I recently returned from the first ever Deeper Christian Life Network Conference of 2016. Here are some thoughts and takeaways from it.
For those of you who don’t know, the Deeper Christian Life Network (DCLN) is an online mentoring network hosted by author and speaker Frank Viola. My wife and I consider him a spiritual mentor.
The network started in 2015, and this year Frank hosted the first ever conference for it. The conference is not open to the public, and is only made available to members of the network.
I highly recommend any person who desires to go deeper in their walk with the Lord to join this network. I have had the privilege of connecting with some incredible people from all over the globe on the DCLN. Go check out my interview with Frank about the network from when it launched.
Now, on to the conference.
The Cost Of The DCLN Conference
There is a membership fee for the Deeper Christian Life Network, but the conference is free to members with current memberships. You were responsible for your own airfare and travel expenses. The hotel provided rooms at a discounted rate to attenders of the conference, which helped to keep cost down.
The cost of a membership to the network is well worth the free ticket to the conference alone, even though the network itself provides fresh weekly content as well.
The DCLN Conference Location
The DCLN conference was hosted at the Hilton Double Tree by the airport in sunny Orlando, Florida. The hotel provided a free shuttle to and from the airport, which made it convenient for those flying in from out of state.
There were many restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, as well as a restaurant inside the hotel. Meals were convenient and a great time to gather with other members from the network. I had the pleasure to forge many new relationships around meals while there.
The Conference Set up
Every Christian conference I have attended has been set up with row after row of chairs facing a stage to listen to speaker after speaker from morning to evening staring at the necks of those in front of you.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
The DCLN conference on the other hand was set up with round tables with 8-10 people at each one. Tables were filled with people from around the globe. Water and mints were provided on the table for convenience.
We began promptly at 9am each day and attended two morning sessions with a small bathroom break in between; and we had two evening sessions with another small break between them. Mornings ran from about 9-12/1230, and the evenings ran from 730-10.
There was a significant break in the afternoon, which allowed for lunch, fellowship with other members, the completion of an assignment/exercise with a partner, and rest.
This break was intentional. Frank stated that he learned this schedule in South Africa. I enjoyed having lunch during this break with other members and having deep conversations until dinnertime.
The break was not a waste of the day by any means. It would only be a waste if you isolated yourself and did not use it to connect with other members.
We began each session by singing a song of worship a cappella, and then moved into the teaching time. The time of singing was very refreshing and edifying.
This years conference sessions were based on Paul’s letter to the Galatians. (Next year will be a different topic). Frank presented the material in a well thought out, well researched, and very well presented narrative manner that kept you engaged the whole time.
I have never heard Galatians (or any book of the Bible) presented this way. It truly made the book come alive for me, as well as everyone I talked to at the conference.
After each presentation, which represented each chapter, we were given an exercise to do at our tables. Each table read the corresponding chapter of Galatians, and then we began to discuss it and find Christ in the chapter.
This was an amazing time of ministering the Lord to one another. This was one of the most edifying times as well. We were able to gain fresh revelation of the Lord through Paul’s letter to the Galatians from brothers and sisters from around the world, and every walk of life.
As I state earlier, we were given an assignment to do with a partner during the afternoon break. I spent each afternoon with people forging great new friendships, and finally meeting some people I knew from the network and Facebook.
The assignment each day was eye opening and prompted more great conversations about the Lord.
The Take Aways
This was hands down the most Christ centered conference I have ever attended. One of the greatest takeaways I had from this conference was Christians place an unbearable burden of expectation on people.
(i.e. must read your Bible every day, must pray every day, must go to every church service, must tithe, must not wear a hat in the building, must tell someone about Jesus everyday, and on and on).
You can look at the book of Galatians and replace “the law” with “the Christian Expectation” and it becomes completely relevant to us today.
Below are a few more quotes from the conference that I have made easily shareable for you. You can find more on twitter by looking up the hastag #DCLN2016.
The quotes are just a mere taste of what was shared.
I will finish up with this. This conference was refreshing. I am normally worn out completely when I get home from a weekend like this, but with the intentional break, and I believe the complete Christ centered focus, I am actually refreshed and feel great. “His yoke is easy and his burden is light.” I am tired from travel, but not exhausted from the conference.
Overall I believe the Deeper Christian Life Network Conference of 2016 was a huge success. I highly encourage any follower of Jesus who desires to know their Lord greater to join this network. The free ticket to the conference is worth the membership price alone.