Now I must process my time at the National Youth Workers' Convention. (Henceforth referred to as NYWC.) This is a daunting task; one you would only fully understand if you've attended this convention. Thirteen hundred youth workers from across the country. Over 300 vendors in the exhibit hall. More brochures, business cards, and handouts then you could even imagine. Extravagant food prices. Giveaways, free tshirts, pens galore (aka “Mel's heaven”). Four pages, each with two columns and 8 point font detailing the 4 days of the conference—beginning at 8am and ending at 11:15pm with most time slots overlapping events. Most every big name in youth ministry speaking on every topic you've ever considered—all at the same time—and you have to pick one. Take all of that and mix in an eight hour road trip with six other youth leaders and you've got yourself.........something. I'm not really sure what.
It is such a huge blessing to be able to participate in this [very expensive] convention. God dropped the blessing of two tickets and a ride to Nashville right in our laps, 2 weeks before the event. We never thought we'd be here this year. It just wasn't feasible. But here we are. And we are thankful.
Worshipping with David Crowder, Jeremy Camp, NewWorldSon, and Starfield.
Learning from Tic Long, Mark Oestreicher, Kara Powell, Mike Pilavachi, Tony Campolo, Tim Eldred, Mark Yaconelli, and more.
Processing everything with my husband, the man with whom I am privileged to partner in this ministry.
Our concept of ministry, our vision for ministry, our passion for ministry have all been rocked. The speakers we've heard have been challenging us to forget about our programs, lose our agendas, and quit calling it “our” youth group. We should not do youth ministry. We should be training youth to do ministry. We should come alongside them and guide them from this adolescence into their adulthood. We should equip them to be members of The Church—participating in every aspect of the Body of Christ so as to not be lost once the youth leaders move on or they grow up and out.
And so, despite the 17 hour days—leaving the hotel at 7:45am and returning at 12:45am, the inability to attend every single session you are dying to attend, and the non-existent cheap food, this four day “weekend” has been incredible. Thank you, Jesus, for the opportunity, for the lessons, for the conversations, and for the changes you will make in us and in our church.