The Whirlwind Weekend that was The Summit

Wheels down in San Diego at 3:00 PM Pacific time. Three minutes later, like a well oiled machine, Kristen pulled up in front of the airport at our designated meet-up spot, she slid to the passenger seat while I opened the back of our minivan, then got in the drivers seat.

Exhale busy season.

Inhale a season of rest, rejuvenation, retooling, evaluation, and planning.

But first? Let’s party a little.

Celebrating a Win

I was way more comfortable going into The Summit this year than in previous years. I’m sure some of that is just repetition. But a lot of it is that we were better prepared than in years past and we’ve got high confidence in our teams. So, for me, that was a win right there. I enjoyed the event more as a participant than in years past.

Another big win for me was the event felt like it gelled. We didn’t just fill the line-up with well known people who we were 100% sure would deliver. Instead, we built the line-up around a narrative of exploration… places of struggle & triumph, into the depths to discover new things about ourselves, and ample space for dreaming about future possibilities. In some ways that’s more risk than other events are willing to take. But I guess I don’t know why I’d attend an event without risk? 

Three years at The Summit has taught us that producing is way more about art than science. If you saw it from our vantage point as organizers you’d see that there were nearly limitless combinations of speakers and topics, all told we probably considered more than 100 individuals for the final 18 spots. That’s what I mean by more art than science. We collaborate (and sometimes conspire) to create a painting with limited colors despite nearly limitless combinations.


Another entire aspect of the fun that is The Summit is the people we get to hang out with. From our partners and sponsors to our host to our little tribe of volunteers who add so much… The Summit is so unique not just because of our work, but because we’ve got a whole pile of co-conspirators helping to make it happen.

My Hats

One of the things I love about the Cartel life, in general, and The Summit specifically is that I get to wear a million hats. Obviously, there’s all the pre-event stuff like marketing, registration, customer service, printing stuff, and working with all the presenters. On site, this actually expands instead of contracting. I lead a pre-summit session, I ran the onsite store, I did troubleshooting on registration questions, I spoke in session 2, I managed the hotel for our presenters, I checked in with our partners, I shot photography during sessions… and a whole bunch of other little things.

It’s a Wrap

It’s hard not to think about Summit 15 already. There’s stuff we want to do better and we’ve already got a list of themes and possible presenters cooking.

But the next few weeks is all about wrapping up 2014 first. We’ll be sending out evaluations to folks who attended, we’ll be doing an internal evaluation, and of course I still have audio and video of all the talks to produce and release.

But, for now, it’s a wrap on Summit 14.

High fives all around.






One response to “The Whirlwind Weekend that was The Summit”

  1. Ray Hausler (@rhausler) Avatar

    High fives back at you all. I love the Summit because I don’t know what to expect, other than that I will have my thinking challenged in a way that brings growth. And I always know that you’ll bring us back to the person of Jesus and the call to bring our students to him as well. So thanks!

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