The Art of Events

Putting together the roster of speakers for an event is an art, not a science. I’ve been working with Sarah Cunningham to put together Christianity21, coming to Phoenix in January. Of course, we strive to invite speakers who have something to say and are good at saying it. But one of the things that we most desire is that the 21 leaders who grace the main stage will represent the widest swath of the church. I’m very proud of the list we’ve put together for this year. It’s surely not perfect, for I’m sure we’ve missed some constituencies. Nevertheless, I think when you look at the names in the graphic below, you’ll see various diversities represented — theological, racial, gender, demographic, geographic, denominational.

If you’ve been hoping for a leadership conference that is truly committed to reconciliation among various factions of American Christianity, I hope you’ll join us.

C21PHX Banner

Click on the image to learn more.

Some Big News…

Thanks for your patience with my sporadic blogging as I write my book. But I did want you to know about a couple opportunities coming up…

Boundary Waters Theological Canoe Adventure

Join me for five days in the amazing Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of northern Minnesota. We will canoe through some of the most beautiful, pristine wilderness in North America by day, and in the evenings we’ll discuss the doctrine of creation based on our readings and experience. The cost is $750 and includes all camping and canoeing gear and food.

The dates are May 29 – June 3 (you could fly into MSP on the morning of 5/29 and out on the evening of 6/3). The deadline to register is this Friday, and only 5 spots remain. REGISTER HERE. If you have any questions, please email me.

Christianity21 Phoenix: Rising from the Ashes

Following on the amazing success of Christianity21 Denver, we’re thrilled to announce the return of C21 — this time in the even warmer climes of Phoenix! The theme this time is “What needs to rise from the ashes of the church?” and we’ve already revealed some of the awesome speakers. See who they are and register here.

Dates: January 22-24, 2015. Cost $179 (Super Early Bird).

Progressive Youth Ministry

Last week was breathtaking — more on that tomorrow — so much so that we’re announcing the second annual Progressive Youth Ministry conference, taking place again in partnership with Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. Register early, cuz it’s sure to sell out.

Dates: March 18-20, 2015. Cost: $179 (Super Early Bird).

What Is It about Christianity21?

Paul Soupiset sketches at Christianity21. (Courtney Perry)

Before last week, Doug and I hadn’t run a Christianity21 conference since 2009. We’d run some others — both our own and in partnership with others — and some had gone quite well. We’d also run dozens of Social Phonics Boot Camps during that time. But people kept asking us to run another C21. Those requests came both from people who were at the first C21, and from those who’d heard about it over the years.

We knew that we didn’t have the bandwidth to resurrect C21 alone, so Sarah Cunningham came on board as the event’s producer. Christianity21 is more high-maintenance than other conferences because there are 21 speakers in just over 48 hours, and there are another 40+ 7-21 Talks (those talks are 7 minutes long). We could not — nay, would not — have run C21 without Sarah.

Sarah Cunningham giving some announcements. (Courtney Perry)

As Doug noted in the closing talk of the event, between Thursday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, attendees heard nearly 9 hours of content. Add to that the myriad conversations, new books purchased, and Heatherlyn songs sung, and the treasure of input was unparalleled.

Enjoying the “underground” 7-21 Talks at Christianity21. (Courtney Perry)

Never have Doug and I produced an event that was so unequivocally appreciated by all in attendance. Something magic happened over the weekend in Denver — something that we couldn’t plan for or make happen. Surely something that we could not manufacture. But something about the way that the various talks — both long (21 minutes) and short (7 minutes) — wove together a tapestry of beauty.

Charles Lee talked about innovation at Christianity21. (Courtney Perry)

Amy Jacober and child listen to a talk at Christianity21. (Courtney Perry)

So, the question remains as to whether we’ll run C21 again next year. If you’d like us to, I’d appreciate a comment in that regard. Also, let us know who you’d like to hear present. Doug, Sarah, and I all have full lives, and we run events on the side. So it’s never easy to decide how to go forward. Let me know what you think.

God Has Died…And He Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life

Engaging great content at Christianity21. (Courtney Perry)

I’m at Christianity21 this week, a gathering produced by Doug Pagitt, Sarah Cunningham, and Your Favorite Blogger. We’re one day in, and it’s been awesome. One of the great things about this event is that there’s no theme, and there are 21 gifted speakers, so we never really know what magic will happen in the chemistry between the talks.

They don’t all agree, but they do tend to dovetail with one another. Yesterday, Jonathan Merritt led off the opening session with a challenge to follow God’s call and listen to the unlikely ways that God speaks. Paul Raushenbush went next with a call for conservatives and liberals to rediscover the social gospel. Noel Castellanos told us five things we can do to engage with people and the gospel. And Nadia Bolz-Weber told us ten things she’s learned about being a pastor and church planter.

In the next session, Kent Dobson gave an amazing reflection on the absence of God, Sarah Lefton challenged us to engage Christians in biblical literacy in the way that she has challenged Jews, Mike Foster reminded us how everyone needs to be loved, and Romal Tune told us that the church needs to compete with gangs for the youth of LA.

In between, we had a couple dozen 7-minute talks by attendees from around the country. Today more talks. And tomorrow, even more, including my call to recover apocalyptic language for the church. Check back here for updates.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X