After two days of mad catch-up and long drives to and from Chicago, I have to say that it was worth it. I came back from the Gurus of Tech conference encouraged, equipped, connected, and ready to kick things up a notch. For two days this week, Willow Creek Community Church (known simply as Willow to its members) in South Barrington, IL hosted 1800 people with a passion for technology for worship.
We were welcomed, fed, and given a chance to learn from the presenters and from each other. I'd like to offer a huge Thank You to the volunteers and staff at Willow for their gift of time, energy, and expertise to the Gurus crew.
Prior to the last worship service for the Gurus, we toured the main auditorium. It's quite a place, arguably the best-equipped large worship space anywhere. 7200 seats. Even guys like me who eat and breathe gear on a daily basis still take pause when they enter the room. A pair of 14x24' Mitsubishi LED displays that can move up and down, and be joined as one large display at the center of the platform will do that to a man. And for seven-figures plus, you could have that, too.
What many people don't see at Willow is what I appreciated the most. Maybe a better way to say that is that I took heart in the fact that, in some places, I saw old projectors, mismatched screens, beaten up monitors, and tired projector lamps. That's not to be critical, but to let you know that the crew at Willow continues to pursue excellence (and they execute really, really well), to offer others the chance to worship and to be taught, and they do it with less than perfect equipment -- just like the rest of us, in some cases.
We'd all like new equipment, but having the latest gear isn't necessary. And it's perfectly normal to have to plan your purchases, and to "use up" what you have before replacement.
John Weygandt, the scenic and lighting director at Willow Creek, told the story of a man from the Dominican Republic who made lighting fixtures from food cans, and who was making a difference with his passionate pursuit of technology, despite the obvious limitations.
For two solid days, the Gurus crowd was encouraged to exercise (and in some cases to find again) our passion for technology for worship. I came back encouraged, uplifted, full of ideas, and ready! How about you?