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The Q Conference and the Common Good by Gabe Lyons

People always ask me, “What is the Q Conference?”

And I never quite know how best to answer.

Of course I know I should. After all, I started it. I had the dream. And branding experts don’t shy away from demanding an elevator pitch that easily sums it all up in 30 seconds or less.

When I’ve had to quickly explain Q, I’ve described it as “a convening of capable Christian leaders intent on learning and collaborating toward what the Church’s future role in society ought to be.” On cue, people’s eyes glaze over.

At other times I’ve tried to distinguish it by describing what it’s not: “The event for leaders who hate going to events.” I know, because that’s me. And the Q Conference was created with that disposition in mind.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize some things defy a tidy explanation for a reason. Q is one of those things. For a season here or there, my attempts to describe Q have resonated. But then something shifts—in the air, in the culture, in the larger conversation—and the dialogue Q is creating shifts too. My elevator pitch doesn’t quite capture the essence anymore. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There are a lot of big questions in this life. And, while we’re all looking for answers—if we’re really honest with ourselves—we don’t want easy answers. Some things just aren’t cut and dried, black and white, this or that. At the Q Conference, those are the kinds of questions we ask and the dialogue we want to create. Together, we want to explore how to stay curious, think well, and advance common good.

This Is Where You Come In

From April 23-25, I invite you to join us at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville as we engage in the important conversations that will shape culture, faith and the church in the year to come. Together, we will celebrate what’s right, imagine what’s possible, and educate one another as we seek to play a central role in God’s work to renew all things. (See 2014’s topics, speakers, and presentations.)

What is Q? It changes every year. It changes with who comes and who doesn’t, what we talk about and what is shaping us right now.

In the end, Q is about the “who” and not the “what.”

This year, I hope you will be part of “the who.” Register Now.

Q Nashville Tackles Tough Questions

Are Israelis and Palestinians loving one another well?

How do we confront the greatest oppressor of the poor?

What’s the church’s role in a pluralistic culture?

How can progress be achieved in a divided electorate?

How is casual sex reshaping millennials?

Is competition good for us?

How can churches support single people and families?

As the number of Christians in America declines, how should they respond?

Could we actually be known by our love?

Over the course of three days, these are a few of the more than 30 significant questions with which we will be grappling. The Q team has worked carefully with more than 35 experts to curate ideas, collaborate on the key questions and shape their presentations for the most significant impact. These short and powerful 18, 9 and 3 –minute Q Talks combined with more than 20 interactive experiences will heighten your awareness and challenge your creativity as you consider your role—both as an individual and as part of the institutions you represent—in shaping culture.

Q is not for spectators passively soaking in what “the experts” have to say. There are multiple opportunities for relationship-building and community learning. Beyond after-parties and long meals, you will experience a sneak-peak at a few major films coming out in the weeks that follow Q; listen to your favorite musicians and hear what gives them inspiration; or watch as founders of new organizations pitch their company’s concept at our Praxis pitch night.

In addition, our Q Learning Communities offer a personal encounter with topics you must engage. From discovering “How to Write a Book” or “How to Write a Song,” to brainstorming ways the church can engage city governments, to thinking about sexual orientation and identity, to exploring how the sports business works—there is something for every leader. (All experience options are on the website.)

The Moment Is Now

With more than 34% of a new generation claiming no interest in faith, it’s time to re-evaluate how we express the greatest story ever told.

For too long, Christians have focused on what’s wrong with culture. The Q Conference seeks to be an antidote to this by equipping Christian leaders of all backgrounds and in all sectors to live and lead faithfully in a secular culture—to stay curious, think well, and advance common good.

I may not be able to describe Q in a couple pithy sentences. But in the end, I do know that what happens at Q does not stay at Q. Because Q is you—and you are shaping your culture, influencing your circle and working for the common good in your world.

Please join me this week at Q Nashville. We need your voice.