Dan and I don’t do a lot of advance planning. I mean, we make it to the dentist every six months and Claire gets Botox every quarter, but we have never been the plan-a-vacation-a-year-in-advance type. With four kids and full schedules, our idea of advance planning is to make sure everyone has clean underwear for the next day. You can decide if this is a strength or a weakness in our characters. Last month, however, we felt so strongly about planning in advance for the STORY conference coming to Chicago on September 23-24, that we not only signed up ourselves, but we also signed up four of our siblings (the group rate rocks)!
I documented parts of our experience at STORY last year here and here, but I didn’t get finished. There is so much to tell. Some of it we’re still processing. (Dave Gibbons briefly mentioned the term “theology of pain” and if I don’t write out what that means for me before I die it will be one of my greatest regrets.) Some of it was just the joy of the experience; I couldn’t explain it in words.
We were planning to go again this year in that yeah probably kind of way until I heard from our friend Jason that his church, Park Community in Chicago, was hosting the conference this time around. S. O. L. D. Dan, Jason, and I spent a couple of very fun and formative creative years together. And when I say fun and formative you can assume that is both true and somewhat euphemistic. : )
This year the seating at STORY is limited to 500, half of which have already been sold. I’m not great at math, but I’m pretty sure that means if you are interested in coming then you should probably sign up sooner rather than later. I’m looking at you, Caleb! : )
This year’s list of speakers isn’t all big names. But this is good. To be honest, a lot of me made that trip last year just to hear Donald Miller. And he was good. But I was actually most impacted by the speakers I had never heard of before that day. This year’s lineup (check it out here) is about the members of the creative class who are actually doing the work. Probably a lot of work that you know, even though you might not recognize their names immediately.
Of course, you’ve probably heard of some of the guests: Kari Jobe ring a bell? : )
If you decide to make the trip, let us know. Dan and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary this summer and we’re turning this trip into part of a late celebration. STORY has been part of our growing up journey – something we found together and continue to refer to as a source of inspiration and challenge. We’d love to share it with you, too!*
UPDATE: Ben Arment, STORY creator, shares updates about the conference on his blog. Most recently he mentions a special hotel rate available for a few more days.
*I mean “share” in a see ya when you get there kind of way. I am NOT a fan of 15 passenger vans or any other trademark of church summer camp style road trips. But, really, let’s do lunch in Chicago! : ) And invite your friends!