In the Spring of 2006, Timmy Brister was planning to attend the first Together for the Gospel Conference in Louisville, KY. Having been in the blogosphere for several years, he developed online friendships with several evangelical bloggers and felt that it would be a good idea to plan a gathering for everyone to meet in person, enjoy a time of fellowship, and discuss issues related to blogging and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The result was the formation of Band of Bloggers.
The first Band of Bloggers (2006) fellowship developed when several bloggers who were attending the 2006 Together for the Gospel Conference discussed the possibility of holding a meeting to encourage one another to live and write with a gospel-centered emphasis. Within a matter of weeks, the idea had blossomed to an event with a panel of speakers–Justin Taylor, Tim Challies, Dr. Albert Mohler, and Dr. Russell Moore–and a gathering of more than 70 bloggers hosted by The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The meeting served to compliment the thrust of the conference, viz. to come together for the sake of the gospel in this generation.
The second Band of Bloggers (2008) fellowship took place in 2008, again in concert with the Together for the Gospel Conference. The conference theme, “The Gospel Trust,” focused on what it meant to be entrusted with glorious deposit of the Gospel in earthen vessels. Guest speakers included Thabiti Anyabwile, Tim Challies, Abraham Piper, and Phil Johnson. More than 175 gospel-centered bloggers attended along with some 20 evangelical organizations, some of who were responsible for the 1,200+books that were given away to those who attended.
The third Band of Bloggers (2009) came together in conjunction with The Gospel Coalition National Conference focusing on the theme of “Servants & Stewards” (referring to 1 Corinthians 4:1). Each of our eight speakers (Tullian Tchividjian, Mike Anderson, Justin Taylor, Tim Challies, Eric Johnson, Tony Reinke, Steve McCoy, and Owen Strachan) addressed the audience and participated in the panel discussion. With more than 250 in attendance and over 2,500 books given away (10 to each attender), Band of Bloggers continues to serve as a catalyst for gospel advance through leveraging the new media for the glory of God.
The fourth Band of Bloggers (2010) took place in conjunction with the 3rd Together for the Gospel Conference with the theme “Internet Idolatry and Gospel Fidelity.” Guest speakers included Justin Taylor, Trevin Wax, Steve McCoy, Jared Wilson, and Jon McIntosh. 200 bloggers joined us for a fruitful time of engaging the idols of our hearts and the temptations we face on the internet. Additionally, each attender was able to leave with 12 books a piece, making it our most generous giveaway to date ($250 worth of free books!).
The fifth Band of Bloggers (2011) took place on April 12 as part of the 2011 Gospel Coalition National Conference. This particular event brought a new format and fresh perspective to Band of Bloggers, calling for a “Gospel Procession.” Our anticipation and hope is that there would be a surging gospel-centered community laboring in concert to articulate, share, and encourage others in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were glad to be able to give away 15 books for each of the 275 bloggers who attended.
The sixth Band of Bloggers (2012) took place on April 10 as part of the 4th Together for the Gospel Conference. Going back to its roots, the gathering was held in Heritage Hall of Southern Seminary with a retrospective focus on “the underestimated resurgence” of blogging and social media in relation to the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” movement. Collin Hansen, Justin Taylor, Owen Strachan, Tim Brister, and Owen Strachan were guest panelists, and 350 people attended and walked away with 19 books per person – our largest publishing giveaway ever.