Two of American's biggest megachurch pastors – Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House and Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church, both in Texas – will share the same stage at the 2012 International Pastors & Leadership Conference.
The three-day conference, scheduled to take place May 3-5 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., promises to address the most pressing needs of today's church and bring together some of the biggest Christian leaders in the world today. Besides Jakes and Osteen, Bishop Tudor Bismark from New Life Covenant Church in Harare, Zimbabwe, Bishop Noel Jones from the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, Calif., and Dr. Cynthia James, a Christian psychologist providing counseling to more than 140 pastors, will be some of the names present at the event.
The conference is aimed at both pastors and their wives, as well as church executives and their administrative support staffs, and will present strategies for how to balance the business of church with the spiritual needs of the congregation and community at large.
What is unique about the event is that it will allow some very prominent pastors, such as Jakes and Osteen, to network and work together, which they do not get to do too often throughout the year with their busy schedules and obligations to their own congregations. Although the conference will have a big focus on senior pastors and look at operational strategies for large churches, it will also have a forum to address the holistic needs of churches of any size.
"Leadership is not just the exclusive domain of the senior pastor. Rather, it is a responsibility shared among those who lay a solid foundation to ensure a structure's upward stability and proper functioning at every level," said Bishop T.D. Jakes in a press release.
The theme of this year, called "The Mission is Not Impossible," will address some of the biggest hardships facing pastors today and look at ways to overcome them. Some of the topics on hand will be the uncertain economy, which continues to pose questions for church finances, the moral failure among leaders, and how pastors can build up their congregation and bring their church up to the next level.
The official website for the event also says that this year there will be more space, more sessions and more empowerment. This year's conference also includes new workshops such as one featuring live demonstrations in the areas of dance ministry and praise & worship. It promises a more intimate/interactive setting for church leaders and professionals.
The conference, led by Bishop Jakes, has been gathering leaders from around the world since 1995, and is reportedly one of the most successful annual church conferences in the United States.
More than 6,000 church leaders from 25 different nations around the world attended the 2011 International Pastors & Leadership Conference last year, where they learned what to do when a crisis strikes and they need to keep their church together. Also staged in Orlando, the conference brought in around $6.5 million to the region, according to the visitors' bureau.
Bishop Jakes gives a short preview of the upcoming conference in the clip below, promising that it will be "amazing:"