i'm so crazy blessed right now to be able to be here in chicago at the simply youth ministry conference (a live feed during general sessions can be viewed here). the only thing that could possibly make it better would be to have shanna here with us. definitely gotta fix that for next year!
here's a few random things that have made me smile during the weekend so far:
1. powerful general sessions
the worship and speakers have hit it out of the park each time! God is using them in big ways to challenge our hearts, recharge our reservoires, and create space for us to be intimate with the Almighty. doug fields spoke last night (with some CRAZY on-screen creativity), and louie giglio killed it in the morning session today! the skit guys have been hilarious, and shane and shane, matt maher, and tim timmons have brought us to the throne.
2. time with each other
i'm especially thankful for the opportunity to be here with 5 other adult leaders from our student ministry back home. in fact, i'd love to have all 15 of them here (and the other youth leaders from other area churches in our community). it has been truly great to connect deeper together in a more relaxed and casual environment, and discuss all the things we're learning and growing through during this time. it's so much better than coming alone!
3. watching them connect with God
i love seeing God work in our students... and i love seeing Him work in our leaders. to see them with their hands raised in worship and to watch them digest life-giving, mission-inspiring words puts a smile on my face like nothing else.
4. creativity unleashed
there's something about large group presentations that tap into the creative arts that connect our hearts to God in profound ways. there's a truly gifted artist here this weekend who has been painting on canvases and adding to the stage design live during the worship sessions, and it's been powerful to watch. coming from someone who's still trying to perfect the stick figure, it truly amazes me! i was gonna try to put some pictures in here, but it's not letting me right now. :(
5. practical tips, tricks, and ideas
my moleskine journal is filling up fast with tons of great ideas, tips, and tricks that we can easily implement in our setting back home. i want to make the most of this conference so that i can make the most of my calling. it's in spaces like this where God really begins to use things we've heard and learned to shape some ideas that may change and morph some things in our ministry, and it'll influence how our students interface with God!