This weekend I was incredibly blessed to be able to head up to the GroupLife Midwest 2012 Conference for small group leaders. Even better, I got to go along with 8 of our outstanding small group leaders from Calvary Baptist Church! We had a blast together. The best part may have been stopping at Giordanao's after the conference to debrief over a Chicago deep dish pizza :)
The Keynote Speaker was Steve Gladen, the pastor over (thousands of) small groups at Saddleback. Steve shared about the courage and character of a leader, and had a special breakout session for those of us leading the small group ministry at their church. It was like drinking from a firehouse of helpful information. Steve has recently put out two books along these lines - Small Groups with Purpose and Leading Small Groups with Purpose. Steve is just an incredible person. He's really passionate about helping churches all over the world transform lives with small groups.
In addition to the wonderful talks and great breakout sessions, I was thrilled to be able to meet up with some people I have followed and/or interacted with online for quite some team -- Mary Beth Stockdale, Mark Howell, Rick Howerton, Eddie Mosley, Mindy Caliguire, and of course Steve Gladen. These are all very cool people with great hearts and a ton of practical know-how on small groups and ministry. If they hold this event again next year, I hope to bring the rest of the team, and will get their earlier for the meet-the-speakers event :)