blogging from simply youth ministry conference

had a great first evening at the simply youth ministry conference here in chicago last night. SYM does so many things right with this conference, and it's been so encouraging, affirming, stretching, and stimulating already. so excited for today!

i usually don't do too many late nite options at conferences like these, but they have these "affinity groups" that have been intriguing. they're small group conversations happening all over the place at designated times that you can just jump in, but they're for people who fall into the same category... junior high ministry, senior high ministry, married to youth ministry, young adult ministry, burnt out in ministry, large church ministry, rural church ministry, etc.

last night i jumped into he large church ministry... not really sure what "large" means. one of the cool things right off the bat... nobody cares. there's just some dynamics that large churches face... whether it's 500.... or 25,000. the conversations were so stretching and i went away with lots to chew on. leadership development... sustaining structures of leadership, etc. so good.

gotta get in line now to get a good seat...



no real flow... just some random thoughts from life lately:
  • i love mondays... they are our "sabbath" and we really try to protect them. they end up being days we try to get caught up on things we're behind on in all realms but work/ministry - ie. adoption stuff, house stuff, car maintenance, dog stuff, or sleep). i hate it how hard it is to tune everything else out in order to truly detach from ministry for 24 hours, but it's becoming more and more critical.
  • got my blood sucked today... (bloodwork). for the adoption the government wants to make sure we're healthy and not doing drugs. other than that... we're gradually progressing and eagerly anticipating getting the 3rd homestudy meeting scheduled. shanna's been busy posting more on our adoption blog, and also getting everything up and running for the adoption fundraiser. we are so overwhelmed and grateful for those coming alongside us on this journey. it's been amazing and beautiful. btw... if you don't know what "longaberger" means... don't feel bad, you're in good company. when i first met shanna, i had many interesting ideas as to what this strange new vernacular was all about. but after 5 years of marriage to a 'longaberger' fan, basically it is just a brand of really nice baskets. :)
  • had the opportunity to speak in "big church" yesterday on the topic of conflict in relationships. as i was preparing for it over the last few weeks, it was amazing how many personal illustrations i was able to quickly come up with. not sure exactly what that means... but i think we all know too well how painful relational conflict is and how difficult it is to resolve effectively. i had way more examples of conflict's ugliness than successful encounters with it.
  • while shanna heads to pittsburgh this coming weekend for her sister's baby shower (she's also taking one of our mozambique team students with her...which is super cool), i'm flying out to chicago for the simply youth ministry conference with 3 other adults from our student ministry team. i'm so excited for this conference... i love the community and relational component of what this conference seems to bring, in addition to the lineup of speakers and workshops. really hoping to dive into some great youth ministry discussions, not just with our team, but with others in similar boats as us from all over the country.
  • mozambique... we are so excited - last week we purchased our plane tickets for all 8 team members! God has been so good, and we are so blessed to be able to take students on this trip and be able to pace with them through all of the tensions, questions, and joys this trip will bring.
  • succeed2010 - with each day i'm growing more and more excited about this super special event we're hosting at lakeshore this saturday. i'm bummed i won't be there for it, but i believe in what Youth Transition Network is doing, and i know it'll be a highly impactful time for all who can make it. basically, it's an event for juniors & seniors in high school and their parents to help prepare them for success as they take the big step from high school into college/young adulthood. the data is alarming at how few make that transition well... and how sadly so many pitch their faith in large part because they weren't prepared for the challenges ahead. this is one way we're hoping to help with that.


thinking critically

really enjoyed seeing cpyu's article they put out a few days ago before the superbowl. the superbowl commercials have become just as much of a show as the big game itself. tonight with my small group of 8th/9th grade guys i plan to watch the following ad that aired Sunday night, and i plan to use the 7 questions in the article to try to help them think critically.

i absolutely LOVE our group right now as we're going through the book Every Young Man's Battle. the battle for purity has dramatically changed over the last 10 years, and our students are getting bombarded from literally every direction. a statement i've been throwing out there a lot recently is this: "the battle is no longer about SHIELDING yourself from temptation, as much as it is about EQUIPPING yourself to respond correctly. for those in "the battle", is that a true statement?