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This past week we just finished a yearly American tradition in March Madness and the NCAA basketball tournament. Each year we all pick teams and then watch teams battle it out to find the best basketball team of the year. This year was different in that it was actually normal. For the first time in three years, we watched the tournament in its normal format because COVID wrecked the ability for this experience to happen the past few years. Yes, let me say that again…for the first time in three years.

In navigating the pandemic, social issues, and political unrest, most of us have just barely been keeping our heads above water. The amount of fatigue that is present in ministry leaders is staggering. So many have done an incredible job leading and serving, but many have not slowed down long enough to consider what three years of this kind of pressure will do to our souls. It’s time for a rest as we heal and look ahead.

Over a year ago, the team at D6 revealed to us this year’s theme of focusing on the reset we need as ministry leaders. When I heard about the idea a year ago, I was just focused on pushing forward. I feel the deep need for a soul and ministry reset a year later. I’m going to be at the conference teaching and mentoring some leaders, but my soul is craving some time for Jesus to bring some healing and new direction. This is one of the things that is so special about the D6 Conference. They actually plan for soul health of the leaders in the room as well as ministry growth and stretching.

I know you may be thinking, why can’t you just work toward a reset at home? You can but breaking away for the conference allows you to fully focus. Let me remind you of a few of the reasons getting away for a conference matters to the heart and soul of a ministry leader.

Your heart needs time for worship and prayer.

This is probably the most important aspect of time away at a conference. If you are a ministry leader, most Sundays you are working while you worship. You are distracted and busy and focused. We get it, and we all have experienced it. When you get away for the D6 Conference, you will enter a space that was designed to help you lay down your agenda and pick up the repose of being in the presence of Jesus and other leaders shepherding us toward Jesus.

You need to rethink ministry in a safe space.

In times of significant change and stress, remembering why you do what you do is critical. If we are not pushed to think deeply about ministry, we will often put ourselves in automatic and repeat our tired strategies when God is doing a new thing. When you break away for a conference, you get time to hold up your ministry dreams, plans, and goals and safely examine them. What is God inviting you to focus on next?

You need to remember you are part of a movement.

The church is not an institution. The church is a living movement with a mission straight from God. It’s easy to get isolated when you are in the middle of ministry. It’s easy to think no one understands what you are fighting for. Conference time allows you to walk into a room with hundreds of other passionate leaders. You are not alone, and conference time gives you a chance to build some new meaningful friendships.

You need to dream again.

As we pause for a rest at the D6 Conference, we are also asking bravely, Jesus, what do you want from us and for us? We are going to reset so we can move from survival to hearts aimed at advancing the Kingdom of God. God has some new dreams He wants to birth in our hearts. It’s time to dream again! We can’t wait to see you at the conference. We are praying that God will powerfully work in our hearts!

Michael Bayne
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