As it turns out this may be my last post. I had hoped to make it to 500 (this is number 499), but these three hours may in fact end society as we know it.
Wow, it’s been hectic and really, really fun. Yesterday we started day one of a two-day middle school ministry track and haven’t slowed down since. About 120 fellow middle school workers holed up together to learn a little and to laugh a lot.
At large events like this one, you always expect great music, fantastic speakers, and all that good stuff. But what seems to have set my experience this year apart from so many others is the number of deep conversations I’ve had with people…conversations that have led me to really think about ministry and life.
In our session today we talked a little bit about having a purpose statement or vision statement but somehow failed to bring a sample so I promised I’d post ours here on the blog:
“Our Ministry exists to REACH non-believing students, to CONNECT them with other Christians, to challenge them to GROW in their faith, and to encourage the growing to DISCOVER their ministry and HONOR God with their lives.”
It’s been a great weekend, but I’m ready to head home!
After a crazy travel day (cancelled flights, re-booked then cancelled, then re-booked etc.) I finally arrived at about 1:30 a.m.
Today has been a great day.
I spent the morning with a group of about 40 large-church youth pastors from the Christian Missionary Alliance. A big part of their discussion was an interesting challenge to stay true to biblical text while being theologically creative at the same time. I really enjoyed my time with them.
Had lunch with two marketing guys from Standard Publishing to discuss plans to update, revise and re-cover Controlled Chaos which I’m really excited about.
Spent the afternoon with Scott Rubin (the jh pastor at Willow Creek) and about 100 junior high youth workers in a super casual “heart to heart” discussion about various issues.
The highlight of the day was the first general session featuring Tony Dungy. He was amazingly humble, insightful and seemed genuinely excited to be with us. At one point in his message he mentioned that he typically takes only 2-3 days off from July through January due to the demands of being an NFL head coach. To be honest, my heart broke for him thinking about the toll that must take on personal life.
Tomorrow we start our two-day middle school ministry track….should be fun.
I’m sitting in the Atlanta airport after just hearing the news that my flight into Cinci. is delayed by at least two hours due to poor weather. Bummer. I am looking forward to being in the cold, snowy weather but hate that it’s a travel factor.
The trip did get off to a sorta interesting start in O.C. As I was waiting to board, It was announced that one of our flight attendants was retiring after FORTY YEARS of service with Delta and that the leg to Atlanta was her very last flight. She came out and asked a bunch of us to join her in a retirement photo. Totally weird, random and fun.
Tomorrow morning I’m heading off to Cincinnati for the Group/SYM National Youth Ministry Conference. This is only the second year of this conference and things are looking pretty good. I’m slotted to keep myself pretty busy catching up with old friends, leading an 8 hour middle school ministry track etc. but I’m really looking forward to the weekend.
Perhaps what I like best about being part of this conference is the written expectation that the speakers and trainers will make themselves available to spend significant time with people attending the event. Eating meals together, hanging out during free time, attending late night options etc. are part of the role of every speaker. This really makes the whole event feel much more like a conversation than a conference, which is nice.
What I like least is being away from the family. The original plan was to take the kids out of school and make it a fun family trip (to Ohio?), but it turns out my daughter leaves for her 8th grade Washington D.C. trip on Friday so plans had to change.
I gotta admit, I wasn’t convinced that we’re on the front end of a recession until I saw how tough some churches have it.
(yes, the tongue is in the cheek)
Lesson Topic: Week Two of our Series ‘I <3 Technology'
‘Fun Factor’: Above Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above Average
Music: Above Average
Lesson Quality: Above Average
Length of Lesson: 20 mins
Student Response: Way Above Average
One of our better weekends in quite a while for lots of reasons.
Our worship band was entirely student led…not even an adult on stage to help out which was really fun. Our lesson was ‘Life is a like a video game’ and we did some pretty creative stuff to add the atmosphere. We set part of our stage up to look like a living room and a few minutes into my message on of our volunteers came out, turned on the t.v. and started playing guitar hero. He played guitar hero on stage during my entire talk which was both distracting and really fun at the same time. The lesson was fun, we had a great video and we had a lot of our volunteer team in attendance which always makes for a strong weekend.