What the Heck Is a PechaKucha?

Barry Taylor giving a pecha kucha presentation. (photo by Courtney Perry)

Doug and I like to mess with people. That probably doesn’t shock anyone who knows us. So, at the conference we convened last week, we messed with a bunch of presenters. While we allowed Phyllis Tickle, the keynote speaker, to give four hour-long talks, we asked a bunch of our other speaker friends to talk about something they are passionate about.

For 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

With 20 slides timed at 20 seconds each.

For presenters who are used to giving hour-long talks, or even 20-minute long sermons, this is a tight constriction. It’s called a pechakucha presentation, and it’s scary as hell. I know, I did one (see below).

In addition to Doug and me, 17 of our friends did presentations. Here are the names of those presenters, with links to their online presence, and my one line summary of what they talked about:

Melissa Greene: How she went from the CCM industry to a more progressive version of Christianity.

Barry Taylor: The church needs to learn obfuscation from the arts.

Adam Walker-Cleaveland: Starting a theology pub.

Cameron Trimble: The work of the Center for Progressive Renewal.

Mike Stavlund: How to talk to someone in grief.

Scott Griessel: What’s behind Darkwood Brew.

Troy Bronsink: Bring art back to church.

Laura Truax: Walking a church through the GLBT conversation.

Bruce Reyes-Chow: We’re not done talking about race.

Suzanne Stabile: The unlikely places I found church on my vacation.

Spencer Burke: Combining photography and mediation for monotation.

Steve Knight: The growth of missional.

Drew Sumrall: Liberalism needs fundamentalism to survive.

Mark Scandrette: Family trumps all.

Jay Bakker: The church is Gotham, and I am Batman.

Gareth Higgins: Peace isn’t easy, but it’s imperative.

Tim Conder: It’s time to get serious about reforming education.

Doug Pagitt: Running is spiritual.

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  • Bill Sahlman

    this was amazing… every one of them.

  • Tony,

    I appreciate the link, but my point was/is not that liberalism ‘needs’ fundamentalism (necessarily) to ‘survive’, but rather that the two are separated (only) by ‘minimal difference’.

    Apologies again for having to split from the conference early…

    (Looking forward to next month.)


    • Drew, if you wouldn’t have left, I could have heard yours and had a better summary. 🙂

  • I love the way this format turns the convention of what are essentially sales pitches on their head– rather than make the audience uncomfortable during droning plenary speeches, the presenters are put on the spot. It is the rough equivalent of telling seasoned speakers/self-promotional salespeople, “Dance, monkey!” and watching them transform into dry-mouthed, nervous wrecks. But some serious goodness comes from it, at a very rapid rate.

    • Mike, your pecha kucha presentation did not feel like a “sales pitch” at all. Yours was absolutely one of the best, and just about every freaking line of it was quotable! I hope you’ll post the text of it on your website (if you haven’t already – I’ll go check right now). It was absolutely brilliant and brought me to tears again (just like you did at Wild Goose last summer). Thank you, friend!

      • I totally agree with Steve. You know how I want to write about your presentation? Well, I, too, want to quote ALL of it! It was fantastic. You’re a great writer and will transfer grace to many people in grief.

  • This was probably my favorite part of the weekend. Jay Bakker’s blew me away.

  • Scot Miller

    Very interesting presentations!

  • Kenton

    So… were any of these recorded?

    • Yes, they all were.

      • Kenton

        …aaaand… can we see them?

  • Alison

    The slide over Barry Taylor is perfect! “Silence is better than bullsh*t”. So true!

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