how churches should grow. We discussed how our collaboration in the Great Commission influences our views on culture, gender, skin tone, music, age, marriage, justice, etc.

If you’d rather just hear what you already believe, find another conference, because you will
hate the ELC.


4  You don’t want to think.

This isn’t the only place you can think, but if you hate being challenged to reason from the Scriptures and love the Lord with your mind, you won’t enjoy the Emerging Leaders Conference.

5  You want to stay numb.

There’s something electric about singing praises in languages from every continent. A great stirring within takes place when you hear gentlemen like Doug Anderson and Dr. Jim O’Neill pray. If you’re not really into experiencing that intense camaraderie, that deep desire to lead well, that supernatural drive to love God more, the ELC will only disappoint you.

Bottom line: I loved last year’s conference, and any reason I come up against the ELC is going to sound
really, really dumb.
Jeffrey Kranz is an ELC attendee, Bible-study fanboy, and coffeeophile. You can discover his antics at JeffreyDKranz.com, check out his new Bible-study blog, or just follow him on Twitter: @Jeffrey _the_Red.