Conferences get a bad rap around here, and for good reason. Generally speaking, conferences tend to be about money and personalities and book sales and money and self-promotion and money and stuff, for instance. They're also a really great opportunity for super-spiritual people to go and listen to their favorite super-apostles so they can feel super-righteous about their super-awesome understanding of supralapsarianism or something like that.
But if you're like me, there are still a few conferences out there that you like the idea of going to...
I'd like to head out to Moscow some day and take in a Grace Agenda conference, for instance. Sadly, I never do. And it's not entirely because I'm allergic to the rarified air of conferences. It's just that, aside from all the general yuckiness that attends them, conferences aren't very practical. At least not for my family.
I have five kids under the age of six and we have a tight budget. Since most conferences don't make room for children, my wife and I would have to find someone to watch them all for a weekend. Our families live far away and so sending them to grandma's house is out of the question. Anyone want to sign up to watch my kids for three days? For free?
Didn't think so.
So where does that leave me? Leaving my wife at home with the kids while I pay close to a thousand dollars (after registration and travel and lodging and food) to run off and get my theological/intellectual/spiritual buzz on all by my lonesome? No thanks. I don't need to feel that spiritual.
What I want is a conference where I can take my whole family. A place where as much care goes into the program for the children as for the adults. A place where large families are welcomed and celebrated. A conference that feels more like a family reunion than a college lecture series. Complete with fantastic food and good fellowship. And real preaching on subjects that really matter—preaching aimed at confronting me with my sin and helping me honor Christ and love my wife and kids and serve my church and community.
And also, something affordable would be nice. There will be seven of us, after all.
We had our first summer conference in 2009. Which means we've been doing our best to think carefully about all of these things for the last six years now. Every year we think our summer conference gets a little bit better. A little bit more helpful. A little bit closer to the mark.
Come and join us this year and see for yourself. There are still plenty of spots available, though it won't stay that way long. If the past is any indication, registration will fill up and some people will be turned away. So register now, reserve your spot, and take advantage of our absurdly cheap early bird pricing ($50/adult, $15/child).
This year we're addressing what it means to confess Christ in the public square—a topic readers of this blog are familiar with and understand our commitment to. We'll have big picture plenaries (Doug Wilson, Stephen Baker, and Tim Bayly), very practical breakout sessions, good food, sweet fellowship, and a children's program that will make your kids excited to come back next year. You can read about that some here, but we'll tell you more about all of those things in the coming weeks right here at Baylyblog.