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Connect Conference | St. Cloud, MN

Over 500 pastors and leaders gathered last month in St. Cloud for the Connect Conference. It was three days of connection, celebration, and powerful words from Scotty Gibbons and Mark Batterson.

Scotty opened the conference with a message about rekindling the wonder of our call to ministry with the phrase, “I can’t believe I get to do this.” He brought a timely word about rest on Tuesday morning, with an emphasis on staying healthy as a pastor. That was followed by a panel discussion on sabbaticals with Keith Thompson, David Savage, and Dave Simerson. Each of the pastors shared their experiences, including how they approached their church about the idea and what it looked like for them. This was accompanied by a handout with our district’s sabbatical recommendations for churches. You can find that PDF on our Facebook page and website.

BGMC giving climbed to $225,425, Speed the Light giving hit $1,762,069, and overall AGWM missions giving set a new record with $10,767,411!

Pastor Mark Dean shared the latest updates from our MN Missions iniatives, which included a highlight video of our 2018 Lead Pastor Vision Trip to India and the announcement of 2019 destinations. More information is coming soon. We also celebrated increases in missions giving in 2018. BGMC giving climbed to $225,425, Speed the Light giving hit $1,762,069, and overall AGWM missions giving set a new record with $10,767,411!

Mark Batterson joined us Tuesday evening with an incredible message on commitment and challenged us to step out in faith with whatever God is speaking to us. He said, “Brave is not always big. Sometimes brave is the small thing.” He closed out the conference Wednesday with insightful leadership lessons. All sessions were recorded and are posted online at:

It was an amazing time of leaders connecting across geographic, gender, and generational lines. Our hope is that these connections will continue to strengthen our district as we strive to become quality Christian leaders, lead healthy faith communities, and fulfill the Great Commission.

Next year we return to St. Cloud January 20- 22, 2020 with Mark Gungor, an incredibly funny communicator, as one of our featured speakers. Discover more about Mark at