Three years ago, I was asked by Matt Anderson, then the coordinator of GodblogCon, to help him as his assistant. At the time, I knew very little about blogs except that I had one and it was nothing to write home about. However, I understood that people wiser than myself saw great value in the work being done by bloggers I was willing to help in whatever way I could. Quickly, I learned what all of the buzz was about and I became convinced that bloggers were doing important work.
To date, I have dedicated three years of my life to coordinating GodblogCon. It has been an interesting journey and I have learned a great many things along the way. So it was with a degree of sadness that I announced this past weekend that GodblogCon was to be terminated upon the conclusion of this year’s conference. However, saddened as I am about the termination of GodblogCon and all that it has meant to me and others over these past three to four years, my spirit is high at the prospect of the next conference which we hope to grow from the fertile land tilled by GodblogCon. Since Joe was an important part of GodblogCon and since he often shared his reflections about the conference with you all, I thought it would be fitting that I should do likewise.
For the past four years, GodblogCon has been a place where friendships were strengthened, ideas were sharpened, and strategies were formed. The fruit of this activity is most recently seen by the publication of The New Media Frontier; a book penned almost entirely by GodblogCon attendees and edited by GodblogCon regulars Roger Overton and John Mark Reynolds. From the start, GodblogCon was a conference dedicated to advancing the kingdom through blogging technologies. While it made sense at its founding to focus the conference around bloggers and the blogosphere, times have changed and a healthy maturation has occurred in this conference.
We are no longer living in 2003, a world where blogs were independent and could be considered on their own merits. We are now living in a world of Flickrs, Twitters, Facebooks, and iPhones. The buzz phrase today is “social media.” Now, I have my own views on the viability of “social media” and where it is going; I do not hold it in very high regard. However, I am almost being absurdly obvious when I note that there are many Christians out there (not bloggers) who are trying to determine and develop native technology for the powerful content delivery pipeline that is the internet. It is time for them to join us at the conference table.
I think that the internet is going places. I think that whatever “it” is which will be the predominant media form of the future, “it” has not been fully realized. I want Christians to play a formative role in the shaping of “it.” For this reason, I and the team at the Torrey Honors Institute decided to expand the scope and mission of GodblogCon to include Christian individuals and companies who are doing kingdom advancing work all across the web. We do not want to replace our core attendee group of GodblogCon regulars, in fact, we want to grow it and expand it to include visionaries from across the web.
While it is sad to put GodblogCon to rest, it is healthy to experience the maturation of the annual event and joyous to see things already coming together for next year’s conference. Tentative plans for web strategy sessions have already been laid out and we eagerly anticipate the return of Joe Carter to our conference line-up. But I shall say no more lest I get too far ahead of myself. Thank you to everyone who has supported GodblogCon over these past four years. Thank you to all of you readers of the Evangelical Outpost who, along with Joe, supported me and my team. Finally, thank you to Biola University, the Torrey Honors Institute, the Family Research Council, Stand to Reason, and Crossway who have been faithful supporters of the conference for nearly each year of its existence. Goodbye GodblogCon, you served us well.