meetups at Southern California conferences

Being in Southern California now, I have a sense that there’ll be lots of events and conferences to drop in on. For a quick number check, the Greater Los Angeles area has over 12 million people! (If you count only Los Angeles County and Orange County, it’s 12 million; if you count the 5 county sprawl and add in San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Ventura County, it’s over 17 million.) So with that many people around, there’s going to be tons of activities (and businesses and churches…)

Today I’ll be stopping in at this conference called Spirit of Wholeness in Christ: a Racial Ethnic Multicultural Event, and mingle with mainliners:

People of all races, cultures, ages, and socio-economic groups who often speak in different languages will speak with one voice when members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Reformed Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America come together to celebrate diversity and inclusivity at the Spirit of Wholeness in Christ: A Racial Ethnic Multicultural Event.Spirit of Wholeness in Christ … People of all ethnicities and races—American Indians and Alaska Natives, African Americans and Blacks, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Arabs and Middle Easterners, Latinos and European Americans—will take advantage of learning opportunities. Programs will be available for children, youth, and young adults.

Then over the weekend, I’ll hang out with the NewSong Church people at Biola University, VIBE 07 Conference: Way of the Fool. Brennan Manning is keynoting it. [they wanted me to let you know they’ve got last-minute walk-in registrations, so come on down!]

The thing I’m discovering about conferences is that they’re good for inspiring and exposing attendees to big ideas. When you have hundreds (or thousands) of people attending, the content that’s presented has to be delivered in an hour or less, whether in keynote/ plenary sessions, or workshop/ seminar format, so it’s mostly an overview (and some speakers will promote books, courses, and other resources). But to have an event like this, it can be useful to build momentum and gather the energy of being around so many other people who are excited about the same things. I don’t think conferences in and of themselves are the kind of thing that creates sustainable impact or measurable results.

Conferences are like those other social phenomena of a large rock concert or sports event where thousands fill an arena or stadium, and people share the experience and walk away with the soft intangibles. That part of it (the experience, the content) is okay for me. I love conferences for the hallway conversations and meeting up with people I know and don’t yet know.

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