Much to the credit of The Idea Camp, last night’s main session was filled with so many great ideas that it was hard for slow-blogging me to keep up… So, this is my almost-live blog from the session! The live Twitter feed is definitely worth following — instant feedback on what’s resonating with people, shared insights and interesting responses.

A huge part of my experience so far has been listening to people’s stories.  There really is a collective wisdom happening here, and it was great to share a nice dinner at In-N-Out with friends, among them LT, Eugene Cho, Paul from Vox, and Todd Hiestand.  Got to hear a little more about the International Justice Mission story from Daniel Li.  The need for justice for the oppressed in the world is overwhelming; may God continue to guide the faithful work of IJM to serve those in greatest need for justice.

First, we heard from the people behind Deidox — “short films telling true stories of an active God.”  The Dei refers to God, the dox to documentaries. Interesting approach, especially the Radiohead-esque pay what you want strategy.

Next, Dave Gibbons spent some time talking about innovation, and brought John Park (from Google) and Maxim Carp to the stage to interview. Dave talked about the disequilibrium, and its associated fear and stress, cause a person to go laser in focusing on a perceived threat.  It helps a person deal with the immediate problem, but limits one’s macro-perspective.

In terms of innovation, Dave spoke about two things that unintentionally bring about creativity and innovation: pain and scarcity.  Dave quoted the idea, “Scarcity brings clarity.”

Two things that we can do intentionally to foster innovation are: 1. to focus on the fringe and 2. to seek out the intersection of multiple domains.

During the interviews, John Park mentioned a couple of very interesting, and surprising, technological trends:

  • The new approach for Google search is the semantic web – a Google search will tell you where the answer came from
  • The second-most used search engine is not Yahoo but, rather, YouTube.  People are not using “real-time” searches on Twitter — a recent example was the plane crash in …
  • The implication for churches: Do we have a video presence online? Do we have a Twitter presence?  If we are to be a “church without walls” and we believe that God is everywhere, we should not limit God by only being an offline presence.  For young people, the online/offline conversation is seamless.
  • For young people, email is already outdated: they’ve moved onto Facebook, SMS texting and Twitter
  • The Kogi BBQ truck is a great example of innovation + technology.  Not only is the food they serve a hybrid mashup of Korean and Mexican, but they have leveraged technology effectively by announcing where they’ll be via Twitter.  As a result, lines are often over an hour to eat there.

Charles Lee then introduced Eric Bryant, author of Peppermint-Filled Pinatas, to the stage for some stand-up comedy.  Eric then took time to facilitate some Q+A with Erwin McManus.  Both Eric and Erwin are extremely quotable, and the Q+A session provided some very memorable quotes.  A few highlights:

  • Talent resides within people. If you say you have no talent in your church, then there must not be any people there!   Your church is as talented as you have the eyes to see.
  • Don’t innovate just to innovate.  If you’re simply trying to update your church, then you will only attract people who are already interested in church.
  • Megachurches didn’t create the drive to homogenize – people did.  The suburbs would have done that anyways; megachurches simply reflect the human drive to be with people just like us.  The read question is not dealing with the perceived problems of the megachurch but, rather, do we value the uniqueness of each person?  If you have a problem with the megachurch, then create something better, something more beautiful.
  • If we lack the courage to create the new, all we can do is destroy the old
  • Most people prefer to be told what to do, rather than having the responsibility of thinking for themselves
  • We need to stop trying to be smarter than people and start listening to them.  We must help them identify the fingerprint of God all over their lives already.
  • When you love someone who is in a self-destructive pattern, it’s amazing how creative you become.
  • The reason the church is so uncreative is because it’s so uncaring. Creativity flows from care.
  • Intuitive knowledge moves faster than rational knowledge; in other words, your soul moves faster than your brain.

Afterward the main session, a group of us went to 85C Cafe which, as it turns out, was totally hopping.  The line was out the door for pasteries and bubble tea.  Again, it was great to connect with friends, listen to their stories and unwind a bit.