The CCv1 Conference officially ended on Saturday, but today (Monday) is the first day that my wife and I are finally able to really rest. We’ve had some time to reflect on what went on during the weekend and I’d like to share some of that in this post.
I was expecting CCv1 to be a great conference. The majority of my confidence was due to how great of a job I knew Brittany was doing planning everything. Her hard work convinced me that things would run smoothly, and that even if they didn’t, she would be there to fix any small problems. This prediction came true.
CCv1 was a monumental success.
I heard from more people than I can honestly remember that this was the best conference they had ever attended. It might be because Brittany and I haven’t been to many conferences of this sort, but I remember hearing this and having the feeling of, “Really? I feel like we could have done so much more!” And that’s true. We could have done more. But I think we did a great job with our very first conference. I feel so pleased with the result.
Another expectation I had going in was that the main sessions, the breakouts, and the debate would all be stellar events. This expectation was not only met, I believe it was exceeded! The debate alone was far better than I anticipated. But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, I’m trying to stick to things I expected out of CCv1, not things I didn’t expect–that’s coming next.
So what else did I expect? I expected a great round of pre-conference interviews. Indeed, that round of interviews went great! We even got some additional, experimental content from each of the speakers, including Ben Watkins, that I can’t wait to work on and share.
Okay, so now let me share some of the things about CCv1 that surprised me. The quality of the debate sticks out first. The debate was high in substance, and that was kind of expected because Ben and Trent exchanged Openings ahead of time, but what surprised me was how cordial and textbook it all was. Ben not only represented the atheist side well, I just thought he was incredibly polished (I’d say the same thing about Trent, but pretty much everybody already knows that about Trent). In fact, Dr. Sy Garte called it the best debate he’s ever seen. People in the comments on YouTube said it was a “Masterclass Debate.” Again, I was expecting a great exchange, but I wasn’t expecting a Masterclass. Well done Trent and Ben!
Something else that surprised me was that CCv1 produced and strengthened relationships. Now maybe that’s a shortcoming on my side–I should have expected relationships to be built at a social event like a conference–but I just remember a group of people coming up to me afterward thanking me for bringing all of them together for the first time. They had been friends on Facebook for years, and CCv1 gave them all an excuse to finally meet up. I also just loved seeing all the group photos on Facebook of people getting together for dinner after the conference. CCv1 building relationships is not something I expected, but it might be one of its most valuable products.
The demographics of the attendees also surprised me. If I were to guess, I’d say about 80% of attendees had an intimate familiarity with apologetics. I was expecting this figure to be around 50%. In other words, the audience that attended the Conference reflected the CC audience more generally. That surprised me! It’s going to shape how we organize and think about future projects.
We owe a good deal of gratitude to Brittany for planning CCv1. Without her, it wouldn’t have been anywhere close to how amazing it was–I mean, for that matter, it wouldn’t have happened at all! She is so gifted, such a hard worker, so talented, so funny, she adds so much to this ministry. Brittany, thank you. I love you.
Btw, yes, there will be a CCv2.