It’s always great to be wanted! And we know that there is a big need for Christ to be shown and shared within fandom. Fans For Christ began at Dragon*Con in Atlanta in 2003 in order to show Christian geeks that they were not alone, and non-Christian fans that God loved them just as they were and would accept geeky hobbies. Over the years we have begun spreading out of the southeastern US, on a mission from God to reach out to people in fandoms and traditional churches. We try to attend more and more events every year, and find out about many events that we hadn’t originally considered. Unfortunately we simply don’t have the resources and staff to be able to honor every request. But that doesn’t mean we won’t consider some cons. Keep reading to see what it takes to get FFC at your con.
FFC operates completely on personal donations. We are not associated with a church or denomination, so we do not have outside funding. We have a webstore and sell FFC-related items when we can, but much of our operating funds come from single donations when we ask. The vast majority of this money is used to cover website hosting, printing banners, cards, and other marketing material, providing some giveaways at our fan tables, and generally just maintaining our presence. We do not have enough funds to pay for staff or members to attend cons and other events. So when you see people from FFC working at one of our fan tables, keep in mind that they paid their own way to be there. As anyone who attends cons will know, it takes a good bit of money to pay for registration, hotel, food, and gas or airfare. Because the staff pays for this out of their own personal accounts there are real limitations to how many cons people can attend.
As you can imagine, doing geek ministry can be a challenge, especially when trying to present the right attitude to people. When someone is officially representing FFC at a con we need to make sure that they’re going to treat attendees properly, be able to explain what FFC does in a way that is consistent across the country, and generally be open, patient, and loving. We will not turn over management of one of our fan tables to just anyone. We do actively try to teach and mentor people as the Apostle Paul did when he founded churches, with the goal of being able to turn over a region to local members while senior FFC staff moves on to establish FFC in unreached areas. Some people may do fine staffing a table and talking to people for a few hours, but not all members have the interest or skills to completely organize and manage these efforts. We’re always looking for new leaders, but currently we have 3 people in the eastern half of the US and 1 person in the western half that are able to manage a table at a con. Having this small number limits our con presence as each senior staffer has jobs and family outside of FFC. None of us do this as a full-time ministry.
Since our staff has to have time for jobs, family, and vacations besides cons, we have to plan well in advance of an event. In fact, we will often try to plan a year or so ahead. Because of having to allocate money and time efficiently we need to have a lot of foresight and be proactive. While this doesn’t mean that we can’t jump into a smaller, local con a the last minute, it may mean that we can’t attend a con because we’ve already made other plans during that time.
Why XYZ Con?
You’re probably getting the picture by now that time, money, and staff are limited. Because of these limitations we have to be picky about which cons we attend. If someone is going to spend $400 of their own money to attend a con in the name of FFC, we want to make sure that they are going to be able to reach the largest number of people possible. Not only does this increase our chance of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it also can gain us higher numbers of members, some of whom can then be developed into leaders. Typically we try to attend medium to larger cons (at least 2,000-3,000 attendees) and prefer multi-genre cons. When possible we will also attend smaller or more specific cons (such as a 500 attendee gaming con), but these outreaches tend to be when it is local to the staffer attending. It’s simply a better use of our limited time and money to go to a few larger cons than multiple smaller ones. But we’re always open to suggestions and options. We don’t want to be so rigid in our decisions that we fail to follow God’s lead to a place that may provide a great harvest.
Okay, So How Do I Get You At My Con?
If you’re still reading, we appreciate it. We want to get as many places as possible, but we also want attendees, organizers, and staff at events to understand why we may have to say “no”. A negative reply to a request is not a slight or an insult from us, and we hate having to pass up cons. But we have to be strategic about what we do. That being said, the single biggest barrier is money. None of us are wealthy and we don’t have any lottery-winning patrons. Sometimes we may be able to make our schedule work but don’t have the money. If you want us to attend your con, it may be as simple as paying our way. Depending on how far away the event is from where the staff lives this may include either gas or airfare. Lodging and food are the other big expenses, as well as registration for the con itself (if necessary…some cons give fan tables free passes). Depending on all of these factors the total cost may be as low as around $300 or closer to around $1000. We will always work with you to try to find the least expensive way to attend. We’re not out to make money or gouge anyone. We just want to cover expenses.
So What Now?
If this is something that you are interested in the next step would be to get in touch with us to check schedules and talk about the details. Then we can try to make it work.
If you are interested, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.