So I’m going to the Echo Conference in Dallas, TX (USA) next week. It’s for leaders that use media, the internet, and other forms of technology as a tool for the church. I get paid to go to conferences like this for my work and I’ve participated in these kinds of conferences or trade shows (yes they have trade shows for churches too).

There are a lot of conferences and training events out there that compete for the attention of the church staff.  There are denominational events, those put on by the church’s affiliation or events surrounding a subject like worship or leadership in church.  And the staff person must decide which events are most valuable while remaining a good steward of the church’s budget.

We are called to come together and meet as Christians and we also understand that iron sharpens iron. And when thousands of people commit to coming to these events year after year, it also becomes a place of commerce for many vendors.  Is that ok?  I happen to work for a vendor like this but I also know my own heart and I pray often about my motivations.  At what point are these vendors and event organizers trying to create revenue rather than equipping leaders? My answer is: the vendors wouldn’t come if there wasn’t money to be made.  My bosses wouldn’t let me attend or buy booth space if the end goal was to spread love.

It’s obvious that the makers of technology like projectors, video cameras, and computers are interested in sales.  It wouldn’t make sense for them to give their products away, would it?  And before technology was heavily involved in the church did we have the same scrutiny of stain glass makers and the people who make wooden pews?  We are called to be IN the world not OF the world.  So even though we participate in events that are consumer related and we’re treated like businesses by vendors we are still the church.

What are your experiences and what is your feedback?

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