NYWC #9: Going home.

Six Years AgoI can’t believe it’s over. EJ, Ro, and I are sitting just beside the escalators that head down to the main room. EJ is real big on the concept of a debrief, making sure that we have opportunities to discuss what we’ve learned, and spend a little bit of time learning from each other. As we’re sitting there talking about our latest seminar, Karla Yaconelli, wife of the late Mike Yaconelli, goes zipping by on a pink scooter, looks at us, and proclaims “Huh, guess there really isn’t an elevator down here...” I look at her and say “I don’t know, but I bet the business men having a conference down the hall aren’t riding around on scooters!”

I woke up in a cloud in my room. Literally. I opened the window and all I saw was white. That was kind of neat, not going to lie!

Yesterday the convention went out with a bang. After posting my last post, Ed, Dan, Abby, Mike and I went to John Acuff’s seminar on satire in youth ministry. The amount of jokes we were making to each other under our breath during the seminar proved for certain that we didn’t need any help with our satire! But it was a really cool seminar, and John’s an awesome guy. If you don’t already, you absolutely need to check out his blog at www.stuffchristianslike.net

We went out for dinner at the CNN center, again. Every meal we have eaten at this conference has been at the CNN center. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this blog in the CNN center. I love CNN. Maybe they’ll google their CNN brand name every now and again and CNN will put me on TV, you know, on CNN (please). Anyway, I sat looking around the table, and even thinking about it now, I get overwhelmed at the privilege of sharing this convention with the people I love. If any of you guys are reading the blog, I really had a blast with you all! I learn more from you guys than I learn from any of the presenters here, and I’m so happy to do ministry with you!

Reggie Joiner was our speaker at the big room. He spoke about systems upgrades, and making sure we don’t fall into a rut, almost doing ministry on maintenance mode. If you work in a church in any capacity, and you live in the greater Pittsburgh region, let me know and I will loan you the DVD. It was amazing! He got extra bonus points from me for making Apple products the big illustration for his talk. Huge bonus points Reggie. Huge.

I watch as EJ talks to Karla about losing Mike. I never knew Mike Yaconelli, I had just heard that he was the guru of youth ministry, and that he had died in a car crash recently. I didn’t know just how huge and wonderful a man he was until I got to the convention!You can tell that everybody here loved him deeply. You can tell that his loss has caused some very deep rifts in YS, that things are starting to change. After Reggie’s talk last night, Mark Matlock got up and once again brought up the sale of Youth Specialties, which has seemed like the big huge elephant in the room. I feel like the whole Youth Specialties staff is hurting, they aren’t sure what to do or where to go next. The youth ministries community has lost a very good friend in Marko. You can tell that a lot of people were really invested in him as a leader, and now he’s gone. Now there’s some sort of future ahead of us, but we don’t exactly know what tomorrow holds. All we know is that God is good, and that he loves our kids even more than we do. I am certain beyond all reason that youth specialties finest days are still ahead of it, even if we have to go through some painful transitions to get there...

(There will be more thoughts on the youth specialties/zondervan/youthworks camps deal later today.)