Megaphones and Telephones

I taught two classes at the National Worship Leader Conference this week: Basic Blogging and Advanced Blogging (I know, catchy titles).  Most of the folks in the basic class don’t have blogs (yet) and were just attending to figure out what on earth a blog is, why people blog and decide if they should do it too.  One of the main things I wanted them to understand was that a blog is a two-way communication device, like a phone, and not one-way like a megaphone.

Yes, I admitted, there are some bloggers (a lot of pastors, in fact) who don’t allow comments on their blogs or allow them but don’t respond to them.  These blogs, I said, aren’t really blogs; they’re pamphlets.

After the class, we broke for lunch.  I joined a few folks under a tree, opened my boxed meal and bottled water and did a lot of listening in an interesting conversation.  The National Worship Leader Conference is well organized, held in a beautiful location, expertly staffed, well attended.  It’s a great conference.  The folks under the tree with me went on and on about all the great stuff they’d heard and seen.  But then one guy said, “I wish there was a way for me to take this experience with me, pass it around when I get home and keep it going.”

After lunch someone in my Advanced Blogging class made the same kind of remark. “And I wish we could share our own ideas – like if there was a time where everyone here could share one or two of their best ideas.”

Both of these people seemed to me to be saying that they want conferences – learning in general – to be more like a telephone than a megaphone.  This is the same thing some people seem to be looking for in their formal education or at church.  Some people are craving more interaction with information and the “expert,” more opportunities to share their own insights, and a way to keep the conversation going when the class or conference is “over” – a way to spread the stuff they learn and love.

Have you been to a conference that does this well?  A church or a school?  Tell us about it.