Are conferences really about the relationships and people?

Recently a lot of my friends attended the Theology After Google conference in Claremont, CA.  Needless to say I SOOOOO wanted to be there. Tripp streamed some of the video of the conference and it looked awesome. I heard Callid Keefe-Perry (aka: TheImageOfFish) just crushed it out of the ballpark. Being that I was only 400 miles away it was everything I could do from jumping in my car and just going.  But alas no money.

I’ve attended quite a few conferences over the last couple of years.  And in some ways there are soooo many conferences now there is some backlash that we’re too conferenced.  But we just keep going.  And I have kind of wondered in the back of my mind why we do that.  What is the real value of the conferences?  Is it the information?  Maybe.  But I doubt the Theology After Google conference will change the world.  The idea at conferences like this need time to ferment and develop.

It was a Twitter comment from KimberlyAKnight that finally made something click.  She said: “Immensely grateful for the time spent at Theology After Google – Lord bless my hearing & understanding and especially new friends”  We appreciate the data and need to understand.  But her emphasis was on “especially new friends.”

What if the real reason people go to these conferences is the relationships and connection to people who have similar ideas.  I know that when I go I totally Jones for the dialog.  Its like a gathering of like-minded people.  We know people who are there are going to think like us.  And we want to meet people like that for the sake of understanding ourselves.  We need connection even at great cost.

What do you think?