Conferences are a key way we provide care, relational connection, training, and mission sharpness to our pastors and their ministry teams. Unlike local churches who have a weekly opportunity to gather with one another, networks rely on conferences to provide rare but powerful opportunities for fellowship, relational connection, encouragement, training, care, and equipping for their work as leaders in their local church. These times together can nourish and equip a pastor to endure and persevere in ministry and, as such, as vitally important to Sojourn Network as a means for seeing healthy pastors planting, growing, and multiplying healthy churches that last. Sojourn Network provides the following types of conferences to renew, train, and care for pastors and their teams.
The Lead Pastors & Wives' Retreat
This four-day retreat offers Sojourn Network lead pastors, board members, strategists, staff, and their spouses an opportunity for rest, renewal, feasting, ceasing from our work, fellowship, and space to be present with each other as well as other network pastors. We do this by covering lodging costs, many meals, as well as providing free counseling during the retreat. We also organize the retreat schedule for renewal, providing ample time for rest and fellowship. Morning sessions provide teaching on resting in the midst of ministry, raising children, and marriages. Afternoons provide time to rest and relax. Evenings are filled with feasting and fellowship. For more on why we rest and retreat, see To Rest Is Human & Why Retreat?
The Leaders' Summit
The three-day Leaders' Summit offers pastoral and church staff teams practical training in areas related to church planting, church growth, church multiplication, church leadership, soul care, church health and more. The emphasis on this event is intensive training built around a certain theme or topic. Past Summits (formerly called “intensives”) have included topics such as training churches to plant churches, multisite training, theological vision, mercy ministry and community development training, and training in the formation of healthy pluralities.
Alignment plays a critical role in the performance of your vehicle, and the same is true for ministry networks and church planting. The benefits of proper ministry alignment are plentiful—clarity, conviction, and a sharpened mission-focus to name a few. It can also help leaders and teams avoid the pitfalls of confusion, frustration, and exhaustion. If you have been exploring the idea of church planting with Sojourn Network, the Alignment Weekend is for you.
The purpose of micro conferences is to provide a one-day regional training to equip pastors and church leaders in a particular ministry area. These short, highly practical training conferences exist to establish geographic regions as hubs for pastoral training and development; to serve pastors in particular geographic regions by providing training in areas related to church planting, church health, church multiplication, and/or pastoral health; and enhance the public profile of Sojourn Network to the end that we might help more churches plant, grow, and multiply healthy churches that last.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I host a micro-conference?
Great question. If you are a Sojourn Network church pastor, you can begin by filling out this application form. We will be in contact with you once it is submitted.
Why does Sojourn Network organize conferences when there are so many other conferences available for pastors and ministry leaders to attend?
Conferences provide a rare in-person relational connection for pastors and ministry leaders. These times together for fellowship, training, encouragement, and care can nourish and equip a pastor to endure and persevere in ministry and, as such, as vitally important to Sojourn Network as a means for seeing healthy pastors planting, growing, and multiplying healthy churches.
Once a church or church planter officially becomes part of Sojourn Network, do they pay to attend network events?
No! Once a church or church planter join the network, they never pay a registration fee to attend a network conference. While they cover travel costs, food costs, and often hotel, they are not required to pay registration. For the annual retreat, the network covers all hotel costs as well. For the fall leader’s summit, the network allows churches to bring any pastor or staff member to these conferences for free as well.
How many annual conferences does Sojourn Network expect its pastors to attend?
Annually, our pastors commit to attend the spring pastors and wives retreat (for lead pastors only) and the fall leader’s summit (for all pastors and staff in network churches). Regional micro conferences are optional, but certainly helpful, for network pastors within that particular region.
If I want to get to know pastors in the network better, would attending a network event like the fall leader’s summit help me explore those relationships and the network?
Yes! We encourage all those who are exploring our network to attend any regional micro conference and, especially the fall leader’s summit, which is open to those outside the network.