The Anti-Conference

It seems like anybody who figures out something puts on a conference. I’m not judging, because I really like going to conferences.  But the #1 value of a conference for me is the hallway conversations and the informal networks that develop.

And it seems like there are quite a few coaching networks popping up.  Pay $200 and I’ll let you hang out with me for a few hours.  I’m all for learning, and again, you get no judgement from me.  I know those things are worth it.

But it seems like we could get together, without a 11 hour a day, 3-day schedule and without three expert keynote speakers.  In my own church planting journey,  I learned the most from asking questions, hanging out and talking about real life issues.  What are you guys doing series wise?  What’s been your most effective form of advertising?  How do you guys program your services?  What % of my budget should I spend on staff?

So, I’m thinking about throwing the anti-conference.  A couple of days, wives included (because they need to network too…and not in the cheesy pastor’s wives retreat settings).  An interesting city,  a little organized conversation over some meals, some free time, and lots of connecting.  No expert teachers, just people actually doing ministry.  No worship band set playing through a $50,000 sound system.  No know it alls, but a bunch of learners.  Part learning.  Part vacation.  All anti conference.

Anyone interested?


16 comments so far

  1. respondingtogod on

    I’m in. We talked about that 2 years ago… remember


  2. Anthony Foxworth on


    Sounds interesting. I would be interested in connecting to something like that. We have very few connections of that nature besides the networks that you spoke of in your post. They are great but not a lot of connecting time. I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out.


    Anthony Foxworth
    River of Life Church
    Albany, NY

  3. alex mclean on

    dude – I would come…
    well, maybe – depends on how much the place ticket is!

  4. jamie on

    I’m interested. Keep me up to date and let me know if I can help with the planning.

  5. Derek on

    My vote is contingent: in order to be an ‘anti-conference’ it has to be anywhere but Atlanta. My votes on location? Columbia, Charleston, Raleigh, Greenville (NC), Huntsville, or in the Smokies somewhere.

  6. Chris Reeder on

    Count Susanne and I in with this…

    Round-table discussion format?

    I thought about making a trip down there to see how you guys are doing things anyway! This would be my excuse to make the trip!

  7. Josh Roberts on

    i’m in! i’d pay millions to just to hang out w/ you and Anthony! well maybe not millions, but i would pay tens of dollars.

  8. Matthew Starner on

    Sounds like something we’d be interested in! I’ve been following Oak Leaf from the beginning and it’d be great to share ideas and approaches. Keep me informed!

  9. pastormarty on

    I’d take it one step farther than Derek. How about taking it out of the south so we don’t gain 30 pounds eating waffle house and chick fil-a the whole time. How about the Northeast, where churches aren’t the “in thing” right now?

  10. boydbettis on

    I’m in

  11. Michael on

    glad to see there’s some interest. we’re going to flesh it out a little more. i think we need to find a cool city for this thing. part learning. part vacation. part hanging out with our wives.

    where do you guys want to go? vegas? boston? atlanta? somewhere else?

  12. Jonathan Herron on

    Michael –

    Love it.

    But bring it to Chicago, Cleveland (Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame!) or the north-east (Philly? D.C?).

  13. Derek on

    Northeast (Philly or DC would be great: as long as the weather allows). Or..for a true anti-conference, let it be Buffalo in January 🙂 . See who comes then. As far as format, I really like the TEDtalks format of limited time presentations, interspersed with cultural presentations. In a Christian setting, this would be worship sets, I gather. You should see who signs up, who’s interested in giving a presentation (allow everyone who signs up the opportunity) and then from the number of people who have an idea to present, determine the time limit and structuring. It’s structured, but different enough to the point where it’s not conference-like. Especially with having it ’round-table’ in the sense that anyone can present.

  14. boydbettis on

    I say Jacksonville, FL. Not because I live here or anything. Just Kidding.

    I like the ideas of either Boston, Chicago, or D.C.
    How about some small country town, like Graceville, FL. I’ve never been there before. NO, that would be dumb. But, if it’s the anti-conference, we need to go to some small non-conference town.

    Format – I am digging the idea of a roundtable sessions. This could be a time gathered at Panera or a sweet local place. I like local restaurants.

    We could present an idea and everyone brainstorm some sweet ideas or discuss what God is doing in our churches and other churches. I don’t know…it all sounds fun.

    Are we going to get a sweet t-shirt and gift bag…ha. Or sense it’s the anti-conference we can bring a gift bag to the person organizing the conference.

  15. readscott on

    i’ll be there! i plan on planting a church in a couple of years.
    where: i like the northeast. not too many conferences there. boston, philly, dc. all of the above.
    when: i like may.
    format: i like round tables and collaboration. although, there is true value to having perceived experts join in on the conversation. without a reason for people to gather in one place, you might as well host a series of webinars or conference calls.

  16. Tim on

    Weird… my cousin and a dude I got assessed with replied to this. I was planning on going until I saw them – kidding.
    I’m in – I like the Cleveland idea but Nashville seems to be central and the Gaylord is a sight to see with a bunch of things to do and see. Good outlets for the girls…

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