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.