I had the chance to check out my friend Tony Myles' seminar entitled "secrets from the other side," which dealt with thoughts about youth ministry from someone who has been there and who is now serving as a lead pastor. I was really looking forward to this seminar because I went to school with Tony both in my undergraduate and graduate times at IWU. I have always been inspired by his thoughts and enjoyed trying to glean as much as possible from his wisdom...not to mention the fact that he's just a cool guy to hang with. The seminar dealt with various aspects of ministry from being in it for the long haul to working with your senior pastor. as I expected I was left with a lot to chew on but one thing I want to pass on are the following four points to remember:
- Your senior leader is more than a tool (literally and figuratively-work together/they can be an asset)
- Your peers are more than competitors (not to quote the musical from Hades High School Musical-but we are all in this together!)
- Your students are more than numbers (still a big ouch for me knowing that there is that expectation placed upon us unfortunately)
- Your calling is more than your own (it goes beyond ourselves and our gifts alone)
After the seminar we headed in for the final session with Marko. After a time of personal reflection and prayer which I really appreciated Marko shared his heart with us. When I say that I mean literally shared his heart-he scrapped his original message to share what he felt God was leading him to share. It really hit home as always-I appreciate his transparency with us as youth workers. The coolest thing he shared which was encouraging to me was the fact that we already have all we need to do youth ministry. We don't need all the "stuff" (whatever you perceive stuff to be whether programming, big budget, appearance, etc) because we are the equipment that God uses to reach young people. While that was scary to think about, I appreciate the fact that God is using me to hopefully impact if anything just a few students. I pray I don't forget that and get caught up in the craziness and pride of what youth ministry can be if it is all about the program.
Worship was led by a band that I had never heard of called Worth Dying For. We have been looking for some edgier worship for our teen praise band because they don't want to do the pop style worship of Crowder and Tomlin. These guys were amazing. Not only did they put on a great show, but they have the message and personalities to follow it up. They really did a great job of leading us to the throne-even thought the music was loud and hard. They are worth checking out if you are looking for some edgier music.
All in all, it was an awesome convention as expected, I'm already stoked about next year in Cincinnati. I'll post some pictures of the event later-I know I've already done a couple of videos, but I did get a few pictures.