Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The 'Q' Conference - Part 2

Recently, I posted on The Q Conference (original post), the $725 /person culture-shaping event hosted by Fermi Project. Jeff Shinabarger, a co-creator of the conference, commented on that post explaining that, "we obviously don't have everything figured out and its always great to hear concerns or doubts from people, along with potential solutions to the concerns." With Jeff's encouragement, I'd like to continue to explore the important issues the subject stirs up.

We're at the dawn of Reformation within the community of Christ-followers & Revolution within Western culture. Intentionally participating in this Reformation / Revolution means understanding its nature, a nature that strikes me as a powerful 1 Corinthians 1:27 reality, in which, "God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

Because it is a grassroots movement tied to the dynamics of postmodernity, this Christian Reformation / Cultural Revolution isn't about what people build but rather how people live. It's not about isolated moments of decision but rather progressive relationships. It's not for professionals but rather for the diverse "everyone". Any method intended to spur such a movement on must be intimately tied to the rhythms of lifestyle, relationships, & common community... not institutions, isolated moments, or professionalism. The Q Conference, with its high price tag & dominant white-male lineup of speakers, seems disconnected from the rhythms and essence of the present Reformation / Revolution.

Perhaps a better solution for motivating, educating, and challenging leading persons might be to arrange a "virtual conference" made up of the best & most pertinent messages of a variety of diverse presenters that are integrated & placed onto DVD or a website for download. Then, communities around the nation & world could affordably gain access to the discussions at hand & host their own discussions using whatever facilitations guides are made available with the conference itself. this way, local communities can experience the event within their local relationships & local missional contexts.

I'll give a small example of this dynamic in action. I've attended Willow Creek Community Church's Leadership Summit on their main campus for years. This last year, however, I took my church's leadership team to a local hotel & arranged a two day virtual conference using the most relevant sessions from the 2003 WCA Leadership Summit DVD package. Between enjoying the hotel's free full-breakfast & enormous hot tub (features the on-site conference never offered) our group worshiped, prayed, & watched sessions by Erwin McManus, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, & more... using the companion WCA workbook downloaded from their website. After each session, we engaged in roundtable discussions on the concepts & potential applications in our local context. The event was immersive, affordable, local, & flexible according to our particular desires!
(... and did I mention the hot tub?)


David said...

What a sweet idea. I smell a hot tub brewing near by.
Urbana has a bunch of stuff that I might take a gander at.

And I agree. Coming from a white male middle class Canadian-American (that'd be me), I was even thinking earlier today how to create an atmosphere of diversity...especially in Northern Colorado where diversity is scarce...

Makeesha said...

I'm just always turned off by something so high priced...and if that's unavoidable using one method, then perhaps other methods/modalities (as with what you shared John) should be explored. To me, a conference with a high price tag communicates the message that being equipped is only available to those with money.

o2thoughtful said...

I guess I come at it kind of differently. Living in the UK this is the sort of conference I never get the chance to go to, to listen to high quality speakers the likes of whom I can't hear talk on these issues very easily. I'm going, I hope it's going to help me understand culture a bit better, and fire up some new ideas in me and act as an encouragement and build some great new contacts in the US to share ideas. In particular, I'm working with college students as voluntary work so this will hopefully help. I'll blog it, and then maybe you can take your views from there.

Just because it's expensive and non racially diverse doesn't mean that it's not filled with a bunch of people who are passionate about seeing Jesus and the church getting back out to the community. As seen in the day they will have everyone working with a community effort in Atlanta. I've never been to a conference where they've done that before.

Lets not close all the doors on new opportunities.

John Lynch said...

o2thoughtful: Just because it's expensive and non racially diverse doesn't mean that it's not filled with a bunch of people who are passionate about seeing Jesus and the church getting back out to the community.

...No doubt, brother! The speakers are all awesome, creative, Christ-loving people that I'm sure will be chauk-full of inspiring innovations. None of this is about the capability or empowerment of the presenters, just a statement on the method or training vehicle itself. I'm confident you're going to have an awesome time; & I'm excited for you!

By the way, o2thoughtful, if you're comfortable with it, I'd love to learn your name for these dialogs. No worries if that's too public, though!