Can you give me some basics?
The Okoboji Bible Conference is probably different from other conferences you’ve attended. We are not about wrist-bands and registration fees. We are about providing ministries for all ages in an unforgettable retreat setting.
We are located in the heart of a small town in northwest Iowa, in the middle of a bustling resort area surrounded by beautiful lakes. Hundreds of thousands vacation here every summer. The annual Bible Conference is a great excuse to visit and most love the experience enough to return again and again.
You can feel the rhythm of the entire Conference, as well as getting up-to-date information, the schedule and our guest ministers and artists.
Must I stay the entire time?
You can come for all or part of the event. Nine days is a long time. Many stay for one week. Others come for one evening service. You choose. You’ll be welcome every time you participate! Structured teaching/learning gatherings for people of all ages occur on a Monday-Friday schedule, every morning. These sessions build on each other. All other sessions stand alone.
What is the cost of attending the Conference?
No registration fee is charged. You may participate as much or as little as you like. Each year, nearly 1000 households sacrificially support OBCM. Though many of these gifts are given during the conference, more than half of the annual budget is received throughout the year. Provisions for online giving and automatic bank withdrawals make that easier. Assistance is also provided upon request for those wanting to sustain the conference through planned and non-cash giving. OBCM is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Donations are tax-deductible and promptly and gratefully receipted. All financial records are reviewed annually by an external, professional auditing firm. Copies are available upon request.
Is everything free?
Not everything. Some meal events, like the women’s luncheons, are ticketed at a set price. Other events, like the Pastors’ luncheon, require complimentary tickets for meal planning.
Does the Conference provide housing and/or meals?
Because the Conference is large, there is a staff of over one hundred speakers, cooks, musicians, and housekeepers. On-campus housing and the Conference dining room are provided for staff and their families. Your primary expense to attend is your own housing and meals. Because we are located in a resort area, motels, cabins, condos, and campgrounds abound. Early booking is encouraged if you know you are attending the conference, as rentals fill up fast, sometimes a year in advance! As for meals, many rental units have kitchens. Restaurants at several price points may be found near the Conference campus. You may also visit our “Plan Your Visit” tab for more information.
How many people participate?
Since there is no formal registration, that is hard to know. Best estimates are that approximately 1000 people attend for at least 6-7 days of the event. For special events like concerts and noted guest speakers, 2000 or more may attend. Many may choose to attend for just one day or one event, so annual unduplicated attendance is conservatively estimated at 5000.
Why do the annual dates of Conference seem to be a little different every year?
The Conference is held over two weekends and the week between. That week is defined as the 31st rental week for international condominium rental and trading purposes. Conference dates are planned for many years to come.
Are you affiliated with any one church or church denomination?
In a word, no. The Conference is governed by a board of directors representing several different churches and is incorporated as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit. We delight to work with Christian churches of many styles and traditions. The Conference had its beginnings in the earliest days of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, at that time more a mission agency than a church. The Alliance has since become a denomination. We continue to enjoy a strong relationship with the Alliance, but no formal affiliation.
How are guest artists and presenters chosen?
The leadership team of the Conference prayerfully discerns the Conference theme and participants for every year, often working several years in advance. Suggestions are received as to gifted Bible teachers, pastors, missionaries and leaders whose ministry would enrich future gatherings. Each year, an attempt is made to have concert events with current Christian artists with an appeal to the various generations who participate at the Conference.