Part three of an ongoing series of reflections about my Idea Camp experience (feel free to check out part one and part two)…

After I came home from The Idea Camp, my wife commented on how completely my inner geek had been unleashed.  “I had no idea,” she said to me, shaking her head.  It’s true — I spent a good deal of the weekend bathed in the warm glow of a small army of MacBooks running TweetDeck.

I definitely experienced firsthand what Charles Lee wrote, “Social networking is more than a nice tool, it’s cultural architecture.”  For me, tech facilitated friendship.  In some cases, I was able to connect with friends who I had only known through the blogosphere; in others, I met people face to face and have since been connected online.  In both cases, the transition from online to offline friendship was pretty seamless.  Gives me some hope for facilitating online/offline friendship and community in our church.

In terms of participation, tech opened doors for people to be involved in many different ways.  As DJ Chuang observes, The Idea Camp was a great venue for connecting the online and offline worlds, “We had as many people online as in-person at the event, Q&A was interaction with both onliners and offliners, relationships initiated online came together in person, etc.”

On a personal level, it was so encouraging to gather with like-minded friends who are asking similar questions and seeking to build God’s kingdom in their local communities. Working in church ministry has an isolating effect, and sometimes it’s good to get together with people who are thinking in the same direction just to know that you’re not crazy. I heard that same refrain recently from Mike Bishop, author of What is Church?, in describing the close friendship he has built with a group of people around the country that started with the question, We’re not crazy, are we?