Exponential Conference Announces 2013 Speakers

(HT: Leadership Network)

Zondervan booth piled high at the ’09 Exponential Conference. Looking forward to another good year in 2013.

I’ve posted before about my experiences at the Exponential Conference. It’s a fun show every spring that involves many Zondervan authors, a campus-ful of Church planters, and by God’s grace it helps launch exciting, effective movements for his kingdom. It’s also a great time for publishers because we get a chance to see our books get into the hands of the very people we designed them for: Church Leaders. I love that.

So, I was excited to see this list today. I’m already thinking and planning for the conference next year.

Will you be at Exponential 2013? I will.

Exponential 2013’s Main Stage Speakers

Craig Groeschel

Francis Chan

Wayne Cordeiro

Alan Hirsch

Larry Osborne

Andy Hawthorne

Jo Saxton

Randy Frazee

Jen Hatmaker

Dave Ferguson

Chris Hodges

Mike Breen

Jim Putman

John Burke

A Church Planting Smorgasbord

Following is a collection of links from various folks who attended the Exponential Conference last week. I gathered these links for a couple of reasons:

  1. The conference is still on my mind.
  2. I thought that church planters who weren’t able to attend might glean something that will bless their ministry from those who did.
  3. I was looking for an excuse to use the word “smorgasbord” in a blog post title.

Here’s the list. Happy reading!

  • Tony Morgan shares the notes from his workshops. I wasn’t able to attend them while I was there (I was too busy in our booth) but I would’ve like to have heard him speak on “Keys to Building Healthy Leadership Teams.”
  • Nick from “Everything Pastor” did a great job of taking notes from various workshops and speakers. If you read only one post on this list, read this one. He has notes from Brian and Amy Bloye’s session on moral failure. This was a powerful talk in the main auditorium. I got to hear most of it and was so thankful that their are people like Brian and Amy who were up on stage talking to thousands of ministry leaders about keeping their lives pure and their marriages first.
  • Real Life Project – this blogger shares some notes from a workshop with Jim Putman, who will be speaking at the conference next year on the topic of discipleship. Could there also be a Zondervan book in the works with Jim on the same topic? We’ll have to wait and see…. ;-)
  • Jack Magruder has posted some of the notes from his workshops with Rob Wegner called “Mega –> Missional: Centralized Shift.” Rob and Jack are authors of the forthcoming book Missional Movesand two of the nicest, humblest authors I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
  • Daniel Floyd appears to have posted the notes from his workshop at Exponential, “How To Launch a Healthy Church.” Here he lays out four critical components.
  • Ryan from The Adventures in Church Planting blog has posted his thoughts on Hugh Halter and Matt Smay’s session. Hugh and Matt are the authors of And: The Gathered and Scattered Church in the Exponential Series.
  • Greg Nettle posted some quick, encouraging thoughts about the conference.
  • The blogger at College Church Planter posted some nuggets of wisdom gleaned from the conference.
  • David Gurr from Ocean’s Edge School of Worship reflects on what it was like to have his team volunteer at the Exponential Conference. I had a good time chatting with a few volunteers from this school about music and worship. Seems like they’ve got a great program going on there, and having the volunteers at the conference was essential to its success. Kudos, volunteers!
  • Jeff from Church Planting Today has more nuggets of wisdom from the conference.
  • Dave at the Faith & Church blog has a nice summary posted of Wayne Cordeiro’s talk on his book, Sifted. 
  • The Christian Post wrote an article on Bill Hybels session about what it was like to plant Willow Creek Community Church. His whole family joined him on stage and shared their experiences.

Florida Beetles and the Exponential Conference

As I mentioned yesterday we were selling books in two different spots at this year’s Exponential Conference. All of our books in the Exponential Series were being sold at both locations, so our inventory was split up on the conference grounds. Some of our books were in one building, some books were in another.

During the second day of the conference Hugh Halter was giving a talk on missional ministry in the same room as one of our book tables. That particular spot was low on copies of his book, AND: The Gathered and Scattered ChurchSo as he began his talk I snuck over to the other building to grab extra copies of AND. In the other building we had two open boxes of his book under a table, and plenty of copies up on top. I grabbed the two open boxes, dump the contents of one into the other, and ran over to building. I tried to “stealthly” sneak over to our table while he spoke (though I don’t think I was terribly successful) and re-stocked our inventory of AND on that table.

