I get this question about once a year: “Extravaganza? Why would I go to that? We don’t have the funds for me to go to something that is extravagant!”
I thought it might be helpful to explain a bit.
First, the history: At our very first, stand-alone event (before that, we had met together prior to Youth Specialties National Youth Worker’s Conventions) we actually needed a super-cheap place to meet. We had no budget…the speakers donated their time, the musicians brought themselves and received no pay, only the income on CD sales, the workshop leaders were volunteers… So we needed a spot with cheap airfare and cheap rooms.
We found the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas. Really.
And so the first event was called the “ExStratoGanza.” Really. Marketing geniuses that we were. It was a great event. Kind of a miracle that it all pulled off, actually.
And the name concept just stuck. It was never really talked about, but the next year in Dallas, the event just was the Extravaganza. And it has been ever since. Now, the name within the church is a brand. People know it. It has traction.
Is this event “extravagant?” No, not at all. It’s actually very reasonable for a conference of its length and the depth and quality of content.
We’ve occasionally talked about changing the name. But people know what the Extravaganza is and what it stands for. And at the risk of “retro-justifying” our name, I want to reclaim it on behalf of the event. The event and the cost are not extravagant. But the experience is.
- The depth of community one encounters is extravagant. The community welcomes all unconditionally.
- The depth of the learning is extravagant. The wisdom shared in the Intensive Care Courses, in the workshops, from the main stage will change your ministry.
- The spiritual renewal is extravagant. At the E you experience the grace of God and the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
- The resources that you encounter at the Extravaganza are almost overwhelming. There is so much GREAT stuff out there.
Most importantly, the grace and the love of God for all is extravagant. We cognitively know that. We teach it to our young people. We name it in the lives of those with whom we work. But at the Extravaganza, we experience this ourselves. I have been to every single Extravaganza since Las Vegas. And every time I am there, I come away with a new and different understanding of what God is up to in my life.
I will not deny it. As a matter of fact, I will proudly claim this adjective: The experience is extravagant.
The more I think about it, the more I think that the name is perfect.
May God’s extravagant love overwhelm you today!