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.
1) They’re All Over-Priced
2) They’ve Said it Before
Most conference speakers are either giving canned talks over and over again or they’re pastors who speak at conferences as a side gig. In either case, their conference material is normally quite similar to their latest book.
I have heard Josh McDowell live twice in the last two years. Once in chapel during Bible college, and once at an apologetics conference. He gave the same talk both times (chapel was 15 minutes shorter due to time constraints). Based off of the description, he was delivering the content of this book.
The fundamental problem with going to a top dollar leadership conference to hear your favorite pastor, author, or blogger is that you already know what they’re going to say. That’s why you’re excited to go hear them. In the words of my friend Cody Pope, “I’ve read the book. I know what they’re going to say.”
I’ll do my own rundown.
- I read Swerve and I own It, I know what Craig Groeschel is going to say.
- I’ve got all of Andy Stanley’s books and podcasts. I know what he’s going to say.
- I read SteveFurtick.com. I know what he’s going to say.
- I’ve got The Shaping of Things to Come. I know what Alan Hirsh is going to say.
- I’ve got Crazy Love. I know what Francis Chan is going to say.
- I’ve watched the Nooma videos. I know what Rob Bell is going to say.
- I’ve read some Erwin McManus. I know what he’s going to say.
- I’ve been to the Acts 29 website and YouTube. I’ve heard his rant about men in church on YouTube. I don’t need to pay $100 to hear it live.
What am I missing? Are we Gnostics; hoping that if we go to a conference we can get the secret knowledge?
I know I’m over-stating my position a bit, but the point remains. All of these guys are top level conference speakers because they’re putting out lots of great resources. And none of their other resources cost $100 for every hour of content. It would take me way longer than an hour to read all of Swerve, and I can do that for free.
Now sure you’re going to get some additional information at the conference, but is $100 worth of additional information?