When I opened the box and started pulling out copies this is what I found:

This beetle is trying to figure out how to be more missional toward his billions of brother and sister beetles.

A beetle must have crawled into the box while it was under our book table. I didn’t see it when I dumped in the extra books. The beetle, may he rest in peace, was still kicking a bit when I discovered him. His legs were sticking out from under one of the books, still twitching and shaking. An energetic co-worker reached in the box and leaned on the pile of books, effectively smashing the little guy.

Now I had another problem. I had two books with beetle guts on them (the book he was under, and the book he was on top of) and I didn’t have anything to wipe them off with. I also can’t sell books with bug guts on them. I’ll sell books to almost anyone at any time. But bug guts? No. Can’t go there.

So, although it was probably a little strange, I took the picture you see above, dropped the bug in a trash can, wiped the books off on the floor (my apologies to the janitorial crew at First Baptist Church Orlando), and walked up to a random guy who was sitting in the back row of Hugh’s talk. Here’s our conversation:


“Hey, man.” I whispered. “Wants some free books?”

The guy looks at me suspiciously. “Uh, sure.”

I attempt to set his mind at ease. “I’m selling books over there for Zondervan. These two books got bug guts on them and I can’t sell them. There still good, though. You can have them if you want.”

The guy looks from me to the books and notices the bug smears around the edges. I realize I didn’t really set his mind at ease at all. He sort of gives me a nod and pulls the books toward him.


Compelling story, I know. But you never know what’s going to happen at the Exponential Conference.

Thoughts after Exponential 2012 (or, Why I love the smell of new books)

The 2012 Exponential Conference ended last week Thursday. After catching a flight home that evening I was glad to spend Friday through Sunday hanging out with my family, doing things around the house, and relaxing.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend I thought I’d share a few pics and some thoughts about this year’s conference.

Zondervan, church plant

Zondervan booth at 2012 Exponential Conference

This picture of our booth was taken on Sunday night after we set it up. While we were unpacking the books I realized that I love the smell of new books – fresh out of the box. With each bit of packaging tape that I split, and each cardboard flap I folded back, I was continually met with the aroma of a freshly printed book. Untouched by human hands, and waiting for just the right customer to come by and pick it up.

That may sound like a weirdly romantic way of looking at setting up a conference booth, but think about it this way: Most people that work for publishers are book nerds. If we weren’t, why would we have gotten into this business anyway? We care so much about books we go way beyond nerd-dom. We love the books. (Well, most of them.) They’re what we do. All the emails, meetings, edits, re-edits, deadlines, and contracts are endured so that we can produce great books!

I’ve set up numerous conference table booths in the past, but this time it struck me that the crack-and-sniff joy of opening a new case of books as I set them up in big piles on a table is not something very many book nerds get to experience. Unless you’re a retailer or a publisher you are unlikely to have an opportunity like that. So, I relished every minute.

Getting Ready for Exponential 2012

Today’s my last day in the office before heading to the Exponential Conference next week. To give you a snapshot into what being a publisher is like here’s what the schedule is for our team over the next few days:

  • Sunday: Fly to Orlando. Arrive in the afternoon and start setting up the Zondervan booth at First Baptist Orlando
  • Monday: Pre-Conference begins and we start selling books right away, meeting church-planters, and catching up with our authors. Busy-ness begins!
  • Tuesday: The conference begins. Church leaders that will be at the conference include: Wayne Cordeiro, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Larry Osborne, Brandon Hatmaker, Hugh Halter, and lots, and lots, of others. It will be a full day of meetings, selling books, and hearing some speakers.
  • Wednesday: More of the same!
  • Thursday: More of the same, all morning! Then we tear down the booth (which is no small task) and head home.

All this to say, it’s a busy, but fun week. If you’re there be sure to come by the Zondervan booth and let us know you read Engaging Church. I’d love to meet you face-to-face.

