This should probably be a really long post. I mean, if you just take a look at the sketchnote (gallery) alone, then you’d figure that a lot went on. But that’s just snippets of basically four days of connecting, reconnecting, and being refreshed on the campus of Taylor University. The following recap of ICCM is just a small part of the entire experience – every one of the 100+ attendees could give you their own unique takeaways of the time shared.
In a very real sense, ICCM is both retreat and workshop for those involved with IT/computing and mission. This much was very clear as I pulled into Taylor University after driving 9.5hrs from PA to Indiana. I got there pretty early in terms of registrants, and noticed immediately that things would be different in the foyer as just about everyone had a laptop, iPad, or smartphone out and in front of their faces. It wasn’t before long that more people were coming in (shuttles from the airport) and there was the bustling of conversations, hugs, and new introductions. At this point, I’d just been sitting back watching things. I’d be in the mix soon enough.
I spent that first afternoon riding my bicycle around Taylor University and its surrounding areas (its really flat out there). And in the evening, I made my way to the dining areas and auditorium where the festivities would take place.
Each day of the conference opened with a devotional, prayer, and a keynote by David Housholder (@DocDEH). His initial keynote on predictive mapping got the juices flowing early – though also left me in a bit of a daze since many of the technologies and behaviors that he mentioned throughout are items that I’ve been doing in whole or in part.
There were three tracks during ICCM: technology, basics, mobility, and leadership. I spent much of my time hovering around the mobility tracks, with a bit of fun intermingling with the technology tracks when they talked on the subject of SharePoint. Following the keynote, I found it quite refreshing that the first sessions that I attended (Risk Assessment for Mobile Device Computing) was chock full of information and behaviors that are easy to put into practice. For example, I’ve finally gotten around to putting a passcode on my iPad – I know, bad me. Just cause I’m in IT though I can’t think those “I’m invincible” thoughts.
The second session that I attended, also in mobility, was titled Mobile Ministry Strategy, and this presentation came from the good folks at GRN. In this session, we learned about how GRN has been putting forth their mobile strategy and some of the challenges and lessons they’ve learned. Much of what they’ve put to practice we’ve talked about here – and some more of it we’re co-laboring with them on the Kiosk Evangelism Project to figure out.
After that was our presentation (Definition and Applicable Contexts of Mobile (in) Ministry) and a panel with GRN and Cybermissions on questions and topics related to mobiles, mobile trends, and issues relating to maximizing resources and investments in this fast-moving technology/media channel.
Now, everything wasn’t all workshops and sessions. Sunday was more of a rest day (if you weren’t like myself and a few others who stayed up a bit late just about every night). A tour of Taylor University’s in-construction science facility, as well as a competitive game of ultimate frisbee allowed for us to not just get our minds exercised, but our social and physical selves as well. There was also a pretty neat rocket demonstration that happened beside the field we were playing ultimate frisbee. It still clicks that rockets and boys go together.
There was a panel session with Taylor staff, a session on using mobiles to train pastors, BOF groups (like this one on cloud computing), and a session where those with an interesting and missions-relevant technology/service could present and votes would determine the best one (this year’s winner was ArabBible, seriously, best Bible app I’ve seen for any computing environment in years). And of course, more expositions of the keynote.
And yes, if you weren’t following #ICCM via Twitter, then you also missed out on some of the chatter that was happening in between the sessions. It was definitely a techie conference, but also one where you could see that many people were simply refreshed by the fellowship and activity.
Tuesday was the last day of ICCM, and a devotional and announcements closed our time together. A few items of note: if you are in Australia or Europe, ICCM will be meeting in your spaces. Australia’s ICCM Conference is in Novemeber of this year, while Europe gets things going in February of next year. We’ve been asked to come to ICCM Europe and talk on mobile there, so we’ll be working pretty hard the coming months to secure the finances needed for that trip – and possibly an extended visit to other areas of Europe. Next year, ICCM Americas moves to Colorado Springs, CO. There’s certain to be some additional energies (and maybe a rally run up the mountain or two) with the crowd there.
If you made it this far through the recap, you can probably tell that ICCM Americas 2011 was quite packed. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and have to be honest in saying that I was very nearly discouraged in the early going when I saw the “usual tech conference hue.” But as I broke out of myself, and got into the flow of things, I could see clearly how ICCM is needed, not just for a means of understanding what’s happening in terms of missional computing around the world, but also what’s happening in the hearts and minds of those involved with IT at every level. We had college students to retirees attending and fellowshipping with one another. We had women, internationals, and a few minority (USA) groups represented. Certainly, there’s a lot that the Body can learn from this group, and more than this group is doing to make sure that ICCM maintains a focus of serving the entire Body of Christ.
I’m looking forward to attending future conferences. And maybe I won’t let folks get off so easy with having a panel during the same time I’m chatting 😉 That said, I do encourage you (and your ministries) to check out Taylor University if you have an interest in computing and mission. They are one of the more impressive educational settings that I’ve seen for this activity, and don’t see them slowing down any time soon.
For more information about ICCM, including seeing the presenter profiles and other information about the conference, visit the ICCM website.