If you are reading this, you are likely asking yourself those very questions: “What is the Connexus Conference and why should I be interested in it?” Lucky for you, I just attended this conference and I am feeling incredibly inspired, empowered, and rejuvenated. And since I love sharing information with the community, especially when it’s information I am passionate about, I decided to write a post which will allow for others to understand more about this conference and hopefully even persuade some of you to attend next year!
What is it?
The Connexus Conference is a Christian leadership conference which is hosted by Acts Global Network each year. This year, we were lucky enough to have the conference in our very own backyard at Valley Christian Church (VCC), in Hopewell Junction, NY. This conference focuses on empowering leaders within the community to connect and expand their reach within their sphere of influence, all while focusing on God’s purpose for their work/lives. What is a sphere of influence you ask? The 7 spheres of influence are family, business, education, media, government, church, as well as arts and entertainment. The idea is that each of us is a part of one or more spheres of influence and have a unique opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise to impact others within that sphere. The conference is structured like most conferences, as it is broken into various sections. There is a time for worship, guest speakers, workshops/small group work, and Q&A.
Now, when I first heard about this conference this past spring, I immediately knew I needed to attend. I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t know who was “supposed” to attend, but I heard the words “faith”, ‘leadership”, “community” and I said to myself, “YUP, sign me up!” I knew God was pushing me towards this conference for a reason. I didn’t necessarily know the reason in that moment, but I had faith it would all come full circle. As I learned more about the conference, I learned that the purpose was to help leaders within the community learn ways to incorporate God’s plan for them into their sphere of influence. Now, as a mental health professional, one of the biggest things we are taught in our studies is to keep religious beliefs separate from the work that we do. Why? Because as a mental health professional, I work with people of all different faiths, beliefs, religions, backgrounds, etc. and it is not my job to make them believe what I believe, convert them to Christianity from their current religion, or lecture them about what I think is right or wrong. It is my job to support them in their environment and encourage them to utilize their supports, even if those beliefs differ from my own. It is not my job to judge anyone for their beliefs just as I would not like to be judged for mine. So, even though God has always been a very big part of my personal life, I always kept him out of my work to honor whatever it was my clients needed from me in that space. When I heard that this conference was going to speak to how to incorporate God into the work that we do, I was very intrigued because honestly, I didn’t know how to do that without blurring ethical lines I vowed to always uphold in my field. So you can imagine my shock and surprise when I realized I actually wasn’t keeping God out of my work after all. In fact, he has been a very big part of my business and here’s why…
When I wake up and pray every morning for guidance, clarity, strength, confidence, and compassion that is me bringing God into my business. When I know I have a difficult day ahead of me and I talk with God throughout the day about how I need strength to get through the day successfully, that is me bringing God into my business. When I get on my knees and thank God multiple times a day for allowing me the opportunity to create a business in which I am able to follow my passion, explore new opportunities, and serve my community, that is me bringing God into my business. When I felt inspired to write this blog post, in hopes of further inspiring others to learn more about this conference, that was me bringing God into my business. See, I had been looking at this all wrong. I wasn’t recognizing that God was already a part of my business. I absolutely, without a doubt, always knew God was the one who provided me with this amazing career path as well as the gifts and talents needed to further pursue this journey, but I never connected the dots to really see that this isn’t my business at all, but instead HIS business. I am just fulfilling the role he created for me and carrying out his work. Had I not gone to this conference, I would have continued to feel as though I could not bring God into my business because of the type of work that I do. Think about what a disservice that would have been. Not only to myself, but to those that I reach through my work. I also never would have had the opportunity to reach all of you with this post! I feel as though I am now able to look at my business and it’s growth plan in a whole new light, and for that, I am thankful.
Why Should I Go?
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “That’s fine and dandy but I don’t own a business..” or “Ok, but I don’t see how I can be considered a leader, I am just a stay-at-home parent..” and if you’re thinking something along those lines, this is exactly why you NEED to go to this conference. See, I think everyone at first was unsure if they “fit in”. If they were “supposed” to be there. I heard many of the fellow attendees note they thought this was a conference just for pastors. Others thought it was just for business owners. The beautiful thing though is that this conference is for EVERYONE. If you are a person and you talk to at least one other person a day, you meet the criteria. It’s that simple. (WOOHOO!) It does not matter how big or small you think your sphere of influence is. You have a purpose. You were put on this earth for a reason. You are meant to fulfill God’s plan for you. And this conference will allow you the space to start to explore what that means for you and your life. Pretty cool, right?
What’s It Like?
The conference is called “CONNEXUS”, so you get to CONNECT with some pretty awesome and amazing people. This is always my favorite part of conferences because I not only love to learn but I love to hear other people’s stories. I love to be inspired. I love to absorb as much knowledge as possible. I love not being the smartest person in the room. This conference supports and encourages networking with your peers. So, when you sit there listening to the panel of speakers (while anxiously trying to write down everything that comes out of their mouths because it is honestly just so amazing), you actually get to TALK to them afterwards. In person. Either during downtime or during the workshops. And then you realize they are just like you: a person, in a sphere of influence, with a dream and a God-given purpose.
So, now you are undoubtedly thinking to yourself that this may be something you wish to attend next year, right? GREAT! Heres what to do next: be on the lookout for more information on next year’s conference dates and sign up early enough to ensure a spot as well as obtain a potential early bird rate which may be available. If conferences seem intimidating to you, bring a friend! After all, this entire conference is about reaching people, so the more the merrier! Next, have an open mind. Walking into a room full of intelligent, smart, empowered, and blessed people can be incredibly intimidating. I mean, you literally feel the energy as soon as you walk in, which is incredible but can be daunting. Do not let this deter you. This is a positive. This is going to push you outside of your comfort zone to network with those around you. I too become quite overwhelmed at times in these settings, but it’s ok. It’s normal and everyone is warm and welcoming, so you instantly feel at ease. Plus, remember, everyone attending is there for the same reasons you are: to grow as a person, within your sphere of influence, and reach those in your community and beyond. I have been going to VCC for a little over a year now and I still had people say to me during the conference, “Oh, you go here too?!” This is just further evidence that even though we are connected in so many ways, there is still such a disconnect and conferences like this allow the opportunity to bridge that gap.
I firmly, wholeheartedly, believe in community over competition. We are meant to connect. We are meant to influence. We are meant to inspire, and be inspired. Opportunities such as this allow for a safe space where like-minded individuals can gather, pray, support, and encourage one another to fulfill their purpose. So, will I see you next year?
I would LOVE to know what spoke to you today and encourage you to comment below and share with me!
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