Well it has been a few days since I have posted on here and it is partly due to me being at the Canadian Youth Workers Convention in Toronto for the past 4 days. Rob and I decided to attend it this year and learn from amazing youth guys like Walt Mueller, Sid Koop, Tic Long, and others. Now I am sitting in the Toronto airport waiting for my flight back home to the warm, beautiful west coast! Few observations about Toronto: 1. It is ridiculously cold. 2. Drivers suck here. 3. The coffee is terrible.
The conference was an amazing time of learning for me. All day Thursday we got to hang out with Walt Mueller, who in my opinion, is an expert in understanding youth culture and media. We looked at music videos, songs, and other media that our teens are totally immersed in today and learned how to engage and process what we saw and how we could look into youth culture, stir it up, see what our teens are marinating in, and give them truth from God's word about what they see. So to put in a few words, Thursday was awesome.
Friday the actual conference began and I was stoked with the amount of SWAG we got. For those who aren't familiar with that term, SWAG means Stuff We All Get. Basically, free things they give you for being there. We got book bags, books, magazines, pens, and all sorts of other stuff to make us "better youth pastors". There was worship times, general session teaching, and then specific break out seminars which focused in on different topics. I went to seminars on how to reach teens in the digital age, the importance of parents in youth ministry, the use of the Word and how everything we do in youth ministry needs to be Bible-based, and finally a seminar this morning about Sex, Christ, and Culture. All of it was so interesting and gave me great ideas of things I want try in youth ministry, things I am doing wrong, and things that maybe I am doing right.
Overall this has been an awesome conference. Well worth it. It has given me a kick in the butt to try new things in youth ministry, take chances, and to not be afraid to fail. The speaker in the very last session this morning told us that one of the things that holds us back in youth ministry is that fear of failure. But we need to expect to fail and be excited when we fail because we can't accomplish anything if we stay inside our comfortable box of doing regular old "youth group".