If we were anywhere near a professional blog here at the J-Blog, we would have posted about eight times by now! But as it is, we’re slackers, and so this is all you get!
Welcome to the National Youth Workers Convention! This is the greatest event of the year for those of us who are foolish enough to work with teenagers in the name of Jesus Christ. We get together with other fools from all over the country and in fact the world to talk about the trade we’ve been called to, this odd and wondrous calling of youth ministry. Throughout the day there are seminars, big room keynote speakers, games, small groups, exhibit halls, and other fun activities throughout the weekend.
Our journey began with a 9 hour drive from Pittsburgh to Nashville (#nashtag) in what I must admit are some pretty nice cars that our friends all seem to own. Seriously, the one car we’ve got in our caravan is like a step or two away from driving itself! We got in late Thursday night, had a delicious dinner at a friend’s restaurant (Lockland Table, hit ‘em up!), and then crashed from the journey.
On Friday, we started the day with some seminars. I went to the most theologically snobby sounding title I could come up with: God The Definitive Mix: An Age-Appropriate Narrative Hermeneutic by Matt Laidlaw. Big point to take away here: God is the main character of the Bible, and not us. It’s pretty easy to put ourselves in the number one slot, when it clearly and distinctly belongs to God.
After that, it was Big Room time with Mark Batterson of Community Church in Washington DC. I’ll be honest, I think one of the bigger takeaways from his talk was that his Church was pretty cool. Yes, it centered on prayer and what God can accomplish through prayer, but it just kind of left me with the feeling that it was a bit of a sales pitch, and I’m never much interested in those. That said, Rend Collective Experiment led some killer worship, and if Audrey Assad sang so well as to make me wish I owned every CD she’s ever put out. Crazy good voice!
Family rooms followed. This is a new thing to NYWC which allows us to form new little small groups and discuss together. My small group is pretty rad this year, and for as much as I am the introvert who doesn’t like person to person discussion, this works out pretty well. If you’re at the convention and you’re skipping these, stop. They’re pretty cool. (In fact, I’m late for one now!)
After the family room, I decided to skip the seminars. I spent a little bit of time in the sanctuary doing some prayer and focusing on my relationship with Christ. One of my favorite parts of this convention is how much room they give you to do this. It’s not about pounding out as much information as we can fit into our brains. It’s about deepening our faith so that we are prepared to work with the teenagers we serve. I followed that up with a date with my sweet Sarah including a stop at a local and delicious candy shop.
Like I said, I am late for a family room, so we’ll have more from the NYWC on the J-Blog later today. Thanks for reading this thoroughly unprofessional blog!