Sep 222009

2 highly influential church leaders are offering one day with them at a global leadership conference called Unleashing Beauty on October 10th, 2009. The 2 leaders are Erwin McManus and Dave Gibbons. Both have been keynote speakers at large conferences for church leaders like Willow Leadership Summit and Catalyst. Now they’re taking a day to share their insights for free and give themselves away!
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Mar 012009

Holy holy. The Idea Camp finished last night in the 8′ish hour. A bonus session with‘s Scott Harrison followed after a brief intermission. theideacamp.comThe entire hybrid unconference was so much more than an experiment. It’d be too pithy to call it an experience. Some of what I loved about being there:

  • lots of younger people in the audience eager to learn and connect.. I believe the ideas and dreams God has planted in them has been watered and cultivated all the more; the $0 registration opened the doors wide for anyone and everyone to participate
  • porous-ness of the gathering, with room to breathe between sessions, people could come and go, ideas could flow and combust
  • how it connected the online and offline worlds, e.g. we had as many people online as in-person at the event, Q&A was interaction with both onliners and offliners, relationships initiated online came together in person, etc
  • the steps for turning an idea into reality was unpacked, in many different contexts, perspectives, and methods via workshops, Q&A, and examples
  • minimal use of paper connotes creative uses of digital technology, eco-friendly consciousness, frugal stewardship, and that hip cool factor too
  • it’s less about content and so much more about connections and courage and compassion
  • every main session and workshop was setup in a conversational format; we get more than enough lectures in the classroom and elsewhere
  • Charles Lee showed incredible generosity to organize, to share his social capital by inviting a buncha A-list conference-circuit-rider speakers / presenters/ facilitators, to thoughtfully plan the flow, to keep it open source, to be fully present with everyone during the event, to honor the dignity of each person by giving space and voice so they can have an opportunity to be heard

There’s so much more I loved about The Idea Camp, partly because I’m an ideator (i.e. ideation is one of my top StrengthsFinder talents). Gallup describes ideation as, “People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.”

Starting points for reviewing and connecting with the conversations that happened during and following The Idea Camp, via Google Blog Search for “the idea camp”, Twitter Search on hashtag #theideacamp, the Facebook group, the Ning-powered site at,

I’m more than happy to explore percolating ideas with my fellow campers and be part of seeing it become reality — video chat via tokbox, and/or meetup in person. Signal me any time. [Aside: psst, this blog post was composed on a MacBook Pro]

Dec 012008

It’s been a long time coming, and it’s now around the corner. A $0 conference for Christian leaders to gather! For years the rest of the world has had unconferences that have shared valuable content and facilitated engaging conversations for $0 registration, but it was very hard to find a free Christian conference for church leaders. (Granted there’s a certain value to the traditional conference format with productions on the main stage and breakouts / seminars / workshops, and some even are profitable ventures, there are also other innovative ways in the Web 2.0 world.)

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m so grateful that Charles Lee is coordinating an unconference called The Idea Camp on February 27-28, 2009 in Irvine, California. SAVE THE DATES! Here’s what The Idea Camp is about:

The Idea Camp is a free hybrid conference for idea-makers to share, network, and implement ideas. We are gathering some of the most innovative and creative leaders from around the country (this means YOU!) to share ideas, intentionally network, and move collaboratively into idea-making. Whether your passion is church leadership, non-profit work, social entrepreneurialism, technology, media, creativity, culture making, church planting, spiritual formation, compassionate justice, etc., this is the conference for YOU!

The Facebook Group for Idea Camp is and using a powered social networking engine, conference information is dynamically and collaboratively updated. See the list of people who will be presenting and/or facilitating conversations at The Idea Camp; it already includes: Brad Abare, Greg Atkinson, Eric Bryant, Mike Foster, Dave Gibbons, Jeff Shinabarger, Cynthia Ware, Robert Yang of, me, and more! More will be added between now and then, and you could be part of it too!

New to the idea of unconferences? It’s where no one pays to get in, no one gets paid, the playing field is level, and everyone has skin in the game. Read more about it cf. what is an unconference, understanding the unconference.

Call out others you’d love to see there. I’m calling out Dan Kimball, Erwin McManus, James Choung, Ed Stetzer, Dallas Willard, John Bishop, Donald Miller. Come on down!

Sep 262008

Spending the day at ChurchTechCamp; see the live streaming video, chat room, live tweets, and live blogging >>

Here’s a quick video scanning the #churchtechcamp audience

Search for hashtag #churchtechcamp for multiple simultaneous voices; follow me at for mine

This afternoon about 1:30ish (Pacific) I’ll kick off a discussion / conversation about whether blogging still matters, with these articles as a starting point:

[update] open wiki at for list of participants + sites mentioned + #churchtechcamp gets mention at official Twitter blog (!)

Sep 172008

Church TechCamp is set for next Friday, September 26th, at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. It’s an unconference for followers of Christ to talk about web technologies and the church; it’s an all-day participant-driven gathering. There’s a a website at, a FaceBook event page, an editable agenda wiki, blog, and online registration. Very eco-friendly.

I think with short notice on this 1st go around, it’s sorta like an alpha launch and most participants will be local to Los Angeles / Orange County / Southern California. It’ll be great to hang out with old and new web friends. (I like that term more than virtual friends or people I’ve met online but never met in person.) I’ll be there. Hope you will too — someone will probably bring a webcam to live stream video for some (or all?) all of the gathering.

