For you as a techie, ICCM is one of the most encouraging things you can do. Most supporting spouses, in an attempt to understand their techie better, think “Maybe I should attend.” However, unless they are techies themselves, most spouses do not get much out of ICCM. Many of those who have attended have said that they are glad they had the opportunity to see their spouse in their element, but they were happy to make it a one-time thing. Unless there is a ministry or work reason the spouse needs to attend, we recommend against it. The techie, if they get the chance, will spend most of their time networking, asking questions, answering questions, and geeking. If they have a spouse there, they often feel torn with their “free time” and usually do not get as much out of the conference themselves.
Yes, and we welcome your deep experience. As with many things in life, you will get as much out of ICCM as you invest in it. If you feel there are areas in your knowledge that you want to grow, you will almost always find something there who will answer some questions for you. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and make some new friends. Come expecting to learn. Come with questions. And, come expecting to answer some questions that others may have. You have much to offer, and that’s a key part of ICCM – sharing knowledge together.
Most of the major questions about your network or system can be answered while at ICCM, and you will learn a lot about new technologies. The big thing, which you will not realize you are bringing back, are the friendships with others in your field. When you have a major techie catastrophe down the road, you will have a bunch of experienced techies you can contact to walk with you. Sometimes ICCM gives you the knowledge in advance, but often ICCM helps by giving you the contacts who can help.
In a word, yes. Every year, we’ve had attendees needing to remote in to their ministry’s system to fix problems. But in our 25 years of existence, we’ve never had a ministry close down shop because the techie was not there to solve a problem. Your role is important; there is no question of that. It can be inconvenient for people when you’re away. But there is a vast difference between an invonvenice and God’s plan going belly up. We believe – and the Holy Spirit has confirmed this numerous times – that the investment you’re making by attending ICCM is well worth it.
First, take some time to pray before you come, asking God to prepare your heart for the week. Then, make a list of things in your office that you do not understand. Take some screen shots or photos with your phone. Come with questions. Bring your favorite board game (you can’t spend all your time talking technology), a ball, or something you can share with others. Come expecting the best kind of friends; ones who have similar hearts for missions, similar interests, similar skills, and similar problems.
Every person who attends ICCM comes away with something they needed. It might be the answer to some pressing techie questions, the confidence to answer someone else’s questions, fellowship, encouragement, or some other area of growth. ICCM meets you where you are. It is a place where you can safely communicate with other techies. You can ask your questions, share perspectives, and participate in a group of like-minded people. Techies often feel alone in what they do. Attending ICCM gives you a community of friendships and resources; not just during the conference, but for years afterwards.
Because ICCM participants have a missions focus, the ICCM community has organically spread across international and cultural boundaries. With experts in most types of technologies as part of our group – from electrical specialists to experts of obscure facets of servers – this community provides a unique opportunity to share and learn how God is using new technologies across the globe.
Every year we have techies who need to remote in to fix something at their home office. But we have never had a mission office close down because their techie was at ICCM. It might be an inconvenience, but we believe the investment in your techie is worth the hassle of their absence, and our Sovereign God always carries us through.
Here’s a true story: a ministry needed to send their techie to an international meeting (not ICCM), and they asked the “most techie” person from within the organization to staff the tech department while the techie was out. She was a data-entry person whose knowledge was fairly limited, but she got a little training from the techie. Before the techie left, the power was going up and down, the server was misbehaving, and life was scary. The data entry person was terrified when the techie left, but she went and sat in the server room waiting for something to crash that she was supposed to fix. One of her data entry friends came to her and said, “One of us in the data entry department will be praying for you each hour while you work on the server.” Incredibly, that week with the techie gone, the organization had no technical problems whatsoever. The increased prayer support for the system cleared up even the weather problems, but only for that week. The techie came back, and the troubles came back. The point is, God provides. We’ve seen this provision time and time again.
We aim to teach and discover God’s word, the latest technologies, project management tools, and much more. But ICCM is also a network. After the conference, the learning continues, because your tech professional will now have greater access to resources and other professionals in their field.
In addition to receiving help for immediate issues your techie may be facing, many of the benefits from ICCM come from the long-term connections that are made through networking opportunities. By participating in ICCM, your tech professional will gain a variety of new resources through their increased professional network. When they need help at various times in the year, they will have a network of experienced, like-minded IT professionals to glean from.
With the rapid and constant evolution of technology, most technologists prefer “discovery” or “hands-on” training. And, with the Internet, we tend to rely on “just-in-time” learning (researching an issue in the moment). While these forms of learning are very important to the technology professional, there is much to be said about having an understanding of foundational principles and theory. ICCM caters to both of these needs. The attendees are able to decide which sessions are most pertinent to their mission, which technologies they want to discover, and which foundational skills they want to improve upon.
ICCM is an annual conference. It is meant for ongoing training. Every year we have some areas of training which are “the next step” from the previous year. If they learned something from one year, they should learn more the next year.