The last ten days have been brutal, good, but brutal.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
I had to go to San Diego early for the National Youth Worker Convention for some meetings and to get ready for The Sanctuary experiences at the convention. I had a wonderful time working on the Soul Care offerings for youth workers with my friends - Beth Slevcove, Archie Honrado, Lilly Lewin, Libbie Patterson, and Jodi Shay. I taught one 90 minute seminar called Youth Ministry in 3D: Cultivation of Time, Place and Space for developing a community of practice. I also taught, led or facilitated 11 other sessions. In between I fit in working meals and meetings with youth ministry partners and associates. When I had free time I hung out at the Barefoot table to promote resources and the Immerse Journal. Tim Baker, our editor for Immerse was at the convention to meet with our authors and find new authors. We were able to fit in a meeting to conceptualize the March/April edition of Immerse.
I had an excellent lunch with Paul Bertelson, CEO/President of Youthworks (the new owner of YouthSpecialies) and Jeff Carver, Youthworks' VP of Research and Development. These guys are great and their Youthworks team demonstrated an amazing spirit of service and hospitality throughout the convention. It was also great to see Tic Long back in the saddle.
I had good conversations with friends Mark and Jeannie Oestreicher, a wonderful dinner with Jim Hancock and lunch with Andy Root, along with many other conversations with longtime youth ministry friends.
A funny (weird experience) happened when Chris Folmsbee, Laurey Kiehne and me were eating dinner at The Bing Crosby Piano Lounge. It happened to be Ladies Night and the Ladies were having a spirited time dancing to the music of a piano player that was singing cover songs - Billy Joel, Elton John, etc. All of a sudden he launched into "Jesus, he can move the mountains, our God is mighty to save, mighty to save..." The dancing Ladies continued their tipsy dances but now had their hands lifted in the "worship position." To say that it was weird and cheesy is a major understatement. I don't know what was going on but we had some good laughs over it.
It is not too late to register for the second NYWC which will be held in Nashville, November 19-22.
After spending a day and a half in Kansas City, I left for Wilmore, Kentucky and Asbury University. I'm speaking at a Retreat on campus. My friend Brian Hull who teaches youth ministry at Asbury organized the retreat for high school students who feel called to ministry vocation. The Hull family used to live in Kansas City and we attended church together. Brian, Carol and I had a fine dining experience together eating great food and catching up on life, so good. In addition to the retreat I spoke to the entire student body at the University which was an awesome experience. I also taught an afternoon seminar for area youth workers. Jim Hampton, who is President of the Association of Youth Ministry Educators and a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary also participated in the retreat. It is always life-giving to be around Jim.
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
Tomorrow I fly to Raleigh for weekend planning meetings and a Board Meeting for the Wild Goose Festival. I'm looking forward to being with my Wild Goose partners - Karla Yaconelli, Joy Wallis, Ian Cron, Gareth Higgins along with others who will gather for these meetings.
On Monday I will be attending Duke Divinity Schools' 2010 Convocation & Pastors' School. Fellow Youthfront staff members Erik Leafblad, Micah Thomas, Sam Theismann and Tom Greenwald will also be attending the conference so it will definitely be a GOOD time.
Great opportunities, wonderful friends, good times BUT I WANNA GO HOME...