the gathering

Find Your People

Dec 7, 2022

I remember the first ministry-focused conference I went to as a young pastor. It was large, nationally recognized, with popular speakers, well-known for its innovation and creativity. The experiences it offered were going to be unique and set it apart from other events. It catered to an audience who saw themselves as unconventional, cutting-edge leaders. I was thrilled, and obviously wore my favorite clothes on the first day. First impressions matter!

Well, you can imagine my confusion, then, when I showed up to the conference dressed like almost every other guy there. I chuckled to myself, disappointed for being so unoriginal, and nursed the hit to my ego.

“Why are we all dressed the same?”

I’ve been to many other conferences over the years now and have had similar experiences.

One time, a middle-aged woman even came up behind me and hugged me because she thought I was her adult son! Apparently we looked and dressed similarly. I can still remember the look of shock and embarrassment on her face when I turned around. She quickly realized I wasn’t the incredibly good-looking and well-dressed bald son she had hoped to find.

In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man jokes with his multiversal counterpart played by Tobey Maguire: “You gonna go into battle dressed as a cool youth pastor, or…you got your suit?”

There seems to be a certain, unofficial dress code for church leaders, and even Marvel Studios knows it.

I’ve talked to other pastors over the years who’ve noticed this phenomena of dressing the same as people in similar ministry roles at conferences. And here’s our best guess as to why this happens: when we go to gatherings like this, we’re reconnecting with our people. It’s a place where we can be with people who just get it.

And even though we might have similar styles or brand choices, ultimately, it’s not about the clothes we wear. It’s about connecting with other people who share the same values and goals. Our journeys may vary, but we’re all moving towards the same goal: to bring the good news of Jesus to hurting people around the world.

That’s why attending Exponential Conference is so important…Far more important than the latest fashion trends among new church leaders! We need to spend time with our people—The ones who know what it’s like to fundraise a salary, raise up a team, and faithfully follow a calling from God. Exponential allows us to spend time communicating around shared ideas and passions we have for starting new thriving, growing, multiplying churches for the next generation.

At Exponential, we’re able to sit around the pool at the end of the day and reflect on the last year, and look forward to that the future holds. We can talk business, talk life, and grow deeper connections with our tribe than we may not have the opportunity to the rest of the year.

So, what are we going to wear to Exponential this year? Jeans and a T-shirt? Maybe a Stadia T-shirt?! Anyway, see you there! 

Join Stadia @ Exponential Conference 2023

Stay with us at Exponential 2023 in Orlando, Florida and experience exclusive Stadia events. Plus, comfortably access our entire network of church planters, partners, and friends―Not to mention you’ll score discounted rates for conference tickets and hotel reservations.

Alex Robinson

Alex Robinson


Alex is passionate about helping people engage with God by creating experiences and environments which challenge them to see Jesus in a fresh way. You’ve heard of the most interesting man in the world, but Alex describes himself as the most boring man in the world (1 Thess. 4:11-12). He likes spending time with his family, watching documentaries, movies, and the latest Netflix Originals, reading theological books, and is curious about the art and science of coffee and beer brewing.