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4 Great Conferences in 2011

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The Christian world certainly suffers from no shortage of conferences. In fact, there are so many that it can be difficult to determine which, if any, to attend. I took a look ahead to 2011 to find a few that look particularly compelling. And here they are: 4 great conferences coming our way in 2011.


NEXT (formerly known as New Attitude) has changed location several times in the past few years and in 2011 it is making the move to Orlando. This is rather a good idea, I think, since Orlando is one of those places that is [relatively] easy and inexpensive to get to, especially when compared to Baltimore and Louisville. This conference is sponsored by Sovereign Grace Ministries and will feature speakers D.A. Carson, R.C. Sproul, Kevin DeYoung, Jeff Purswell and Scott Oliphint. It also offers general breakout sessions along with something rather interesting–sessions based on different career paths. NEXT is geared to a college and career/young adult kind of crowd with 18 being the minimum age of those who may attend.

Notable by their absence are C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris, both of whom have spoken at every conference since 2004. It seems that the new location, new format and the absence of Mahaney and Harris mean that the event is transitioning into something a little bit different.

I have been to this conference one time and was very impressed by it. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone in their late teens or early to mid-twenties.

Date: May 28-31
Location: Orlando, FL
Cost: $150 – $175

Gospel Coalition

I am never quite sure how to introduce the Gospel Coalition conference. It is a conference that is geared toward pastors and yet it is attended by far more than pastors. This year the plenary sessions will be directed at pastors with many of the breakout sessions targeted at the rest of us. Keynote speakers this year are Al Mohler, Tim Keller, Alistair Begg, James MacDonald, Conrad Mbewe, Matt Chandler, Mike Bullmore and D.A. Carson. Breakout speakers are far too many to list.

I suspect that Gospel Coalition will be the place to be in 2011, at least for this New Calvinism kind of crowd. And with all of those breakout sessions, there will be more than ever to enjoy. I was at the last Gospel Coalition conference (in 2009) and found it a very profitable event. If you want to have an opportunity to hear your favorite preachers and to meet them, this is probably the best place to do so. It’s very much a who’s-who type of event.

Date: April 12-14
Location: Chicago, IL
Cost: $200 and up

Ligonier Ministries 2011 National Conference

What happens if you take John Piper and Desiring God and smash them into R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries? You get Light & Heat: A Passion for the Holiness of God. Here is how R.C. Sproul introduces the theme: “Several essential doctrines of the Christian faith are under attack in our day, even from within the church, and it is important that we be well grounded in these truths so that we may have a deep affection for our triune God. John Piper will join me and Ligonier teaching fellows Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, and R.C. Sproul Jr. as we look at several important tenets of the faith, such as divine sovereignty, biblical worship, evangelism and missions, apologetics, and justification. John and I will also host special sessions on the history of the work of both Ligonier and Desiring God, and we will endeavor to share some of what we have learned in our ministries as pastors and theologians.”

I have been at the Ligonier National Conference several years in a row and am always blessed by the teaching and by the atmosphere of the event. It is a great event to attend with your spouse or with a couple of friends, and especially so if you are from the north and are looking for a respite from winter.

Date: March 24-26
Location: Orlando, FL
Cost: $129 – $179

Basics 2011

Basics is a pastors’ conference hosted by Alistair Begg’s Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. It is easily one of my favorite conferences and one I have been to three times. One of the great strengths of the event is that it all happens at Parkside Church; it is a relatively small event and one that has a sense of intimacy to it. This year’s speakers are Alistair Begg, Rico Tice and John Dickson and the conference theme is “Do the work of an Evangelist.”

If you want to send your pastor to a conference that will not be overwhelming, that will be a time of focused teaching and yet genuine relaxation, consider this one. I can pretty much guarantee that he’ll enjoy it.

Date: May 9-11
Location: Chagrin Falls, OH
Cost: $120 – $140

Of course there are so many more I could list, and maybe in the future I can list a few more. These represent only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, only four of the many that stand out.

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