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True confession time. I count down to the D6 Conference like a kid counting down to Christmas morning. As we draw closer to the end of September, I can feel my excitement building. I check the schedule. I research the speakers. I plan my breakouts. I scope out the venue. I start annoying my wife by talking about it every day.

By the time we get to the actual conference, I’m bouncing off the walls. Why? It’s just a conference, right? Aren’t there are a bazillion conferences out there for ministry leaders? What’s the big deal about D6?

The big deal is that when it comes to my three greatest passions—Jesus, my family, and generational discipleship—D6 delivers.

Let’s start with the last one, generational discipleship.  As a children’s pastor, I eat, sleep, and breathe helping families grow in their faith. I’m always wrestling with how our church can do a better job building bridges between church and home.

D6 inspires me as a family ministry leader by exposing me to a deep bench of speakers. When I go to D6, it’s not just the same people I could hear at every other conference. It’s a combination of ministry veterans who have decades of expertise under their belts and fresh new voices I would never have heard if it hadn’t been for D6.

I also love that I’m not just seeing one ministry model or curriculum but get to check out a wide variety of perspectives. That challenges my thinking and helps me to innovate. Sometimes I’ll discover ideas I love and can immediately put into practice. Other times, I may see ministry tools that wouldn’t necessarily work in my church but have a transferable principle that I can use.

Then there are the rare times I may completely disagree with a speaker. That’s good too because it forces me to think through what’s best for the families I serve and why.

As much as the conference helps me as a leader, however, I love it even more because it helps me as a husband and a dad. Every year at D6, I spend way more time thinking about my family than my church. It’s impossible to be immersed in so many conversations about family discipleship and not be convicted and encouraged to lead better at home.

But more than all of those reasons, I love D6 because it creates space for me to hear from God. As busy ministry leaders, we’re often rushing from one thing to the next. D6 gives me an excuse to stop, listen, and let the Holy Spirit recalibrate my soul.

Whether it’s a powerful moment of worship or a teaching session that sounds like it’s written just for me, I’m thankful for those divine appointments where God touches my heart and gives me what I need for the next season.

So am I excited about D6? You bet. There may be no evergreens on stage or eggnog in the breakouts, but each year I’m blessed by so many gifts, it does feel a little like Christmas morning and makes me grateful to the Giver of all good things.

Jason Byerly
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