Once a year I try to get to a conference or training to hone my skills an refresh my soul and this year I went to the National Youth Workers Conference in Nashville, Tn. have been to about 8-10 of the NYWC over the bast 23 years and God has used it to impact my life in many ways. Which means, I could not have picked a better topic for my 300th post as this blog exists to impact youth workers so they can impact students. I saw youth workers, Jesus, and my own life through fresh eyes this week so let me share six moments that made an impact on me.
# 1 Audrey Assad
I knew who Audrey was as an artist as I had seen her albums show up on iTunes, but I had never heard her live. That changed this week as Audrey led worship in a few of the session at the NTWC. Maybe it was just where I was at spiritually this yea that made there songs and her voice resonate with me. The three songs she sang, that I remember were
Each of these songs struck a raw nerve in me that had me crying, praying, and longing for more of God and less of me. Worshipping with 3500 hundred other youth workers did not hurt to make this an amazing moment. Shane and Shane, were also there but, well they’re Shane and Shane, nuff’ said.
#2 Bob Goff
I had heard of Bob Goff but never heard hims speak before this week. Bob is author of the book Love Does and to say Bob was a funny and challenging speaker is like saying The Beatles were a pretty good band. The best way to describe Bob is to use his own quote, “I make coffee nervous” His message “to walk in love” was just what I needed.
#3 Spiritual Direction Session
Every year I go to the NYWC I try to do one of two things 1) Meet with a conference Pastor or 2) Meet with a Spiritual Director. Both are there to be sounding boards, counselors, and good listeners. I chose a spiritual director this year because I see a spiritual directors role as one who see past my veneer to what God is doing in my world. Three words rang true for me
– Habits (Disciplines)
Each of these words have context but I cannot elaborate as I am still working through them.
#4 Connecting with New Friends
Sometimes I skip sessions to connect with new people and this year I had a great opportunity to meet some Facebook friends. Some of these friends include
- Eric Gargus (he worked with an exhibitor called Interlinc this year) He was a fun guy to hang out with and get to know.
- Heather Campbell with Youthmin.org and her friend Elisa Fernandez. We met for the first time at a local coffee shop to just talk and get to know each other. I really felt like I walked away with two new friends and a term of endearment: The Relic. Pretty awesome.
- Marjorie from Fuselage was also a treat to meet.
- Tony Jacobs is the YSNetwork Coordinator and I only knew him from some posts on the site, but after running in to him on his way to dinner I tapped along and got to know him and a few others (Erin Jackson) around the table.
- I roomed with George Lynch and his Senior Pastor. His hipster mustache and great conversation about youth ministry made him a favorite with me.
I attended a Family group where we talked about theology and student ministry with the same small group over two days. If I remember they were Scott, Olivia, Rick, Bryon, and Ron. Good people.
If I met you, but left you out, my apologies.
#5 Gathering with Old Friends
My roommate this time around was Roger Ball. He and I were youth pastors in the 90’s in Vero Beach Fl. He is now a Lead Pastor, which I think is clearly a step backwards in his career (just kidding) He brought his youth pastor and we had a great time.
I also got to hang with the gang from Interlinc including Allan Hardin, Allen Weed, Jerry Davis, Mark Pittman, and Sheridyn Williamson. These guys are a blast. Check out their stuff.
Tim Eldred is the president of Christian Endeavor and we like to say we’ve known each other for too long.
I got to hang with my long time Twitter friend Gavin Richardson, his web design par excel-lance. He’s a cool dude and I am excited about his transition of roles.
#6 Seminars with Impact
I attended a few seminars between all the meeting and greeting and they included
- God, the Definitive Mix: An Age Appropriate Narrative Hermeneutic
- Aging in Youth Ministry
- Moving Your Team From Chaperones to Shepherds
The presenters did a fantastic job.
I am sure there were other great moments but these are the ones that really stuck out to me. If you ever get a chance to attend a NYWC, I highly recommend it.
See you in Atlanta.
Did you attend this years NYWC in Nashville? What was your favorite moment?