The promo video for our winter conference.  Stay tuned for some really fun links and online miscellany relating to the conference.  Hopefully next week.

Lead Twit.

I just got my marching orders for my job at our regional Winter Conference.  For the past 7 conferences running I have been the “coffeehouse guy” which makes me sound like a barista.  In reality, I covered the content portion of the coffeehouse, which morphed over time to become the “Global Village” portion of the conference.  For a tour of the global village last year, check this out.

This year, I told them that my old job worked great as a single guy, but as a married guy, (and then a guy with a wife and child) my job of staying up all hours of the night became such that I was not giving it or my family the attention that both deserved.  So I’ve passed off that job into more capable hands, and am embarking on a job role that I am extremely excited about:

Lead Twit.

That’s the unofficial name of my new role, but it pretty well describes what I aim to bring to the conference.  If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s being a twit.

The more official name of my new role is “Online Experience Coordinator.”  The reality is that students increasingly live their lives in front of a computer screen, a mobile telephone screen, and in the online “world.”  While I think there is a real sense in which isolation (a functional anti-gospel) occurs online, I also am convinced that students living in a virtual world can (and are starting to) find real connections online that lead to life-change offline.

Our heart is not to give the students a distraction from what goes on at the conference, but to give them a way to further participate in the conference in ways that have been impossible in the past.  People are willing to say things online that they aren’t willing to say to your face.  While that’s not always a good thing, at the same time it is a great way to gauge how God is moving in the students, as it is actually happening.  Instead of having to wait to hear how God is moving days, weeks and months after the fact, we will get a real picture of what He is doing right in front of us.

How are we going to do that?(all of these are works-in-progress)

  1. live chat rooms (during non-meeting times, with a potential for “answer now” times during meetings)
  2. twitter hashtag #crutru09 (the conference theme is “Encountering Christ the Truth” this year)
  3. official twitter account for the conference
  4. 2 live blogs of the conference, including pre-conference news and events.  One blog will be primarily a window-in for parents, ministry partners, and other non-participants-who-are-still-interested, and the other will be geared for the students, and potentially run by the students.
  5. Live webcast of certain portions of the conference.
  6. Facebook fan page.
  7. Youtube account for the conference.
  8. BlogTalk radio channel for broadcasting—complete with easy sharing—of conference content.
  9. Other as-yet-undetermined interactive online things.

For those times when ONE blog isn’t enough…

For the next few weeks I’ll be manning the helm of not only this blog, but two (count ‘em) blogs for our winter conference.  I won’t be the only contributor, but I will have a significant amount of input and veto power over everything that appears on them.

The first is a live blog of the conference.  In a way, our winter conference has already started, as students begin to dialogue online about what’s going on and how they can be impacted by God during their time at the Sheraton.  This blog will be the frequently-updated and often-referenced hub of online activity during the conference.  It’s already got two posts!

The second blog I’ll wager has never happened at any conference.  Here’s my one-paragraph vision for it.  I know from personal experience that each student at the conference will be trying to explain what is going on to others.  They will sit across the table from Aunt Gertrude and try to explain what Encounter is, and if they are anything like me, they can go to 11 straight conferences (complete with photos and letters about them) and still have family, friends and supporters who have no real idea about what goes on at this thing.

This parents blog will be a way for parents, ministry partners (our more-correct way of referring to financial and prayerful supporters), and other interested “outsiders” to get a taste of the conference that is contextualized for those not up on all the lingo.  It’ll showcase different aspects of the conference, have stories from the conference, and keep folks updated who want to know what’s going on like right now at the conference.

I’ll still be updating here, but be prepared for lots of links to there.