Monday, November 20, 2006

National Youth Workers Convention 2006

I've just returned from the National Youth Workers Convention sponsored by Youth Specialties. i attended the Cincinnati conference with a fellow youth guy from the Williamson County area. We drove up last Thursday and arrived back to Franklin this evening (Monday). Here are some of my thoughts:
  1. I was definitely in the minority as a mainline protestant, and especially as a Presbyterian. There were a lot of folks from community and Baptist churches. The evangelical lingo was prevelant in most of the workshop leaders.
  2. If most community churches worship like we did this weekend, I can tell you that I'd leave feeling empty, and not in that, "I emptied my soul before God" kind of way. You can only call Jesus beautiful and the best thing ever so many times. There was absolutely no spoken liturgy...NONE! We sang for half an hour, heard Scripture (most of the time) and then heard a sermon/keynote presentation. Then, we might sing another song and jump around a bit and then turn around and leave. So, yeah, I think I'd have a hard time worshipping in that way every week.
  3. A lot of people using the term, "my ministry." It's all about God, except I'm gonna talk like it's really about how I present God. I need to do some further reflection on why the term"my ministry" bothers me. Any help would be appreciated.
  4. I was introduced to the term "Christ Follower." Check out these vidoes Christian Vs. Christ Follower at youtube for a glimpse into the difference between a Christian and a Christ Follower. You can pretty much guarantee an entire post or series of posts that parse these videos, but for now, just know that there are some presenters who never used the word Christian or Disciple, and instead talked about being a Christ Follower. Like I said, more on that later.
  5. Rodger Nishioka was one of the keynote speakers/preachers. He was great, as usual. It was great to see a familiar face and have an opportunity to sit down and shoot the bull with him.
  6. I heard a speaker talking about worship who said that it's important that we bring our best to worship. He said something like If you're only bringing a 5 to worship as a leader, you can't expect those in the congregation to attain a 6 or a 7. Um, what? Interesting notion about our role in worship isn't it? I tend to believe that God uses our less than perfect gifts to bring about transformation and to bless the worship of the congregation. Isn't worship about what God has done, is doing, and will do, and less about what I bring. Is it important to bring our best? Yes. Does God's ability to transform lives depend on the level of my best? Absolutely not.
  7. Overall, I had a great time and feel enriched by this conference. I definitely came away with some good ideas and some good resources. I actually enjoy those times when I'm totally out of my element and forced to encounter thoughts and language that are different than my own.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.


Anonymous said...

Man, you pretty much went straight home and sat down with your computer. That's amazing, and what I mean by amazing is that the fullness of your thoughts after talking non-stop for 5 hours is amazing. I haven't stopped thinking about the different models that were presented and how they can be used or if I even want to use them. All in all, it was a great event as always. The music is loaded on the ipod as well as the Selah background. I feel ready to get back into the actual application of youth ministry as opposed to the pie in the sky dreaming that comes from a conference such as this.
That is all I have to say about that (at this time)

Nate - A Christ Follower for Christ jamming on my jpod with 3 gigs left over!

TheoOnTapintheBurg said...

Hey, Alan, so this has nothing to do with your post but I just found out that you will be keynoting for Massanetta the week I'm taking my youth. Yeah! I can't wait to see you and to get a chance to catch up. By the way, this is Kelly Wiant-Thralls (an innie codirector from 2005) from Harrisburg, PA. Found this before your e-mail and I'm becoming obsessed with blogs i am adding a comment that is unrelated. oh well.

mark said...

interesting thoughts..i look forward to taking a look at those videos and hearing what you think of them..

and on the written liturgy may take a while to get evangelicals to write prayers..but geez, at least give an attempt at trying to make the service actually flow..if we speak so high of the text, why not let the text drive music, prayers, sermon, etc?? instead of seven random songs, a random prayer..

but..if this is what they are modeling at THE youth workers convention, hopes for this change are not high..