May 122010

People being the social beings that we are, live video or holograms will not replace the value of being together in person. While the economy and travel security have changed the industry of conferences and events, organizers are still actively producing events. According to one source, “Meetings and events are responsible for 15 percent of all travel-related spending, create nearly $40 billion in tax revenue at the federal, state and local level and generate more than one million jobs.” [pcma]

The question that I get asked frequently is, “Which conference should I go to?” Some call me a “conference junkie” but that doesn’t mean every conference is the right fit for every person.

With hundreds and thousands of events to choose from, it’d be good to know what’s available before deciding on one. In the worlds of business, academia, government, non-profit, and other sectors and vocations, there’s these large online listings for conferences:

And in the world of church leaders, there’s these online listings:

// [update] you can also find webinars and teleseminars on listing/ directory sites like,,,, Virtual Events Calendar via allvirtual , WebinarBase via Eugenia //

Aside: there’s a whole network of conference and event planners, e.g. Meeting Professionals International, The National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners ,,,

Mar 242010

Churches are searching for pastors. Pastors are looking for churches. Making the connection can be quite challenging for many on both sides of the equation. Sure there’s a spiritual dimension to all of this– being a pastor is a “calling,” (whatever that might mean in a particular faith tradition) layered with much prayer for discernment and provision. Yet in the real-world concrete and tangible reality, there is that job component, when a church pastor is a paid religious professional.

There are a bunch of search engines / directories/ listings working to make this connection, for pastors looking for a ministry opportunity, and for churches looking for a pastor to fill a staff position, along with other church staff jobs. I’ll update this list as I find ‘em — (note: listing does not connote endorsement) ::

And, there are professional services that help make the connection for churches and staff. is run by Justin Lathrop (one of my pastor friends), who can put together a professional nationwide search for church staff positions. And, the executive search firm called Vanderbloemen Search Group facilitates ministry leadership search for larger churches. Another one is, a full-service consulting firm for church staffing.

Aside: this article, How to Work for a MegaChurch, gives sobering advice about working in a church setting. Set your idealism aside — “If you think working for a church will be peaceful and idyllic, you’re deluding yourself. Pastors and church staff members are as inherently flawed as the rest of the world. If your desire to work for a MegaChurch stems from the belief that you’ll be in a conflict free office environment, think again.

Aug 092009

Recently I’ve been asked, time and again, “I’m having a hard time finding a church.” I find the question surprising. Look at this map below of Irvine, California, where every red dot represents a church. (granted, not every Google search of the word church is a church, but most of them are churches.. and not every church has the word church in its name.. so let’s call it even.)

With so many red dots, churches are obviously much easier to find than a wifi hotspot! And a while back, I put together a shorter list of churches in Irvine, California, to help with people’s elusive search. Why am I still hearing the question? Now, I am sympathetic to the question, knowing how it can be hard to find a place of acceptance and understanding. Yet I wonder what is the really going on behind the question.

These questions come from Christians, even mature ones at that. On the one hand, there are many well-meaning books and articles exhorting the church searcher to not be church hopping and church shopping, to resist the cultural forces of consumerism. And, it’s true that you can worship God and connect with God anywhere. And Jesus did say something about the question not being to worship at this mountain or that mountain [being translated: at this church or that church], but worship in spirit and truth.

And when those theological truths and aspirational beliefs hit the ground, even mature Christians seem to find it hard to arbitrarily choose any church and make it their church home. Even when one sifts through a big list of churches to the ones that match a person’s theological convictions, and rightly so, there are still dozens to choose from. Preferences span the range of: teaching style, worship music, philosophy of ministry, church size, sizeable number of people of the same age, particular kinds of ministry, etc. And it’s not just preferences for a church that’d feed their soul [or, where they're best challenged to grow] or where they can connect with people like themselves. It’s also particulars of a church where they can best serve and offer their gifts, talents, and treasures.

Is being picky with churches too selfish? Sure it could be self-serving. Or it can be a part of the discernment process. And decision-making is not easy. The perennial favorite topic of “finding God’s will” stays at the top of the charts. In this case, finding the right church.

My thought for now: I think while we can worship God anywhere, or try to, the marvel is that God will meet us where we are. Preferences and all.

Aug 092007

Even though I typically use my T-mobile hotspot subscription to login at nearby Starbucks and Borders, I can also enjoy the occasional free wifi internet from other venues I stumble upon. They can be kinda hard to find, at least in places I frequent like around metro Washington DC, or, now, around Orange County. I reguarly use the Wi-Fi FreeSpot Directory — this shows up #1 on a Google search for “free wifi” and in the last year over 4000 new locations have been added.

But I found 3 4 other great free wifi directories online with web 2.0 collaboration that maintains a current and up-to-date directory (but haven’t accrued enough Google juice and I hope my link and yours will help):

(Statistics were self-reporting from each directory, at time of this blog post.)

There you go — now you can stay connected. Just have to remember to bring your laptop, and keep your battery charged. If you find other great free wifi directories, please do add a comment to this post.

May 192004

the idea of 5 days without high-speed internet prompted me to do due diligence to see if I could find free WiFi, not by only leaving my laptop on and warchalking, but also using some search engines to see what people already have found, here’s a few lists of what turned up for Nashville: Wi-Fi-FreeSpot Directory, Auscillate’s Free WiFi Access Points, JiWire’s Search Results, Butler Networks’ listing — from what I can tell, none are within walking distance of the Convention Center.. still seeking..