this is why philanthropists are important

So. I just got my invitation to Q 2009.

I would LOVE to go. I'm all about fruitful exchange of ideas, especially when it comes to Christian ministry and cultural engagement. Many of the folks who will be there-- Andy Crouch and the like-- are super smart and engaged and really, really nice.

But the conference registration-- the early bird rate, mind you, and not including hotel and transportation-- is $625.

Six hundred and twenty five dollars!

That really bothers me, and not only because I can't afford it. I can't afford it, and my church's budget is tight enough (what with fighting off a vicious law suit and all) that I'd rather not ask them to subsidize. I'm sure the organizers did their best to make the cost reasonable, but it seems to be that ultimately that fee-- especially in this economy-- is going to price smaller churches and their middle class members right out of the conference (there are a limited number of scholarships available for students and church planters, but I am neither at the moment).

Peter made the entirely reasonable point that they have to cover their costs. Of course they do. It just seems like there are enough multi-million dollar Christian foundations out there that they could have secured a few grants to bring that cost down more. Sheesh.

Is this just me? What do y'all think?


happygeek said...

I'm a Canadian Christian who was rather overwhelmed by the volume of wealth there was in Texas churches.
In my neck of the woods, most churches cannot even afford to build anymore, save a few mega churches (and definition of mega is quite different than Texas.)
So, I have no idea. The Southern B's seem to have scads of money, why don't you pretend to be one for a while:)

Hairline Fracture said...

I hear you. It's a lot of money, which is why I don't get to go to conferences anymore.

Kim Pospisil said...

I have a man at home who would jump up and down to go to this. (He's a big man.) There's no way we could afford it nor do I think we should ask the church. That's nutz! What nerve to ask people to pay a price like that in this economy. Guess their pretty proud of their conference.

Recovering Sociopath said...

Honestly, the first thought I had was "what nerve!" too.

But I am wondering if it's just more cluelessness-- living with a certain degree of material affluence can lead to forgetting how close to the bone some folks have to live. It's kind of like how before I had kids, I didn't ever really make room for children or nursing moms in the events I planned-- not because I wanted to leave them out; I just didn't have a clue.

Zanshin said...

How can they incur $625 worth of expenses per person for only a weekend? I go to conventions (anime, etc.) once or twice a year. A good example is Katsucon: held in the super-nice Omni Shoreham in Woodley Park, DC, it has attendance of about 6,300 people (capped at 6,000 this year), and the weekend registration fee is $50 at the door or variably less for pre-reg. Smaller conferences cost even less.

Maybe my conferences make extra money because they bring in a lot of dealers' fees. Still, the dealers have to make more money than they pay in fees, and I doubt most attendees buy more than $50 of swag. So dealers' fees must mask less cost per attendee than that.

Q 2009 even has fewer guest speakers and musicians than my conventions, but I bet they pay them a lot more. Still, they can't be that expensive! I don't recognize any of their names except for David Crowder.

My only other ideas are that Q 2009 wants a more intimate setting, so high prices are a way to cap attendance, or that they are giving away tons of free goodies. Talk about an uncomfortable culture clash, then: I notice that one of the speakers is a writer and contributing editor from Adbusters magazine.