Zondervan booth at 2009 Exponential Conference

Others are blogging about Exponential too. Here’s the links to their posts:

Brian Bloye – Advice for church planters & a new book, “It’s Personal”

Brian and Amy Bloye, Exponential SeriesThe Exponential Conference is less than two weeks away. At this year’s conference Pastor Brian and Amy Bloye’s new book for church planters, It’s Personal: Surviving and Thriving on the Journey of Church Planting, will release. I read this book last fall when it was still going through the editing process. It’s really great. It’s the type of book that anyone who is seriously considering planting a church should read – before they plant the church. Brian and Amy unpack all the things you need to think about when going through the process of church planting. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book ends up saving marriages. Seriously.

So, all that said, I’m excited to see the reception by the Exponential crowd (a group of people absolutely devoted to planting new churches), and I’m looking forward to meeting Brian and Amy in person between sessions. They’ll be speaking in various workshops and from the main stage.

At Exponential 2009 Brian was interviewed on video. He was asked to give advice to church planters. This short clip now serves as a nice teaser for It’s Personal because much of what he says here is covered in more detail in the book. Enjoy:

YouTube Preview Image 

Last year Brian was also interviewed by Mac Lake about the Launch Network, an organization focused on inspiring and equipping next generation church planters to lead strong. Here too Brian discusses similar ideas to what is found in It’s Personal. Specifically, church planters need to take intentional steps to care for their family as they start their ministries. Here’s the clip:

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Here’s what Mac Lake has to say about It’s Personal:

“Brian and Amy give church planters a real and raw look at what it takes to plant a church. This book is filled with encouraging, challenging, and practical stories that will give every church-planting couple the wisdom they need to navigate their own journey. The book had such a powerful impact on Cindy and me that we are making it required reading for every church planter that goes through the Launch Network training.” – Mac Lake

You can read a sample here.

Catalyst One Day re-Cap: Wisdom from Andy Stanley & Craig Groeschel

I spent Monday in Atlanta with a few other Z employees at a Catalyst One Day event. Throughout the day I heard Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel speak on how to create and maintain positive, life-giving cultures in organizations. It was a fascinating day. I couldn’t help but think about my own church, Zondervan, and other orgs I’ve been a part of as they presented their material. Following is a quick list of some of my favorite nuggets of wisdom:

Session 1 – Craig Groeschel

  • Healthy cultures never happen by accident. They are created.
  • The number on force that shapes your culture is your values.
  • Determine honestly what your actions say you value. (This one really got my head spinning. I tried to imagine what my church looks like to a visitor, and especially, to a non-believer. What do they see when they come to our worship service for the first time? Are the core values of the church effectively being presented?)

Catalyst ConferenceSession 2 – Andy Stanley

  • [Leaders need to regularly ask those in their org] What can I do to help you succeed in your role?
  • Do you for one what you wish you could do for everyone. [I heard Andy say this in another context at Catalyst last fall and it blew my mind then.]
  • Systematize top-down service.

Seesion 3 – Craig Groeschel

  • Leaders have a limitless capacity for self-deception.
  • Don’t delegate tasks, delegate authority.

Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend, Andy StanleySession 4 – Andy Stanley

Andy spoke on chapter 9 of his new book Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend. He didn’t announce it that way from the stage, but I know that’s what it was. Here’s the first official Engaging Church teaser to go and check out this product. Seriously, it’s a book every pastor will need to read in the coming year.

- Andrew

Stories of Sifted: New Devos just for Ministry Leaders

I blogged recently on the upcoming Exponential Conference. The theme for this conference is “Sifted.” It’s taken from the verses found in Luke 22:31-32:

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (NIV)

Stories of Sifted logoIn preparation for the conference the folks at Exponential have put together a series of 20 devotionals written for ministry leaders, by ministry leaders. They are calling it “20 Leaders in 20 days” and it can be found on their “Stories of Sifted” web page. The full list of contributors can be found here. The list includes Hugh Halter, Geoff Surratt, Michelle Wegner, and a number of other recognizable names and new names.

I’ve read two stories so far: Peter’s (as in, the apostle Peter); and Alex Absalom’s (church planter from the UK).

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