As you may know, some 7,000 people are attending the Together for the Gospel Conference in Louisville, Kentucky today. You, like me, may not be one of them.
It’s easy at a time like this to start to get bitter. It’s like the dance that everyone attended in high school without you. Everybody cool is going to be there, which leaves you feeling like you naturally should be there too.
You can’t escape it. Yesterday I quickly pulled a shirt out from my dresser. At random, I found my T4G shirt from two years ago. I swear it was mocking me. Last night I dreamt that my friend Paul Martin – who was not planning to attend, and now is – was personally invited by Mark Dever to take the last spot before the conference sold out. Such is the sad state of my dream life.
How should you cope with not attending T4G? Hopefully better than I am, which qualifies me to offer the following advice:
Act Smug. Say that you don’t believe in conferences. All the wasted money and energy and time, not to mention the celebrity worship. You’re at home serving the Lord. Not that you’re judging anyone, of course. They may have been called to sit and soak. It’s just that you’ve been called to serve. We can’t all be ears in the body of Christ.
It’s hard to pull this off without coming across like a prideful wannabe, but with practice I’ve found this approach to be quite effective. (My wife just glared at me. What’s that about?)
Act Strategic. Say that you are going to instantly buy all the book giveaways on your Kindle the minute they announce them. Before they can crack open a book, you’ll have figured out what’s on the chairs through the power of Twitter, and you’ll be reading it instantly. No heavy suitcases of books to carry back. You’ll also listen to all the free audio from the conference. You’ll spend less time traveling and have all the benefits of attending, minus the cost – and some other minor things like all the relationships and the experience and the sense of corporate worship. But you’re cool with that. You’re simply being strategic.
Play the Security Card. It’s simply not safe for everyone important to be in one room. Instead, you’re home or at an undisclosed location. Say everyone gets a stomach virus – God forbid – and can’t preach this weekend. Who is Bethlehem Baptist going to call? Probably you. It’s a good thing you didn’t attend.
Yes, this makes you the Dick Cheney of T4G. Live with it.
There are undoubtedly many other ways you can cope with not being at T4G. Please know that I am there for you. We’ll get through this together.