Hundreds of leaders will collaborate around some of the biggest questions facing the church today at Q, a gathering where innovators, church leaders, social entrepreneurs, and cultural pioneers come together to explore the church’s role in positively contributing to culture. “Q is not for content consumers, but for those who will contribute to the bigger conversation,” according to the conference’s website http://www.qideas.org. The conference takes place in Austin, April 27-29.
The organization says, “Q was created as a place for Christian leaders in many different channels of society to become informed and exposed to cultural ideas and to one another.” Over three days, Q introduces participants to a wide range of topics presented by over thirty experts. Ideas are selected to heighten awareness and challenge creativity. Presentations are short. Practical application isn’t always included; instead, ideas are presented that allow participants to collaborate with others about what this means for the future of the church.
Q’s website says, “Q makes no apologies for providing an intense experience meant to expose, engage, shock, and deepen your awareness of current realities and opportunities. Exposure is the beginning of understanding. And understanding allows us to re-imagine how the gospel can be re-expressed in our own contexts – forever changing the landscape of our communities and cities. It’s no secret that Christianity has gained more conversions in America over the last two hundred years than any other faith yet continues to lose cultural influence. We live in a post-Christian era. Q is a place where we can wrestle with these complexities and envision new opportunities for embodying the gospel in a culture deeply in need of it.”
Mentors and models present their big ideas or stories in an eighteen-minute or less format to the entire Q community. Intense and fast paced presentations are designed for exposure to numerous ideas while challenging the presenter to focus on one provocative thought that inspires conversation.
Throughout Q, there are a limited number of extended time periods for keynote presentations lasting thirty-six minutes.
From time to time, during main sessions, a panel of presenters and practitioners will be given the chance to offer an answer to one challenging question such as: how ought the church to respond to gay couples who want to get significantly involved in the church community?
Intimate learning environments are designed to give further interaction with the presenters from the main sessions. Each talkback will provide the opportunity to ask questions, engage the presenter, and further dialogue about their big idea.
Participants engage in conversations with others in a smaller setting to converse on topics of interest as well as to reflect on the ideas encountered while in Austin. Q will host opportunities for participants to join other leaders who are working in a context similar to their own. (e.g., church planters, businesspeople, artists, senior pastors, etc).
Questions create dialogue and fuel creativity. This is the essence behind Q. In the spirit of the European education system, participants engage in an environment where honest questions are asked, discussed, debated, and even disagreed about. Q does not attempt to provide answers, but rather allows intelligent leaders to draw conclusions as a result of their own experiences, theological underpinnings, cultural contexts, dialogue, and learning.
Some questions that will be explored at Q Austin 2009:
• What are the implications for people of no longer living in a typographic society?
• Is it possible for the world to be rid of nuclear weapons?
• What are the benefits and unintended consequences of rapid technology adoption by Christians?
• How can church leaders encourage and inspire artists in their communities?
• What does “missional” really mean and how do you know if your church is?
• Is it possible to alleviate widespread poverty and bring an end to suffering?
• How do churches in suburban areas contextualize the gospel in their neighborhoods?
For a complete list of topics and registration information please visit www.qideas.org.