September is here which means I’ve already started packing. When I mention my upcoming trip to Atlanta, folks have asked what the big draw is. Why sacrifice time and money to leave my family for 4 days and fly across the country for a conference? I’ll admit it’s pretty out of character for a housewife like me who manages to avoid coffee dates and luncheons and weekends away with the gals like the plague. Unless it’s an outing with my family I’m about as homebound as they come. So what’s so amazing about G3 Conference that already has me packing my bags in anticipation? Here are the top 6 things I’m looking forward to.
- Speakers. My husband has the great pleasure of attending the Shepherds Conference each year. Until G3 came around we really didn’t think it was possible for a line-up of speakers to compete in terms of the sheer number of theologically sound, godly teachers. This year G3 outdid even themselves with over 20 speakers, including some of our family favorites like John MacArthur, Steven Lawson, Paul Washer, and Ken Ham. I can listen to these guys over the internet as I’m working in the kitchen each day, and my husband buys most of their books, so what’s so special about seeing them in person? The answer is because they are exactly that—real people. They are actual fellow saints in the body of Christ and nothing makes that more clear than being able to pass them in the halls, chat in the elevators, wait in breakfast lines together, and watch them interact with their own families. Up close, they cease to be celebrities and become who they really are to each of us, brothers in Christ.
- The Better Halves. Many of the speakers bring their wives. Now most of these ladies don’t like to be in the spotlight themselves, but they are certainly worthy of it. Meeting some of these godly women-behind-the-men has been one of the biggest blessings in my life and I treasure some of the friendships that have formed with these sisters from whom I have so much to learn. This year some of them will be hosting a pre-conference tea just for pastors’ wives and I can’t wait to soak in that warm fellowship.
- Attendees. Some people ask why we should go to conferences if we have the local church to gather with. It’s a fair question, especially for me who happens to be in a larger-sized doctrinally sound, biblically faithful, fellowship-rich church. To that, I say you can’t have too much of a good thing. Who of you would refuse to attend an out-of-town family reunion simply because you were blessed to have a spouse and children around your dinner table each night. Well consider this to be one of the most spectacular family reunions ever held. Over 8,000 brothers and sisters together in one room and the joy of it all is tangibly thrilling.
- Music. Those 8,000 siblings get to sing rich, beautiful hymns together. And there’s no big band to drown us out. It is just us and simple instrumentation. All gathered in the room are quite literally the choir.
- Exhibit Hall. It’s more than just books—and there are a lot of books! Free books, clearance books, hard to find books, just released books, all the books you could ever be tempted by in one room. But publishers aren’t the only vendors. Rows and rows of Christ-centered, kingdom-focused, biblically-sound ministries and the people laboring for the gospel behind them. What an encouragement to talk to and hear of the work being done all over the world and in our own backyards. Meet the folks behind your favorite podcasts and watch them record live. Pick up free merch from your husband’s seminary. Give some much-needed fashion advice to that guy at the AOMin booth!
- Coming home. Those 4 days are exhausting. There’s hardly time to grab a bite to eat in between the sessions, which run continuously from morning to night. But the filling up spiritually that takes place is worth more than any missed meals. My family knows to expect me to come home physically tired but absolutely energized for the kingdom work God has for me in my own home and local church. That homecoming is much like the one described in Nehemiah 8:12 after the great gathering when Ezra brought out the Book of the Law and read it to the multitudes.
And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
I go to the G3 Conference to be filled up spiritually and praise God, He does this to overflowing, so that I have much to bring back and share. It’s my chance to be a spiritual GrubHub of sorts, bringing choice morsels from afar, and I relish it.
Hope to see you there.