Two days ago, Off the Agenda posted a blog titled, “4 Reasons to Not Cut Conferences.” I’m not a big fan of conferences for several reasons. So I write this blog not as a rebuttal to Off the Agenda or in disrespect, but more so to give a different perspective. Also, I do understand there are benefits to conferences besides learning new ideas.
1) They’re All Over-Priced
If you’ve ever looked into going to a church leadership conference, you know they’re all expensive. I don’t think I’ve seen one that’s under $100.
Just recently, there was a Saturday only conference, and it cost $100. Given the size of the church they met at, it’s safe to assume they were expecting 1,000 people to come. Some simple math shows that that’s $100,000 gross for a one day conference at a church with only two speakers. Let’s say each person received $20 worth of food and supplies. That leaves $80,000 to pay the speakers (two pastors) for one day of their life, a church for use of it’s facilities, and the promoters. That’s a whole lot of money going to just a few places.
Someone is getting rich off of these things.
This past month, there was a conference in town which was several days long, but it cost $500 per person. It was loaded with speakers and promised plenty of interaction time, but $500?
You can support a Compassion child for 3 years with $500. $500 can go a long way in the mission field. $500 can help a lot of people in your community.
I understand that growth is important, but there are many ways to grow as a leader and as a group. I’m also wary of choosing to support institutes which appear to be greedy or wasteful.
One reason I’ve heard for the high prices is that, when it comes to conferences, higher prices lead to higher ticket sales. People assume that if it costs more, they’re getting a better quality product. Therefore, some of these conferences jack up prices simply to get more people to show up. I understand wanting to get more people to show up, but with these prices, it seems more like greed and waste to me.
I’m not going to lie. In this day and age where the internet makes it easier to access additional resources, I’m highly skeptical of any high level, high dollar conference which doesn’t post their sessions on the internet. If your heart is for church leaders and the gospel, I can’t fathom charging $200 for an event and then an additional $50 to get access to the sessions. And I do have some specific conferences in mind.