Christian Web Conference and The Great Debate

UPDATE: Sep 9, 2009. Unfortunately, I had to cancel due to lack of funds. Details here. Apologies to all. I heard Cynthia Ware may take my place and if so, it will probably be even better.

I have been invited to speak this year at the Christian Web Conference in Los Angeles, September 11-12. The Christian Web Conference was previously GodBlogCon, which I have been cheering on since its existence and even participated in last year in Las Vegas. It will be moving back to Biola University this year under its new name.

Christian Web Conference

The Great Debate will be a spirited conversation between myself and Matthew Anderson on online communities. I will be arguing in favor and Matthew will be highlighting the negative.

There is talk of a panel discussion with a few of us bloggers but nothing cemented yet. I will keep you updated.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Becky says:

    Just out of curiosity, why isn’t web conference being held totally virtually? Along those lines, how is this conference different than the conference carnival that you said was over months ago? I’m not being a smart ass here – I do think we need to gather in real time to cement our online relationships. (Hence my strong support for Greenbelt and decision to attend Slot this year.) I know you wouldn’t depart from your missionary trip to come to Los Angeles (missing New York City again I see) unless it was important for you to be there in person. What are the qualities you look for in a conference, gathering, etc. that make you decide to make an in-person appearance versus catch the show online? Given this economy and concerns over carbon footprints, I’m trying to assess where to invest my limited resources.

  • Pat says:

    The best web conferencing I have found for business is definitely through They have a superior product that is super easy to use.

  • andrew says:

    Hi Becky. Fair question – and the carbon footprint will be a big one on this trip. One big reason is, I need to be back in the USA every 12 months to keep my resident alien/green card active and its a big strain on the budget. For this reason, I am quite open to go and speak at one conference a year in the USA, esp. when they offer to help with the airfare and accommodation.
    Its a better strategy than Paul employed when he got to Rome through getting arrested and shipped off as a prisoner.
    And if I dont do this conference, I will be flying to USA in September anyway, just to keep my green card. now THAT would be a waste.
    as well as this, i really believe in this conference and the importance of meeting together physically – obviously many of us connect virutally already.
    thirdly, as always, i will be sure to fit in a few other USA related tasks and visitations during this trip so that will cut down on future trips.
    you are a great accountability partner. thanks.

  • Becky says:

    Thanks for the explanation – you’ve been great to help keep me honest and really think about my travel. I try whenever possible to multi-task by staying a bit longer and making more connections versus say taking two trips. Sometimes that’s not doable but it really does make me think here.

  • Becky,
    A web conference, or at least the Christian Web Conference, is held as a conceptual juxtaposition to the notion of doing things virtually. Part of the CWC’s purpose is to question the benefit of new media and in doing so to extract the maximum potential of web technology; we feel that providing an in-person, incarnational environment for men and women who typically converse online gives a realistic dimension to the contrast between virtual and physical. Because our conference uses both online dialogue as well as concentrated real-life conversation, our attendees are better able to grasp the benefits and difficulties in both “settings.” They can actually contribute to the conversation from the firsthand, immediate experience (of both face-to-face and online chatter) that an in-person conference provides them with.
    Though we at CWC don’t discount the incredible capacity of the single human mind, we are convinced that something really unique occurs when great people and great minds are actually in the same room together.
    All this to say, part of the Christian Web Conference’s core values include the belief that the experience is worth the cost. As a staff, we understand that something good is worth something more, though we do work to keep the cost (in terms of time, travel, etc) at a minimum for our attendees. I know that the Christian Web Conference in particular, because of its deliberate small target size, takes great value in each of its individual attendees, and so makes great effort to find the balance here.
    Melissa Gutierrez
    Event Production Director
    Christian Web Conference 2009

  • Becky says:

    This sounds fantastic – thanks for the illumination. Sounds like an amazing gathering where you’ve really thought out the value of why you’re gathering together. The Qs I keep raising are so that we all (myself definitely included here) begin to think about how we use our limited resources (e.g., time, money, carbon) so that we start to resemble more the kingdom of God rather than this corporate consumer culture that at least here in the States is too often equated as being the Christian success story.

  • ARJWright says:

    I understand the explaination given; but I think that the “web-attendee” piece could have been added to this conference to really push the limits of that discussion.
    Yes, there are logistical and other hurdles that would need to be overcome; but that’s just it. Having a conference about virtual relationships in the Church and not making the virtual attendee aspect a part of the conference seems to almost defeat the point of the exercise.
    But one could say: if the conference isn’t good enough to be virtual; then what is the real value of virtual communities.

    When you folks add that mobile-virtual piece, then I’ll perk up a bit 😉

  • matybigfro says:

    Just wondering what a ‘in-person, incarnational environment’ and how it differs to a room with some chairs in it

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