Keeping the Faith

JAN 2012

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KEEPING THE FAITH BY DANICA TORMOHLEN, contributing editor THE CATALYST CONFERENCE, a meet- ing with exhibits for young evangelical church leaders, is not your father's re- ligious convention. While worship and inspiration serve as the foundation for the three-day conferences in Atlanta, Dallas and Orange County, CA, they are filled with top-notch entertainment and music. From bungee jumping and foam pits during breaks to Chinese acrobats and human cannonballs, as many as 13,000 attendees participate in these faith-based extravaganzas. "In terms of production, many of today's religious conventions rival the Fortune 1,000 companies in sophistica- tion and quality," said Al Dyess, chief sales officer, corporate & trade show services, Production Resource Group (PRG). "Tey are investing in creative content with full-scale audio, video and production values." Today's attendees have higher expec- tations, and religious conventions such There's a surge of new movements in this market. Religious conferences used to be all church-based, today there's a new class of faith-based events. Harry Schmidt, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RCMA 2 January 2012 | Trade Show Executive as Catalyst, are delivering. Te brochure for the last year's events touts: "Catalyst is a fully immersive learning, worship and creative experience that leaves you enlightened, rejuvenated and ready to embrace the life and leadership to which you've been entrusted." Te Catalyst Conference (see case study on page 8) represents a new breed of faith-based meetings and conventions. "Tere's a surge of new movements in this market," said Harry Schmidt, ex- ecutive director, Religious Conference Management Association (RCMA). "Religious conferences used to be all church-based, today there's a new class of faith-based events." More than 8 million people attended religious meetings in 2010, according to the RCMA annual member survey released in June 2011 (see sidebar on

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