#nywc : you've come a long way baby!

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Greetings friends!

Two years ago, I was at the NYWC in Atlanta. Atlanta is still one of my favorite places to do the convention, because it's where my first one was, and truthfully I think Atlanta is an extremely cool city.

However, two years ago, I wrote this post.

YS was not in a good place. They had done what was referred to this weekend as one of the most awkward moment in youth ministry history as they paraded a bunch of dudes to promise us that all would be well. It didn't work. None of us thought all would be well. In fact, as I remember it, several of my friends and I thought that 2009 would be our last convention.

Some pretty significant things happened in the months and years that followed. Tic Long came back to run YS, a move that was heralded in by a video featuring me and Ed standing on the roof of our church (always trying to out-ridiculous each other). We went to the convention last year in Nashville, and had an absolutely marvelous time. Things felt right again. Not that change is a bad thing, it's frequently good. And YS did in fact change a bunch about the convention that year. There was just a calm over the place that was missing in the 2009 convention.

Fast forward to Sunday. Once again we're in Atlanta, and once again we're in a time of transition. Tic Long is moving on to become an executive pastor at the church that every youth pastor on earth now wants to work at (seriously, can you imagine Tic as your boss?). Instead of awkward squirms and cautious glances back and forth, this transition was met with standing ovations and (if I'm honest) a couple of tears of joy. We celebrated the great man that is Tic Long, but I think we also celebrated that YS is on track and headed in a great place.

For better or for worse, YS is a big influence on so many of us youth pastors. For me at least, it's a place of refuge and rest, a place that not only gives me books to help my ministry, but gives me resources to help my soul as well. It's my safety net in ministry, and in 2009 it looked like it had a lot of holes in it.

I am just so very excited for what is happening with YS now. Mark Matlock, Kara Powell, Doug Fields, Adam McLane (who I think is obligated to read my blog every time I mention YS, so how's it going buddy!) and the rest of the crew look like their passionate about the vision of YS, passionate about resourcing us, passionate about ministering to us so that we can minister to our students. I will miss the heck out of Tic, but things are headed in a beautiful direction.

All that said, I still plan on praying for those guys, and I hope you'll join me. I can't imagine that all that they do is easy on them, so I offer my prayers every day for them and their families.

What do you think? Were you at the convention? How do you feel about YS these days?

More to come this week!