That’s just about the only word that can describe my heart right now. The last week at NYWC left me completely spent both physically and mentally– but I sit here now with my spirit soaring.

Feet aching, eyes leaky, and thankful.

Back in December I had this silly belief that YS’s best days were still ahead.

It came out of my mouth all the time. It came out of my mouth because it was what my heart was telling me.

Obviously, the people at YouthWorks who had just hired me to stay with Youth Specialties loved it when I said that… But for those who have been around YS for a while– that thought was almost offensive. People just politely smiled when I said it. You see, our history and the things in the past have been so great, that to even set the expectation that things could be better than the past seemed like I wasn’t honoring our past.

That’s just not true. My feeling was that the best way to honor what we’d done over the past 40 years was try to work hard to resonate with what we’ve always done well while taking everything else to a whole new level. I felt like it would be dishonoring to play it safe in 2010 and it would honor the past best if we looked at every tiny detail as an opportunity to innovate.

Fortunately for me, Tic and everyone else felt the same way. And we set off on this crazy idea of not just getting through our first year with new ownership, but using this as a reset point.

Even though in 2009 we had laid our heart out and finished feeling trampled, damaged, and hurt… we would learn what we could from that and lay our heart down again. Maybe we were masochistic? But we just had this crazy desire to keep trying.

9 months later– all that was left was to see if all of that crazy idealism could become a reality. Walking into last week I kept telling people, “I’ve got this feeling God has an amazing story to tell and I can’t wait to see what it is.

All weekend long people asked me how the weekend was going. Then they proceeded to tell me all sorts of nice things about the weekend. All I could do was smile. Everything just felt right. The venue, the set-up, the affirmations flowing from the pours of the staff, the way the stage looked… everything.

You won’t get this grin off of my face for a few more days.

Over and over again Tic told us he wanted everything to be done in such a way where people who program for a living could just relax and know our team had everything handled. Hearing nice things tells us that people were shutting off their programming minds and just enjoying themselves. Phew.

For us, the evaluation process is just beginning. But based on what we heard and saw on site– I feel really good about San Diego. (We are all perfectionist, so of course we’ll tear it all apart and fix all sorts of minutia before Nashville.)

I was never more proud to work for YS than I was over the last 7 days.

The level of difficulty was exceptionally high. We had to navigate a new relationship with YouthWorks while at the same time trying to create an amazing Youth Specialties event at a time when youth workers desperately needed it. And some how it all came together. I know it’s not good to talk about pride in the Christian world… but I’m very proud of what we did this weekend together.

I’m not trying to say this was the best NYWC ever. Nor am I saying that this was YS’s shining moment in history. But I am saying that this weekend was a step towards better days to come.

Call me crazy. Call me stupid. Call me whatever name you want. But each day I have to wake up and believe that our best days are in front of us.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.


  1. i agree! san diego and the town and country was just about a perfect spot…the atmosphere was awesome…big rooms were inspiring to say the least. some very good things happened this weekend and God spoke to me and my wife in ways we did not expect.
    thanks for all the work!

  2. I have to agree totally Adam! This was a refreshing weekend. the flow was great and I can’t wait to see what God does in Nashville! Get some rest and be proud of your hard work and everything that God did to mend broken hearts!

  3. Hey Adam. I loved this year’s stuff even though i wasn’t there. I looked at the live schedule and made plans to watch every live feed from my couch. Luckily, i’m on the east coast so even the early sessions were at a decent time for me. I loved the feel of worship this year. They left the audio on for worship saturday and sunday. Last year…the big stuf band was excellent…but i felt like the way worship was led this year felt more like YS. I liked the Q & A stuff. Way to inspire youth pastors to use text messaging in a postive way. I hope more take that back to their churches. The only things that seem to be missing… I didn’t see anyone shoot finger rockets at Tic. I hope i was busy and missed that part. If not, i hope finger rockets return for nashville and/or 2011. Thats sarcasmish… What i really did miss was open space. I staffed in Sacramento…attended Atlanta and will be staffing Nashvegas. It seems like thats gonna be a cycle hopefully…as long as i keep getting selected every other year. Are there any thoughts about bringing Open Space back in a minor way even? I really enjoyed it. Sharing and also really getting to chat with other youth ministers. Big Room…exhibit hall…these aren’t really ways to meet strangers. Open Space really took steps at helping people to share and talk with completely different people. Thanks for all your hard work. I agree with you…i think YS has some awesome days ahead. God has put awesome people into leadership there.

  4. I have only been to two NYWC’s: 2008 Nashville and 2010 San Diego. I liked the city of Nashville’s location better because it was in the middle of the city, but as far as the actual convention and content 2010 rocked! I walked away being blown away at how much better 2010 was from 2008. It felt like everyone was real/authentic and really did care for youth workers.

    Thanks for all your hard work.

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