Unconferences are like those other conferences with presenters and attendees, but $0 registration, i.e. free, and a more dynamic unstructured environment where you can have more conversations with presenters and attendees, less bells & whistles production, and everyone can give a little (or a lot). The content is comparatively less polished & less recycled, but it may well be more valuable because of the collective wisdom of the crowds. An unconference is what the participants make of it; contrast that with a paid conference that’s what the producers make of it. I like it, like it a lot.
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Aug 232008

This is way forward-thinking: Gnomedex is live-streaming its main sessions right now, for another day (up ’til 5:45pm Pacific Time / 8:45pm Eastern). They’ve been doing it for several years now (audio since 2006; cf. the Gnomedex philosophy)

This conference allows its non-attenders to watch it all live streamed over the web!

See the schedule to catch the segments of most interest to you.

Does live-streaming discourage people from attending and having to pay registration fees and travel costs? Nope, still sold out! Gnomedex is on my short list of conferences I really want to go to.

Know of any other conferences that are (partially or entirely) live-streamed? Interviews don’t count. :)

Jul 212008

I love going to conferences, not so much for the content, but more for meeting people, those I’ve met and those I’ve yet to meet. What I’m discovering, as a relational-oriented guy, and not a task- or goal-oriented guy, I look for people connections more than trying to find personal applications or takeaways. More responder than initiator — that doesn’t make me a bad person.

One thing I’ve done this season is to wear orange at conferences, lotta orange- on my phone cover, shoes, headphones, mouse, water bottle, t-shirt, Bible… Great color to spot in a crowd, like I’m a human traffic cone. Aside: my orange Crocs stand out, attracting eyes that glance down, but most people refrain from commenting. I’ll smirk back at ‘em. [photo courtesy dankimball]

When I meet new people, I’m starting to hear: “aren’t you the conference guy?” I think to myself, no, I’m not. I’m attending more of them than I used to, but I’ve never been to notable conferences like Willow Creek‘s Leadership Summit, Catalyst, Exponential - the mother of all church planting conferences, Buzz, Granger‘s Innovate, Desiring God, C3, Soularize, Resurgence, Off the Map, National Outreach Convention [w/ free webinars leading up to Nov 08]. Ohhhhh, and, there’s one called the Orange conference! All of these are church/ faith related. Too much worky-ness.

By the way, save the dates January 27-28, 2009, for a BIG conference Innovation3 in Dallas, hosted by Leadership Network.
Innovation 3

For my own fun, I’d go to conference for my vacations– on my short list: TED, SXSW, Gnomedex, International CES, podcamp/ unconference, MacWorld Expo. Family probably wouldn’t enjoy ‘em like I would.

I think conferences are great for motivational inspiration and a shared experience with a leadership team, not so much for content or information. Great for connections too. I wonder when Christian conferences will live-stream their sessions, give it away for free, instead of keeping it as an exclusive for attenders. Some conferences do give their content away for free post-event (eg resurgence, Desiring God). Conferences can be more about connections and conversations than content and control.

I’d like to see more rethinking and more innovation on the conference economic engine / business model. Pagitt, how about reimagining conferences?

Cf. I wonder if conferences [as we know it] have a future as travel costs escalate? Jeff Shinabarger on what makes a good event; Seth Godin on the new standard for meetings and conferences

Aug 112007

Fun to watch the Gnomedex on and off [videos], the biggest sold-out geekfest for the 7th time, being broadcast live via Chris Pirillo showed great enthusiasm and showmanship as always, even putting a shoe on his head. Love their alt conference philosophy and making room for an unconference too.

The first keynote Robert Steele [video] was interesting, to say the least, with schpeals of bad news. Notable as the #1 non-fiction reviewer on, he’s well read with tons of knowledge and statistics, but came to different conclusions than I would. He ranted and raved about political conspiracies and how Americans are lethargic. The underlying point is that we as bloggers do have the power of influence in an open source world, even though we’re not using it for the utopian world he’d prefer. His Open Everything” presentation is online, and he even made a preview available for Gnomedex overachievers: 2007-07-31 Steele at Gnomedex Preview 3.9 (2 min at 100MB).

[update 8/12] View this interview by Cali Lewis with Chris Pirillo about starting and ending with controversy — the rationale of this madness: to get conversations going and to look beyond the laptop. 211

I was surprised to not see the digerati Terry Storch (at a wedding) and Bobby Gruenewald (apparently at Willow World) at Gnomedex.

Biggest good news to date, while f2f negotiations continue between Taliban and South Korean offiials: Taliban: 2 Female Koreans to Be Freed (AP wire):

A Taliban spokesman said Saturday that two sick, female South Korean hostages would be released “soon” for the sake of good relations between the Taliban and South Korea. Neither the international Red Cross or the Afghan government could immediately confirm the claim.

[update 8/13 13:00 GMT] Taliban frees two South Korean women hostages

Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan freed two South Korean women hostages on Monday, officials in Seoul said, and they have been handed over to the Red Crescent.

Reuters witnesses said the two women arrived in the village of Arzoo, near the city of Ghazni, in a saloon car driven by two tribal elders.

“We saw them getting into a Red Crescent vehicle,” one of the witnesses said. “They were able to walk and appeared to be well, but they were very emotional and were crying.”

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that two Korean women were freed.

2 hostages freed