This is more of anecdotal piece rather than one listing off references and stats. But I’d like to point out how Christians can start leading the charge for cheaper and eco-friendly conferences. We all know that the churches who can afford it, love to send their pastors and as many non-essential workers as possible to gaudy conferences around North America. Well maybe not quite, but there are a number of churches who are conference junkies and may indulge in the activity more often than really necessary (do we have to go to Leadership Summit every year to ask the same questions?)
Nonetheless, let me encourage churches and denominational leaders to connect and involve themselves in online networking in lieu of expensive flights, meals, lodging, etc., of conferences abroad.
Case in point, thenines conference this year on 09.09.09. IT was a FANTASTIC idea that probably had a HUGE following online. THe concept? Big names, brief talks, all for free, all online. No expenses!
Perhaps it’s necessary to meet folks face to face, but more often than not you can do away with that component. Take for example the aforementioned Leadership Summit headed by Willow Creek and Bill Hybels. They do it all by live feed. Now, I”m not sure why it’s still costs 100 bucks a person, but the concept is at least emerging.
Perhaps the leaders of conferences can start opting for the live feed/online conferencing feature over flights, appearance fees, meals, lodging, etc.. Imagine the THOUSANDS upon hundreds of THOUSANDS per year that could go BACK into community while still maintaining the apparent necessity of ‘leadership development’.
So cudos to you Brian McLaren for an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint while simultaneously saving everyone money. Hats off to you and to others who are leading this charge.