Friday, November 21, 2014

NYWC Day 1 Recap

NYWC Day 1 was awesome! It was fast paced but fun. The grand opening of the exhibit area was CRAZY! Here are a few thoughts I had from day 1.

My First Two Years in Youth Ministry Workshop
by Katie Edwards and the "host" Josh Griffin

First thing I learned? Don't take a class with Josh Griffin if he happens to have an idea of who you are. Suffice it to say I am now "The Kevin Patterson". Good times!

Mind you I am far removed from my first two years in youth ministry but it's always good to brush up on the fundamentals. One thought provoking thing that stood out to me, and it is something I've heard before but it is always a good reminder is that "Balance is a myth". You will never be able to balance youth ministry, social life, college, being a husband/wife, and parent. Don't attempt to find a balance because you will always come up frustrated. Instead, in what ever rhythm your in and that time whether it be spouse, parent, or youth minister; be fully involved. When you in your youth ministry role, be 100% involved in being a youth minister. If your with your kids, be 100% a parent. Give your full attention to whatever task you have in front of you.

Another learning is, for the first few minutes you are in your office, go 'screen free'. Do not open your computer, phone, or tablet. Just be in that moment with God. Spend that time in prayer and bible study.

Another great idea that I'm stealing is at the beginning of your youth ministry cycle, for me that is fall (we try to follow the school year); bring out 10 basic ideas that parents can do with their students. One idea they shared was something like Dad's take your sons out golfing (or insert popular activity; our area would be fishing/hunting) and talk about creation, Mom's take your daughter shopping and discuss image and how God sees us as masterpieces.

Big Room 1
Mark Matlock

Awesome teaching by Mark Matlock! 5 Reasons the church NEEDS youth ministry. You can find a lot of that teaching on YS's website here. One thing that really hit home that Mark said was this "Youth ministry reminds the church that teens are not marginalized members of the body, but are co-creators and conspirators in the divine work of the church, restoring life on earth as it is in heaven."

What Mark means by this is that youth are not the "church of tomorrow", they are the church of today. Usually when you hear the phrase church of tomorrow it's from a very well meaning senior adult in the church and their heart is in the right place even if the statement is misguided. If a youth is a baptized member of the church then they have just as much right to be involved in the divine work of the church. They have the right to create, lead, worship, serve, and lead along side any church adult.

While youth are at a very vulnerable place in their lives, they are figuring things out, learning, and questioning; the fact of the matter is age has no place in heaven and it shouldn't on earth. The only age in heaven is 'saved'. Church messages and main programming should include an element that addresses teenagers. Sermons should not just be about work and career, it should include topics such as school and dating; in the main church worship.

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening

Very interesting thing, how small of a world our youth ministry world is. While traversing the exhibit hall I ran into people who I expected to see; Joe Ball and Scott Bidwell and the Staff from Crossings, Ben Trueblood from Lifeway Students, Jeff Thompson and the gang at Group Missions, Griff and Doug Fields and the gang from DYM, the staff from 30 Hour Famine/Childhood lost, the staff at Ricebowls, The staff from Student Life, the great staff over at Fund the Nations, and I got to meet some great people from Liberty University (my wife's alma matter) and Grand Canyon University (where I currently attend). 

But the cool thing, I bumped into Zach a fellow youth minister from the Paducah KY area. Small world! 

Another cool thing, tons of freebies! I will be doing a lot of reviews over some great products and services that I've been talking to down here! So stay tuned for that!

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