I was listening to Chuck Bomar's session from NYWC: Charlotte on "Discipling College-Age People." He mentioned that he started a new website to help resource college ministry leaders. Check it out: CollegeLeader.org.


A buddy of mine from college leaves January 17th for a trip to Central America with 2 other guys. They're filming a documentary about the beauty and hardships of Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama in hopes that through the film, South/Central/North Americans will be able to better understand each other. Check out their website, it's called the Down the Road Project.


nywc: charlotte #5 [Recap #1]

People keep asking, "Was it worth it?" I've said yes, with almost no doubt about saying that. Looking back, it was a great time of rest, of learning (better than seminary learning, this was the good stuff!), but the best part was spending time with good friends. I told one of my friends from Richmond how sad it is that we have to travel to Charlotte to see each other.

Looking back on the music in worship, it wasn't the greatest. But I have come home with new songs that I've been singing non-stop. By far my favorite has been "When I Think About the Lord" from Shane + Shane:

When I think about the Lord
How He saved me, how He raised me
How He filled me with the Holy Ghost
How He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
How He picked me up, turned me around
How He set my feet on solid ground
And it makes me want to shout, Hallelujah!
Thank you Jesus, Lord You're worthy
Of all the glory and all the honor, and all the praise

The pictures are from Stellar Kart. We missed all but the last few minutes because we went to the Charlotte Bobcats vs. Detroit Pistons. But the game was a good chance to get away from the Convention Center for a bit, and we made it back in time for the good stuff.

I'm already looking forward to next year. But here's the dilemma: St. Louis or Atlanta. The earlier conventions this year seemed to have a better line-up of speakers, bands and worship leaders. But Atlanta is during Thanksgiving Break, so I could stay longer. Ah, choices. I'd love to go to the Lou simply because I've never been. So we'll see what happens. But I will be there, ready to learn with an open mind. More on what I learned in Recap #2...


Someone hacked into my eBay account tonight. Thanks to some quick work on the web, Keanu at eBay Live Help and a slow hacker, I'm back on my own with no unwanted guests. Check out eBay's Security Center for help on staying safe. If an e-mail from eBay looks phishy, it might be. And if you open up your web browser and the URL isn't ebay.com, get away. Get far, far away! Thus endeth the Public Service Announcement.


nywc: charlotte #4

Gordon wrote on his blog earlier today about the lack of true worship during General Sessions at the NYWC. I can't agree with him more. It's ironic to listen to Dan Kimball discuss how we introduce times of music during worship services at our church as, "Let's stand and join in worship" while that exact thing happens at the NYWC. At some point, some time, we're going to have to start making changes to how we think, how we act, how we talk. And we can't just talk about making these changes, at some point we have to start doing. Enough ranting, I think. The reflective worship based on the Celtic tradition was amazing this morning, and I hope Shane + Shane can continue a spirit of genuineness in their worship leadership tomorrow and Monday.

Speaking of being genuine -- Mike and the guys from Big Daddy Weave joined us tonight and played a couple songs. The joy radiating from their faces was amazing. It caused me to become more excited about being in that concert because of their energy. They truly seemed to be enjoying themselves, having fun making music. I hope that as I lead in worship, I will radiate that joy, drawing others to desire to enter into that place of worship with me. It's not about the music style. It's not about the volume. It's not about people looking to us to solve all their problems. As Chris Hill spoke tonight, we're not the light -- we're just pointing other people, and our students, in particular, to where the light is.

Tomorrow: day 3. G'night.

nywc: charlotte #3

Yesterday I went to Dan Kimball's sessions on Changing Youth Group Kids Into Youth Missionaries[download notes] and The Importance of Theology In Youth Minister[download notes]. Great time of thinking through why we do what we do. I realized that I could listen to thoughts and ideas and ways of doing youth ministry all day. But to listen at a session like these two with Dan and begin to contemplate why we do what we do, the rest of our ministry will fall into place. Comparative Youth Ministry is no way to grow.

Kenda Creasy-Dean [download notes] talked during her time in the General Session about the Cricket Ringtone, 17 KHz. Apparently it's ear-pearcing to those who can hear it, but I'm one of the old guys now -- I can't. Her main teaching passage was 1 Samuel 3. I hear this story of Samuel and Elijah used all the time to empower young people, to call them out. But she took a slightly different twist and encouraged us to be empowered, like Elijah was -- not necessarily to be hearing from God all the time, but to shape the lives and minds of our students so they know how to hear from God. Pretty awesome thought. She closed with a great Celtic Prayer:
God, we pray…

Christ’s Cross on this Face

Christ’s Cross on these Ears

Christ’s Cross on these Eyes

Christ’s Cross on these Lips

Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

The highlight of the day was finally hearing Tony Campolo speak [download notes]. He's an incredibly gifted communicator. He spoke for at least 30 minutes with absolutely no notes, following his mental outline, quoting Scripture. It was awesome to hear from a great mind like Tony. There were great quotes throughout his message (including this one that Marko quoted this morning), but the greatest thought is this: we could build any youth group we wanted to, incorporate any worship or Bible study or retreats. But the greatest need of the students of this generation is for us to lead them into a place where they understand how to connect with God, through prayer, through worship. "You’re not gonna get kids to do any of this simply by giving them a pep talk. We need to make our kids into spiritual people because they need to be spiritual to change the world. But we can’t turn our kids into spiritual people if we ourselves are not spiritual."

Off to Day 2...

nywc: charlotte #2

Day 1 is over. It was interesting. I'm still processing, so I'll leave it at that. I'm pretty impressed with the speakers and presenters -- Kenda Creasy-Dean, Tony Campolo and Dan Kimball -- but the music and acts have been just alright.

Good time at Uno's tonight. First was dinner with some YMs from Virginia Baptist churches, a bunch of whom are good friends I don't see too often, and then a late-night dessert run back to Uno's with two United Methodist YMs from Richmond. I had to get my ecumenism in today.

I've got notes from the sessions that I'll get up in the morning, plus thoughts from the day's sessions. Time for sleep before Day 2...but first, a few pictures. Worship with Starfield (left) and Tony Campolo (right).


nywc: charlotte. 1.1

I've really been missing out on the downtown life. There's something about the energy in the city that sucks me in. It's great!

Welcome to Charlotte, home of this year's 4th and final NYWC. Hopefully I'll be blogging throughout the weekend--or at least posting recaps after it's all over. And I've got a new camera I'll be playing with, so hopefully I'll get some pictures up too.

I had noticed on Marko's blog last week that Gordon was going to be coming in from Scotland for the NYWC. Well I'm on this strange kick now that I wake up at 7:13 in the morning, no matter what. So I gathered up my laptop, a new book I'm reading and headed down to the lobby. While I'm sitting there a guy walks up and I helped him out with getting connected to the wireless network, and his name was Gordon--only I didn't realize until I looked at Marko's blog after he left that it was THE Gordon. So Gordon, if you're out there reading this, welcome to the Southeast! It's good to have the whole world represented in the conversations this weekend.

More on Day 1 later...