Yes, I have said those very words: But I Don’t Want to go to Conference!
I was in my very first year as Coordinator of Tuggeranong MOPS. I was a bit reluctant in the role, didn’t feel I was a natural leader and was feeling a little overwhelmed by the task. And I didn’t want to even think about going to Conference!
I had lots of reasons. It would mean driving all the way to Wollongong. (I had never done that before.) It would mean leaving my family for a whole weekend. (I had never done that before.) And, anyway, I felt it was enough to work in my ‘local’ MOPS ministry and didn’t see the need for networking or training. So I dutifully let my team know it was on and left it at that. How could I encourage my team members to do something I wasn’t willing to do?
Well! God, in His grace, had placed on my team an enthusiast. Our pastor’s wife, Leonie, was Discussion Leader in our group and she immediately saw all the positives of the Conference that I had missed. She saw the opportunity for our team to bond (“Let’s go on a road trip, girls!”), for the leaders to gain confidence and be trained for their individual positions, for our husbands to support us in ministry by caring for the family for two days, and for all of us to glimpse a vision of God’s kingdom beyond our own church. She saw fun (“We’ll have such a good time!” and “Bring lots of chocolate”)! Leonie set about encouraging, getting confirmations, organising share cars with just the right mix of leaders in each – and generally making us all feel eager, positive and excited about going to Conference. Even me.
It was 1997, the very first Australian MOPS Conference and Elissa Morgan (who was then CEO of MOPS International) was the Guest Speaker. Five members of our team went to Wollongong. And, it turned out to be such a good decision. Our team stronger, shared lots of laughs and created lasting memories. We learnt so much that was helpful in our MOPS group.
Leonie encouraged our team to conferences for as long as she was Discussion Leader. She gave me a whole new way of thinking about Conference, about my role as a leader and about the benefits to our team. And I have attended a MOPS Conference every single year since then! In the beginning I attended as a leader, then as a Board member, and now I attend as Managing Director.
And Conference still inspires me!
So, just know this – you don’t have to be a Coordinator to be the one who encourages your team to Conference. Mentors, Discussion Leaders, Publicity Leaders, or any others on your team, might be the one God uses to help your team become equipped and refreshed and challenged. So – find the enthusiast on your team and make sure they know the details for the Conference in your State. And let them do the rest – they will love it!
Time to get ready for your State’s best conference yet!!
Love and blessings