Conference ideas from #oxygen14

For many people missing out on a conference, it’s not just the preaching and encouragement they miss out on, but it’s also observing the well-run machine of a big conference so they can take and apply the ideas in their own conferences, camps etc. So here’s a few…

Question time questions, not by SMS, but by app. A sure fire way to get loads of people to download the KCC app (it worked for me)!

Choose a location that has intrigue. The Australian Tech park is pretty cool, and adds an exciting element to the conf. As always, while dealing with humans, you need to have an eye to how I and are affected by locations.

Limit information. I know things sounds weird (and I don’t know how intentional it is) but there’s something to be said about keeping back some key information from your participants. It’s day 2 and I still don’t know which of the key speakers is speaking tonight. I don’t even know where my next seminar location is. There’s some workshops happening this arvo… I’m not sure what they are or who’s running them. But, the opt out level will be much lower, because I don’t know what I’m opting out of. Very gen y.

Two tier seating tickets. Yep, despite James 2:1-4, there are two seating areas… The up front, close to the action seats (zone 1 – blue) and there’s the up the back, participate through the video relay seats (zone 2 – yellow). Though I can imagine this working in America, I can’t hep but wonder if the cheaper tickets are zone 1, so those people have to fill the front section as a punishment ;)
It is a good way to fill from the front… A perennial problem in Australia.

Why Oxygen2014 is valuable

This year I’ve been given the opportunity to go to Oxygen2014 – as a blogger/reporter. I reckon that’s an offer that’s pretty hard to refuse. And it comes back to what makes inter-church conferences valuable.

Inter-church conferences are when people from many churches gather for an event – as opposed to people from one church having their own event (Like we’re doing this week at forge2014!!!). It could be 1 day, weekend, or a whole week.

But there are two basic reasons to go to an inter-church conference… either

  1. to facilitate friendship with other Christians from other churches, or
  2. to facilitate friendships within your church members

See, if you’ve got a small church, chances are you don’t need to run your own church conference – everyone already knows each other. Going away for 3 days isn’t really going to make that much of a difference. In fact, if your flock has been part of a small church for years, they might need reminding that Jesus’ church is massive by going along to a inter-church conference, and meeting all these other Christians and being encouraged that they’re not the only ones. Those conferences are usually smaller (50-500 people). If’ you’re organising a smallish inter-church conferences, that should be one of your goals… facilitating people meeting new people and having to chat.

If you’ve got a bigger church, chances are that many of the people DON’T know each other very well. Those people don’t need to meet and chat with Christians from other churches, rather they need to get to know each other better and form their own relationships. So you’ve got two options. Either run your own church-conference so they spend the time with each other, or, go to a very large inter-church conference AS A GROUP that sticks together.

This is what we’ve done with Men’s Convention over the past few years. We knew we really needed our guys to get to know each other better. They didn’t have the time for a few conferences a year, and we couldn’t run our own, so we hire a bus and go to Katoomba Men’s convention as a group, we stay together and, while enjoying being with 2000+ guys, we try to get to know each other better first.

This comes back to why Oxygen2014 is valuable. It’s for that relatively small group of church “leaders”. Not just senior pastors, but those people who bare some level of responsibility for their church. It’s usually a lonely job. Paul knows it…

Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. (2Cor 11:28)

Oxygen2014 gives leaders the chance to meet and be encouraged by other leaders who know what it’s like.

Reflections on Nexus Conference

On Monday I had the pleasure of getting able to attend the Nexus conference. Some reflections…

  1. Pete Orr did a careful and considered job of showing that “the work of the Lord” that is “not in vain” in 1Cor 15 is not just general Christian living… rather Paul’s thinking of the work of evangelism and maturing Christians. This helps set up the perspective that gospel work is a special work that all Christians are called to.
  2. Archie argued that the shape/DNA/essence of reformed evangelicalism is that we’re on about conversionism. The next generation won’t just turn up… they need to be converted with the gospel. And they need to be converted into people who are on about converting others with the gospel.
    It was the type of talk that I hope people will think back to in 20 years time and say, “that helped me realise what we’re on about”.

More to come tomorrow.

Don’t dis the name tag

Name tags can be used really badly. Welcoming new people by making them put on a name tag is rarely a good idea. But why?

The value of name tags is to help create group identity.

Asking people who aren’t sure if they want to be in the group to wear a sign of being “in” just doesn’t work. They know they’re not “in” and wearing a name tag says they are “in”.

So why not using it when you gather together the people who are already “in”? Training events, Conferences, even getting a few Growth GRoups together for a social night. They are good opportunities to bring out the ol’ name tags and consolidate the group-ness.

Also, as group gets bigger, you can’t expect people to actually know the names of all the other people who are “in”. So make it easy on them and give them name tags.