Three Reasons to Go To Expo 2020

Jul 23, 2019

If you’re wondering if you should go to Exponential, let me help you out. You should. I’ll even give you three reasons.

1. Leading a church and leading in a church are really hard. I first went to Exponential in 2013. I was the part-time worship pastor of a just-over-two-year-old church in Annapolis, MD called Revolution. It was my first taste of vocational ministry. I didn’t have a community of people from my past that had sat in that chair. I didn’t have people close to me that would understand my frustration and confusion about the new musician who was absolutely phenomenal, was trying hard to pursue Jesus, but also got himself into trouble with prostitutes.

No one at my full-time job with Siemens Corporate Research could commiserate or advise me or encourage me in the area of training a mixed bag of guitarists, bassists, drummers, singers, keyboardists, violinist, and yes, even a flautist on how to set up and tear down a PA system on the third floor of a local hotel ballroom. They didn’t understand how my anxiety on how new songs were going to turn out or be accepted sometimes caused havoc in my marriage, or how the delicate balance of practical leadership and spiritual discipleship called me away from the house and my young children unexpectedly at times.

But, then I took off from work for a few days and flew down to Orlando with Scott Ancarrow, the lead pastor of The Foundry in Baltimore, which was still a few months away from being launched. I went to workshops and Exponential main sessions and wandered the booths of vendors and church planting organizations soaking up more and more information. I was determined to come back to Revolution with new tools in my tool belt. I’m grateful that I did, but those tools weren’t the most important thing I left with.

Scott and I went out to dinner one night with the teams of a few other church plants that Scott was familiar with. I found myself sitting with another part-time worship pastor, and later, I met the lead pastor of a big church in New York and the lead planter of a church plant just a few months younger than Revolution.

Fast-forward to 2019. That crew from that dinner are still the people I turn to when I need a shoulder to lean on. They are still the people I can commiserate with, get guidance from, and sometimes (maybe most of the time) send a funny text to.

There is no better place on the planet than Exponential for a leader involved or even just interested in church planting to meet like-minded people that will form the backbone of their support system for the rest of their lives. Leading a church and leading in a church are really hard. You need people around you who get that, and you need to be that person for someone else. Those people are at Exponential.

2. Leading a church and leading in a church are a blast. I have a recurring dream that I’m watching the Baltimore Orioles win the World Series (obviously a dream), but I’m watching it at a library with people who have never watched a baseball game before. I’ve had this dream dozens of times in my life, and every time I wake up with the weirdest feeling. I’m pretty pumped that the team I’ve obsessed over since I was a kid won the Commissioner’s Trophy (a dream, remember?), but I’m also kind of bummed that I couldn’t jump up and down and shout with a room full of people who felt the same way I did.

That happens at church sometimes, too. There is so much to celebrate as the leader of a church, and often you find yourself surrounded by people who don’t understand what a big deal something is. So, you and your spouse and maybe a teammate high five one another, and then you get back to work. You don’t get to have the big celebration.

Last year, my church, Revolution, bought and forgave nearly $2,000,000 of medical debt in the state of Maryland. Our lead pastor, Kenny, was PUMPED! I was there once when he expressed his excitement and what this could be the start of, and while the room also celebrated, it was not as enthusiastic as Kenny by a longshot. The news of this broke right at Exponential 2019 was kicking off, and Kenny came down to Orlando. I watched as he talked about what Revolution was able to accomplish and the vision he had for using that as a launching pad for something even bigger. And the response at Exponential wasn’t, “Okay. Cool. Where do you want to go for lunch?” The response was, “DUDE! That’s amazing! Is that something we could do, too?”

Celebration with people who get it is good for your soul. Those people will be at Exponential.

3. The content is amazing. This probably could be reason one. Stadia will be leading at least five different workshops during the conference. We have a Summit ahead of the conference designed to encourage, equip, and celebrate church planters. We convene women at the Bloom breakfast to help them develop as leaders. The Stadia party is always a time to hear from great leaders about what they are discovering in their church plants. And that doesn’t even get into all the great speakers Exponential will have in their main sessions. We’re still months out, and there are already so many great leaders lined up: Jossy Chacko, Dave Ferguson, Oscar Muriu, Pete Scazzero, Efrem Smith, Andy & Sandra Stanley, Danielle Strickland, and more!!

You WILL walk away with new insights and new tools. Guaranteed.

So, should you come to Exponential? Yes. Definitely.

OH. And right now, you can get steeply discounted housing and Exponential registrations, as well as register for Stadia’s events (which are free, by the way – we really like to give things away). These housing prices and Exponential ticket prices won’t last long, so get in on it now.

Matt Murphy

SST And Marketing Director , Stadia Church Planting