Courtesy Joplin CVB
The Going On Faith Conference returns to the heartland for its sixth annual meeting this year, scheduled to take place in Joplin, Mo., Aug. 24-26.
Attendees will get to know Joplin, a central Missouri city within a short drive of Branson; Fayetteville, Ark.; and Tulsa, Okla. Along the way, they’ll appreciate the destination’s combination of modern amenities and hometown charm.
The conference will bring together more than 200 church travel planners and travel industry professionals who represent destinations, attractions, hotels and tour operators from around the country. Representatives from several foreign countries will also be on hand to help group leaders plan church trips to Europe and the Holy Land.
Over the course of the three-day event, delegates will gather at a number of educational seminars, social events and business meetings to share travel ideas and opportunities. The core of the interaction will take place during two Marketplace sessions, in which church group leaders and travel industry representatives sit down for short, prescheduled appointments to collaborate on trip ideas.
Special tours and social events give attendees an opportunity to build new relationships and get to know the host city. During Tuesday night’s opening dinner, Joplin’s own Offset Sunset will perform original music from the group’s forthcoming album. Magician Kevin Wade, who performed during the closing luncheon at the 2009 conference, will make an encore appearance after dinner.
The next afternoon, both group leaders and travel industry delegates are invited to explore Joplin on sightseeing tours, which will include a stop at a chocolate factory, a museum complex, a nature center and one of the Midwest’s largest home and garden shops.
Wednesday evening will feature a fun family-style event at Joplin’s Route 66 Carousel Park. The activities will include an outdoor barbecue meal and an evening of free rides and activities on the park’s carousel, bumper boats, go-karts, mini golf course and midway games.
Each morning of the conference will begin with a hosted breakfast, followed by an educational seminar presented by leaders in the faith travel industry. On Wednesday morning, Brian Jewell, editor of Going On Faith, will share ideas for integrating worship, fellowship and service into itineraries to make your church trip more than just another group tour. On Thursday, travel industry veteran Cindy Brodhecker will draw on her years of planning and leading faith-based trips around the globe for a presentation on the wide variety of travel opportunities available to church groups.
The conference is being hosted by the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau and its local hospitality partners. Other sponsors include the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Globus Family of Brands; the Hughes Brothers Theatre; the Fireside Dinner Theatre; the Rogers, Ark., Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Great Passion Play; the Richmond Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores.