Well, we’re back. In all honesty, we’ve been back for several days now. We arrived back in the great state of NJ Monday night. I’ve just been running around hither and thither and had no time to blog. Actually I have a pretty good story from yesterday about our wee excursion to New York City, trekking across the length of three boroughs and a fine evening of dining in Chinatown, but perhaps I shall save that for another entry.
This is about the convention. It was amazing. I’ve been stressed about a great many things. Some of which I have spoken of here, others I have not for the reason that there are some that read my words and it would cause more problems than it’s worth. (Censorship, even if not direct, is great, isn’t it?) Anywho, life was crazy. I started vacation at 3:30pm on October 26 and it has been amazing ever since. Life is good. Quite good.
We left for the convention on Halloween night (happy birthday to Sarah). I have already spoken of the beginning adventures of the trip in recent posts, but due to crappy or overpriced Internet connections was unable to continue the blogs.
The entire experience was great. I took many informative and/or challenging seminars, including:
1. God’s Word on Center Stage: Leading a Biblically Centered Youth Ministry – Our Critical Concern. 8 hour course. Lots of good ideas on how to keep the ministry focuses and even how to plan teachings and flesh out ideas. I will use some of them this week as I prepare to speak on Sunday.
2. Deep Justice in a Broken World with Chap Clark – Really good. Had an “ouch moment” in the beginning as Chap ripped apart traditional concepts of service and what is important in the Christian life and approached the issue from a different angle. I think he’s on to something though.
3. Theological Tools… with Tony Jones – Dude is mad smart and incredibly deep. Some things I agreed with. Others I think he might be a bit off on. It all comes down to interpretation. Very challenging though. I enjoyed it.
4. Caring for God’s Creation: How to Involve Ministry in Environmental Stewardship with Peter Illyn – Not too impressed with this one… not because it was bad, but because it was nothing I haven’t heard before. I did get a free “I love God’s Creation” sticker though. Rock on!
5. Developing a Strong Volunteer Team with Doug Fields – Doug is the man. He has a whole lot of youth ministry experience and knows what he’s talking about, mostly because (as he says) he has made so many mistakes in the past. You should listen to his podcast.
As suggested, I skipped two seminars. One, I slept through. 🙂 The other I went to the prayer chapel to, well, pray. It was great. Quiet. Refreshing. Awesome.
The General Sessions are always my favorite. Lots of great speakers – Duffy Robbins, Chris Hill, Lynne Hybels, Doug Fields, Greg Stier, Ralph Winter, and Marko. I must say that I think Marko was the best this year. He nailed it on the head. Great ideas about Youth Ministry 3.0. Gonna have to order that one on mp3. Crowder was fun as always. I heard Matt Maher and Jeff Johnson for the first time leading worship. I liked Matt Maher. Jeff Johnson not so much. Just not my style. I think Starfield stole the show, if that is possible, with worship. They were awesome. Jars of Clay, Flatfoot 56, Family Force 5, Ayiesha Woods, and Lost and Found provided musical entertainment. I was most into Jars and Ayiesha. Skit Guys were hilarious as always. Ted and Company were there for other skit performances. Somehow it was weird since Lee wasn’t there since he died. It wasn’t the same chemistry Ted and Lee had. Ah well.
Late night was great. The best was the comedy show. Gut-busting hilarity. Then again, the Skit Guys, I think, were even better. Improv and ad lib all over the place, and it was all pure comedic gold. Laughter is awesome.
Then there was the community. It was great to be around so many other insane people. Felt like home. Met Mike Kupferer finally. I follow him on Twitter and we are friends on Facebook. Got to talk to Marko for all of 5 seconds, but it was still cool. Met some people who incessantly mocked NJ. They’re lucky the airport took our shanks, else we might have had a rumble. 🙂
Anyway, this is quite excessively long. I shall end it here. I could go on, but it would just be more and more ramblings of how much I enjoyed myself. Our group looks forward to the Pittsburgh convention next year.
I have uploaded several to many graphical images of the convention to Flickr. Be sure to view them and comment and do other such social networking things.
Until next time, peace be with you.