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Themes from NYWC

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I had a great weekend in Cincinnati. I had lots of time to connect with old friends, meet tons of new people, and got into a multitude of deep conversations about life, work, ministry, and family. Over and over again themes came into conversation. These weren’t things I brought up… it just seemed like everything came back to these things eventually.

  • Mentorship, tutoring, education: Apparently, I am not the only one thinking that if youth ministry needs to be Good News to students it needs to somehow involve education. It seems like this is a youth ministry-wide tribal reaction to the realization that programmatic stuff isn’t as effective as it was just 5 years ago.
  • Calling: Living on the West Coast I’m a bit insulated from what is going on in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio churches. My friends would say, “it’s bad, real bad.” And I think that means giving is way down, they are taking pay cuts, and they are having to go back to God and say… “Are you absolutely positive I am called to this?
  • Ministering to gay and lesbian students: When Andrew Marin came to NYWC last fall and talked about the big rainbow elephant in the room… it opened up a can of worms! One of the things I’ve learned is that while teens were coming out of the closet to youth workers EVERYWHERE, the youth workers were still closeted about it. I can’t tell you how many times a conversation brought this up.
  • Dependency. I think this is related to calling– it’s just the theological “aha” so many are embracing. We all know God’s got this. We all know that no matter how bad things look for the church, the church will be fine. But this weekend I ran into a bunch of people who literally are putting their life out there and depending on God. Even during the convention I ran into people who told me they had been let go that weekend. But they aren’t giving up. They aren’t freaking out. They are depending on God.
  • Fun! Even with the heavy stuff right under the surface. This is a tribe of people who loves life and wants to have fun. Check out what they did on Halloween.

By Adam McLane

Adam McLane is a partner at The Youth Cartel, co-author of A Parent's Guide to Understanding Social Media, blogger of 10+ years, and a fan of all things San Diego State University Aztecs.

1 reply on “Themes from NYWC”

First, please pass along my appreciation to all the YS team for an awesome weekend. I didn’t even know I was going to be there until about two weeks before the event, but now I can’t imagine NOT being there!

I have to echo your first observation about mentoring and add a little. In that first general session when all the 20-something youth workers were asked to stand, I was struck by the number of them and my memories of being a 20-something youth worker. It also struck me that now more than maybe ever in the history of youth ministry, we have people who are 15+ year veterans who can and should speak into the lives of these younger youth workers as mentors. That was an underlying theme in the open space as well. I remember one young youth worker coming up to the microphone in the closing circle and saying how valuable, how appreciated the voice of the veterans was.

Now that I’ve seen this, I’m trying to figure out where to go with it.

Sorry I hijacked your blog with a super-long comment. Great thoughts! Best wishes for Atlanta!

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