Speaking at PechaKucha / photo by Jordan Johnson

A few weeks ago I was asked by Beth Katz to share at PechaKucha #17. Beth was interviewing me for Project Interfaith about the topic “Digital Faith, Digital Family”. I appreciated the opportunity to share what it is I’m doing with the Online Campus. The interview went well, and when we finished she mentioned the PechaKucha event. They were looking for people to share on the concept of pilgrimage, and go with it however they felt led to do so. I was ready to commit at that moment, but wanted to take a few days to make sure I had capacity to do it. After a few days, though, all I could think about where the possibilities with it. So, I decided to do it.

PechaKucha is a fast-paced, highly visual series of presentations. You have twenty slides to show, and are limited to twenty seconds on each slide. While I had never been to a PechaKucha event, I had seen a few friends post their presentations online. I was excited about the opportunity.

I started sketching out some ideas and thinking through concepts for the story. I had to be concise and stick to overall story, which was my own pilgrimage.


A big help was Kelsey Janda. Kelsey is the graphic designer at Christ Community Church, and she is amazing with her skills. I would talk through what I was thinking for each slide, and with overall story. Her input was helpful in keeping me on track, and making sure I wasn’t trying to do too much with the visuals.

I had been thinking through the script, but finally managed to write it out the day of PechaKucha. (I already planned to burn a vacation day the day of PechaKucha, so I was able to focus in on it.) After writing and editing it down, I started practicing. I went through it numerous times, and this forced me to be even more concise with the story.

One of the tough things for me was not being able to provide more context to the story, but that’s part of the drill with PechaKucha. When I felt I had a finished product, though, I was confident with what I had.

When I showed up at Blue Sushi Sake Grill for the event, I smiled. A number of people were milling about, drinking wine. Knowing a number of them, I knew this audience was almost the opposite of what I interact with at Christ Community Church. I loved it. It’s a big reason why I love getting out into the community and being involved.

As I touched base with the organizers, I found out I was presenting right before the “Beer Break”. I thought I had the best slot. The whole scene had me wish I could’ve recorded the scene to show people. People drinking wine and beer as I shared my story. I was dressed down in t-shirt and jeans, but it all worked out.

After the first few presenters shared, I calmed down a bit as well. They weren’t bad, but I knew what I had presented was going to hit well. And it did.

Here’s my presentation. I had my script on my iPad, and had things timed out well with the slides. (I don’t have any control on changing the slides. They are up for twenty seconds, and then go to the next slide automatically.) I recorded the audio off my iPhone and tried to sync it with an export of my slides. Once or twice I got a bit rushed, which is why I butchered one quote, but I was extremely pleased with how it went.

I had a lot of good conversations with people after the event, and was blessed to see how it impacted some people I knew in a positive fashion. Grateful for that.

Thanks again to daOMA and Project Interfaith for the opportunity to share.

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