Attending the National Youth Workers Convention is quickly becoming a tradition in my yearly calendar, this year is no exception. Four co-workers and I are driving the 16-hour haul to Atlanta in a 15 passenger van with three things in mind: Learn, worship, hang out together.
I remember I was in my rookie year as a Junior High Youth Director when first attending NYWC. It was in 2008, we drove to Nashville for the conference, and I had no clue what I was about to experience, except for maybe the three things listed above. Reflecting on that trip, there are a few things that I “caught” the first time around at the conference:
1. Youth Ministry is tough work. You must give God all you’ve got and hold nothing back.
2. “Burnout” in youth ministry is a common occurrence. I had no clue about this, but interacted with some hurting youth workers.
3. I’m blessed to work with a TEAM of youth directors who help to encourage in all seasons. The ministry partnership that Nazareth and Orchard Hill Churches share is unique and incredibly valuable.
4. David Crowder is ridiculously sweet.
It goes without saying that I’m pumped up for NYWC 2011! I’ve learned that, yes, youth ministry is tough work but (fortunately) I am not experiencing “burnout.” Even today, the TEAM we have continues to grow and encourage me.
In 2008, I carried a small notepad in my pocket for its described use: to take notes. I dug up that notepad from NYWC ’08 to reflect on the notes I scratched down during Big Room Sessions that year. Here are some of the highlights:
The church is an unstoppable force, or at least it should be! It’s not about the service time, building, or child care.
Don’t spend your time fertilizing rocks.
To follow Jesus, you have to give EVERYTHING. Are you willing to do that?
Even manure is better than flavorless salt.
The words of Jesus have ruined my life, maybe yours too.
God didn’t come for the healthy but for the sick. If the gay kid can’t go to church, where can he go?
If you want to know what I believe, watch how I act.
Every Babylon falls.
Jesus spent time with the disciples. Not just from 7:00-8:00 on a Wednesday night.
If you’re going to be good, you’ve got to allow space for being bad.
God uses broken people.
Communion is a step beyond community. Communion and mission intersect.
The intersection of communion and mission is this: Small, Slow, Simple, Present, Fluid, and “Jesus-y”
Large does not equal success
The Gospel is not an idea, it is a person.
You have all you need for youth ministry, GOD is in you!
Reflecting on these notes brings back some sweet memories and gets me pumped up for what we’re about to experience at NYWC ’11. Onward!
Question: Have you been to the NYWC? What do you remember? Click here to comment.