Say goodbye to google maps, searching for parking, and small talk—and say hello to your comfy clothes and world class speakers. Running over the course of 12 hours, Jesus 12 24: Return is a global conference from the comfort of your living room.
The conference is the second of its type, following from one held in February 2017. The first Jesus 12 24 was a 24 hour conference (you read that correctly), which took place across multiple countries.
Liam Miller is the Uniting Church Chaplain at Macquarie University. He said the idea for the first Jesus 12 24 came from overcoming the tyranny of distance.
“Being in Australia, even bringing out and putting up one international (or even interstate) speaker costs thousands of dollars. This way the speakers join us from their homes or offices, keeping the price down.”
“I think it could be of particular benefit for more regional or rural communities who must have an even harder time getting to hear this range of international guests.”
Even without the costs of transporting people, running a 24 hour conference online was sure to have its own logistical challenges.
“Thankfully, there are websites that make this easier so we didn’t have anyone logging-in an hour early,” Liam said. “One of our biggest fears going in concerned the technical side—could the computer handle running for 24 hours, would Zoom be able to convert a 24 hour recording?”
“Yet for 24 hours, 12 speakers, five countries, we had almost no technical issues or internet glitches, so that was good.”
The first four speakers have been announced for Jesus 12 24: Return. These include Grace Ji Sun Kim, D.L. Mayfield, Brandi Miller, and Lauren R. E. Larkin.
“We wanted speakers whose location and experience would be different to both our audience, and what our audience tends to hear from the pulpit,” Liam explained.
“We sought after people with a unique and passionate take on Jesus, one which would challenge, encourage, and illuminate.”
“Some have written books, others have podcasts or blogs —all are working, in one way or another, to undo a bunch of toxic theology that binds rather than frees.”
Unlike the first, the event will not run for a full day, clocking in at 12 hours.
“The great thing about the conference is its flexibility,” Liam said.
“You can watch all 12 hours live, asking questions and sharing your favourite moments online: or you can just download each talk later and listen to them as you do household chores, or commute to work.”
Liam says he hopes the conference can serve as a launch pad for groups to use for their own purposes.
“It is equally suited for a group. Bible Studies, Youth and Young Adult groups, campus ministries, all of these community groups can benefit from having these talks as a launching pad.”
“Alternatively, this year we have live sites. This is a way to host a hub where people can join on the day to watch live (you’ll also get the content to download and use later).”
“You can make your live site your own—put on a meal, end it with a concert, play Christian buzz-word bingo, whatever you want.”
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ editor