attending women's conferences just like every other woman out there, but it occurred to me recently that sometimes we go to them just because everyone else is going and it's the thing to do in Christian women circles. At times we give no careful thought about what our ears will be hearing nor give any thought to the purpose behind why we are going.Not all conferences are equal. Have you ever thought about that before? There are many conferences put on by false teachers. Sad. But true. We need to be careful that we aren't searching just for conferences with messages that will tickle our ears. We need to search for ones that are seeking to draw us closer to God's word- not just promise us a good time.
When you attend a conference what do you think? Do you even think over what it being said or just take whatever the speaker says to be true? Here are some questions to ask ourselves when we attend any conference:
- Does the speaker lead me more toward knowing Christ or more toward knowing their feelings?
- Is their message more about stories than God's word?
- Is the message of the speaker biblically based and in context or taken out of context?
- Are my emotions being played with by the speaker's oratorical skills?
- Is there anything that I heard today that I felt uncomfortable with and what is it? What does God's word say about it? Did other women feel the same way?
- Do I know anything about the speaker's mission statement or true belief's?
Why do we go to conferences?
Connection-We go to conferences to belong with other christian women- we long for deeper connections and fellowship.
Refreshment-We long to be refreshed, refueled and renewed through God's word so we can go out and live more boldly for Christ in our daily life.
Retreat- We go to escape and get away from the everyday craziness of life.
These are all GREAT reasons to attend conferences and I can tell you they are the reasons I have attended them in the past. We need to fellowship with other women, we need refreshment through God's word, and we need to step away from the busyness and craziness of life to be still and reflect on God's word. Although I don't want to be a skeptic (think too critically of every speaker) or be passive (accept everything the speaker says as true and mindlessly not think about anything they said) as I attend a conference, I do believe it is crucial for us to not take something at face value. If we do, it might be easy for us to get taken in by any teacher not knowing they are speaking falsely about God's word. When you become emotionally attached to a speaker it is much more difficult to stand back and look at the true message they are speaking.
I love how The Message describes Matthew 7:15-20 saying,
"Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned."
This post is not meant to be all doom and gloom here. It's just meant to get us thinking about how we listen when we attend conferences and to consider choosing wisely the ones we attend. It's easy to get wrapped up in the hoopla. We need to search the scriptures when we hear a speaker to see if what they are saying is true. The Bereans did this when they listened to Paul.
Acts 17:11 tells us, "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Last, there are LOTS of christian women speakers who are awesome and are truthfully speaking God's word consistently.
So become an active listener when you attend a conference.
It will do more for your heart to listen carefully than to attend carelessly.