What do a Dutch politician, a South African business woman and a Hungarian photography artist have in common? They were all part of Indigitous Amsterdam, held in the Dutch capital from May 15 to 17. With them, another 120 people gathered around their passion to connect people to Jesus using digital strategies.
Located in the heart of the city, with a program that ran for just 48 hours and speakers from a wide range of expertise, it was more like a boiler room experience.
As Cru’s two European areas joined hands in organizing this event, focus was of course on Europe, a continent unlike any other. The diversity in cultures, traditions, languages and economic realities is greater than anywhere else. Over the last fifty years, large parts of Europe have secularized, becoming in effect post-Christian. In marketing and business, the trend is ‘experience economy’, emphasizing the importance of offering something memorable rather than selling a product. Consumers have become participants and co-creators. Networks have taken the place of hierarchies. And on top of that, the social media revolution disrupts the balance of power in virtually any area of society.
At the same time, we seem to suffer from the ‘horseless carriage syndrome’ – we use new media and technology like the first cars that still looked like carriages, unaware of the possibilities it offers. We use a website as a brochure; our twitter account serves as an extended billboard. In ministry, we replace our traditional outreaches by a ‘Digital Day of Outreach’ or use Facebook to invite people to our events. But what if we really designed our strategies towards the unique and unprecedented opportunities of the digital age?
Keynote speaker Lieze Langford, a Digital Strategies consultant based in Glasgow, Scotland, did a tremendous job to help us rethink the way we interact and engage with audiences. What ‘memorable’ do we have to offer? How do we create online experiences that connect with the audience’s expectations? She challenged us to think ‘outside in’ instead of ‘inside out’.
Indigitous Amsterdam also featured Live Learning sessions on topics like design, gamification, Mystory.me and three digital disruptions that create new opportunities for mission. (If you’re curious: according to social entrepreneur Marc van der Woude are these mobility, communities, and the sharing economy).
But, like in any Indigitous event, participants did not just sit and listen. They also teamed up to apply their knowledge and skills in Experience Teams, and in just a few hours created a landing page plus strategy for a local church, designed an app for student leaders, and much more.
As conference directors, Tom Seely and myself are incredibly encouraged by the momentum that the event has created. The meeting of minds from all over Europe has been very inspiring. Pray with us to see a continuing European movement of people that share Indigitous’ passion: we make disciples.
Watch this space as content (video, stories, slides) will be published in the coming weeks.