Read 2 Timothy 3:6-7
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women,who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. (NIV)
Some Christian conferences can be life-changing. I,for one,can trace significant ‘mindset’ changes back to conferences featuring John Wimber and Lewis Smedes. Many other conferences were encouraging and stimulating.
And yet there are dangers in attending conferences. One is that we too easily assume that what we learn at them is readily transferable to our own life’s situations. We can go away thinking there is,after all,a magic formula for personal or church growth. The bookshelves of church leaders are littered with binders and folders from these conferences,information in them now swamped by the everyday pressures and realities of life and faith.
The other danger is that we may attend too many of them,thus imagining they are the reality. In fact,they are a break from reality-and to reiterate,sometimes a welcome break. The essence of Christian living is located in the mundane and everyday episodes of life where we are placed by God to follow him. Conferences are like desserts: enjoyable,but never the main course. Or as Eugene Peterson puts it,they are fat rather than protein.
Our text reminds us that it is sadly possible to be always ‘learning’ but never really grasping the truth. Going to a conference must never become a mere exercise in fact gathering,or formula absorption.
The occasional dessert is a welcome treat. Making them the main course is harmful to health.