I was part of a group of IT leaders from very large churches that met a couple of times a year for three years or so. The group (which never had a name other than “megachurch IT group”) included Mike Gold of Willow Creek
, Terry Chapman of Fellowship Church
, Vic Mollett of Southland Christian Church
, Eric Busby of Saddleback Church
, and others. When last we met in May of 2005 I told the group I would host the next meeting here at Church of the Resurrection
in the Kansas City area in 2006. Unfortunately, I got slammed last year with workload and staff turnover issues so I wasn’t able to make it happen. I recently exchanged e-mail with Mike Gold about renewing my invitation to host the group here and suggested merging the group with the Church IT Roundtable. He was very supportive and hoped to be able to attend and invite the old gang to join the Roundtable.
Accordingly, we would like to invite you to come to Kansas City for the Fall Roundtable October 3-4, which is right before Leadership Institute, our biggest conference of the year. After the Roundtable you could stay for Leadership Institute if you’re so inclined. I spoke with Tony Dye about getting this on the agenda for discussion at the Spring Roundtable to determine the level of interest. To get the conversation started, please leave a comment here and let me know if this sounds good.
National Church IT Association?
If you read Jason Powell’s blog, you already know about his hope to create some sort of national church IT association
. (Tony has arranged for Phill Martin of NACBA to come to the Spring Roundtable
to speak about this.) Now as for me, I strongly prefer the roundtable format for meeting with and learning from other church IT leaders. I worry that formalizing and scaling up what we’re doing into a national association would result in losing the powerful, peer-to-peer sharing of the roundtable format. I also worry that we’ll discover even the 25-30 people expected to attend the Spring Roundtable will be too many for everyone to fully participate. So what to do?
Fall Roundtable Format
Now here’s where it gets really exciting (we think?!) or maybe even crazy. For the last couple of years I have been meeting informally with church IT leaders here in the Kansas City area such as Mike Mayfield of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
. I suspect many of you have had similar meetings with other church IT leaders in your own cities. Perhaps some of you have already held roundtables in your cities. This makes me wonder if the best way for us to scale up would be to have roundtables in cities across the country and then link them technologically
What if we made a first effort at this idea for the Fall Roundtable? What if we limit attendance here in Kansas City to 15-20 people and find some great way to link in roundtable groups from other cities? This idea is partially inspired by the Willow Creek Leadership Summit that brings together church leaders from around the world. We’re imagining some kind of “un-conference” that retains the strengths of peer-to-peer sharing but is scalable to involve many more people than you can fit around one table. We would like for everyone to be able to see/hear each other and use their own laptops to annotate/live blog the discussion and have side conversations. We’re not even close to figuring out how to do this from either a facilitation or technical standpoint, but one idea is to use Adobe Connect (formerly Macromedia Breeze). Whatever the mechanism is, we would need to fully test both the technology and the method of facilitation prior to the meeting. And, no doubt, we’d learn a great deal from doing this once. At that point we would know either a) this works; b) this works but needs to be tweaked/improved; or c) it doesn’t/can’t work.
Please comment and let me know your thoughts or post on your own blog and link back to this post.