meetingsA couple of months ago I started a series called ChurchTechCamp-8 Things To Know If You Want to Help Organize One. You can see my last post, with the previous posts at the bottom. I actually did have 8 posts within me, but got distracted which is easy for me to do. I could continue those posts, but I think I’ve made my point….(and to be honest, it’s part of my letting go process of perfection…I don’t need to finish 8 posts…haaa).

Conferences are changing, and the traditional way of doing them will disappear for many, but the few elite ones.

Church Crunch had a recent post, Hey Where’s My Conference?!?!

Eric Jones writes:

Has anyone else out there become aware of all the church conferences going on around the US? We’ve got leadership conferences, worship leader conferences, youth ministry conferences and more. It seems like every time I turn around I see a new conference popping up for my pastor, associate pastors, church staffers, worship leaders etc to attend.

I like to check out these sites to see what, if anything am I’m missing. The speakers are all people I typically am aware of and have much respect for. The topics are as expected, slanted towards church leadership and church staff.

But then I started to wonder, what about me? What about the church attender? Where is our conference circuit?

Cynthia Ware at The Digital Sanctuary says this in The Idea Camp Lives On (Idea Camp):

The entire event (free, of course)is still openly challenging all of us who are used to paying for conferences to see speakers we can listen to rather than those we can collaborate with.

And yet, Generation “We” seems to clearly resonate with a new set of values. Open source cross-pollenation, dynamic conversational collaboration, elevating innovation, celebrating creativity, participating, dreaming, designing, doing.

A taste of things to come.

So I’m wondering where you stand on all of this conference stuff. I know some people are frustrated with the sheer number of “conferences” or “unconferences” popping up, while others are thrilled.

Personally I think we are in the midst of the sorting out process, as people discern what is of value, and what is it worth paying for…if anything. And I think we are seeing the desire amongst one another to collaborate and work together on projects and topics, rather than just listening to speakers all day long up on stage.

I think that this next year or two will definitely help determine the course and agenda for the future of conferences and gatherings, and with a down economy it’s only forcing the issue of what is worth attending and what is not.

What do you hope to see in a conference, gathering, etc.?

What 3 conferences are you willing to pay good money for because you see them as delivering high value?

Which conferences, gatherings have the most collaborative environment among the participants and presenters?

Will you look for more free conferences, or low cost ones, rather than paying a higher amount for ones you have attended in the past?

I’d be curious to hear what people like DJ Chuang of Leadership Network, Rob Thomas of ECHO, Brad Lomenick of Catalyst, Tony Steward of ChurchTechCamp, Greg Atkinson of Church 2.0 and Charles Lee of the Idea Camp would have to say on this topic. They all have the experience of putting on both large and small conferences and gatherings, some for cost, some for free, with all kinds of different environments. And they all do a great job delivering great value.

I wonder where they see the future of conferences and gatherings going? Or where would they like to see it go?