so i got back yesterday (1:15 am) from austin, texas and Q. i starting taking care of tapestry things yesterday and while i’m doing some of the same today i do at least feel like i have enough time to put down some of my thoughts concerning the conference. so here goes:
- positive – the conference that i have thought of as being consistently the best ministry conference in the states has been youth specialties’ national youth worker convention. every time i ever went to nywc i was challenged and refreshed. heck, pam loved going to nywc’s with me. one of the things i have appreciated the most concerning nywc is its mindset of bringing together contradicting thoughts and allowing the participants to figure out what worked best for them in their context and faith. i feel like Q has done a good job of learning from what youth specialties has historically done so well. i can’t yet say that Q is as good as nywc but that’s just because i’ve only been too one Q. i have years of experience with nywc and therefore know that they are great. i’ll find out next year if Q deserves to be ranked with nywc as consistently the best.
- positivei love conferences that focus on ideas while i am not as huge a fan conferences that focus on practice. don’t get me wrong, ideas that don’t lead to practice aren’t that much good. therefore a conference should have some practical examples of what an idea leads to. yet it is my opinion that conferences that focus primarily on practical aspects end up limiting people rather than releasing them. you just end up doing the same things that other people and groups have done. whoopee. Q was all about ideas and questions – some of which competed with each other. i was exposed to different people’s and organization’s thoughts, given a few examples of how they have lived it out, and then encouraged to branch out in directions that best fit me, tapestry, and point rather than encouraged to buy a program. one of the things i loved was that several times presentations were made by people who had been participants at previous year’s Q’s and then had gone out and done something new. celebrating how people have developed something new rather than just have had success with an already established (and probably commercialized) program shows what the real values of Q are.
- positive – the quality of the presentations was amazing. a good half of the presenters were absolutely incredible – both in their ideas and their method of communicating those ideas. of the remaining half i would only describe two as let downs and one of those would was just because she didn’t do a good job of communicating her ideas, which were fascinating ideas.
- positive – i got my money’s worth. Q is expensive. being a church planter i went for a reduced rate (thanks Q) and it was still pricey. yet i left austin knowing that it had been a first class event and i had received my money’s worth. from the quality of what was done, to the “freebies” that i received (6 books, two magazines, and a pound of coffee were in my registration bag – which was a real clothe book bag), to the concert from over the rhine, it was all excellent.
- negative – it would have been nice to have heard from presenters who are not living, working, and/or ministering in “big time” environments. what about people living in cities with less than 400,000 people who are doing revolutionary things? surely there are some in the u.s.
as you can see it was a great conference. i loved it so much that i went ahead and registered for next year’s Q (which is in chicago) while i was still in austin. now i get to see if it lives up to my first experience.