Friday, March 25, 2011


I missed this year's Simply Youth Ministry Conference.  I missed the training... I missed the challenge... I missed connecting with youth workers that are friends from around the country and meeting new youth workers... I missed being part of the conversation.

Yesterday, I got some of what I missed...
And more!

Yesterday, Cincinnati Christian University hosted it's 5th Youth Ministry Summit on campus of CCU.  They invited Doug Fields to speak and speak he did.

But definitely... without a shadow of doubt (and seeing Doug... who has been a friend for a while... and Chris Reed were both incredible), hands-down, the best part was hanging out with my team.

I was privileged to take four members of my team down for the training... my lovely wife, Diana, Julie and Katie.    It was an amazing day for a couple of reasons...

First: conversations.  The teaching provided by Doug, CCU and other speakers created conversations.  Conversations about ministry, vision and direction.  Conversations about students.  Conversations about what could be, might be and what we would like to see be.  Doug and the gang gave us something to chew on together.  It's one thing to read a book and discuss ideas with someone who hasn't read the book... it's an entirely different thing to read it together and have conversations about it together.  Yesterday we had a chance to have conversations sharing a common vocabulary.

Second: relationships.  My wife is prone to say... especially before long youth ministry trips... "There is something magical that happens when people get in a van together and ride."  She's absolutely right (and smart... and cute... and great... and... (you get the picture)).  There is something magical that happens when people ride in the van together, eat lunch and dinner together and spend time together.  That something is a deepening of relationships.

Third: training.  Doug and the gang reminded us of some things that we needed to be reminded of.  They didn't blow us away with deep theological principles that will need to be mauled over for the next six months and then implemented.  They reminded us of what we needed to be reminded of: the importance of youth ministry and what we're doing.  It's great when I get reminded of those things.  But it's incredible when others are reminded of those things.  Yesterday, not only was I reminded, but members of my team were reminded too.

Fourth: dreaming.  Maybe the best part of the day for me: listening to my team discuss, bounce ideas and dream together on the way home.  I don't remember where I heard this fact... I don't even know if it is a fact... but I remember hearing once that John F. Kennedy, former President of this great nation, would call meetings of his cabinet and advisers, throw out a topic, problem or issue and then sit back, listen, and soak in what was said.  I've heard that often he wouldn't say a word the entire time just listening to his team talk, argue and dream.  As I drove the van home from Cincinnati last night, I just listened to my team talk.  I didn't say a word... I didn't enter the fray... I just listened and took mental notes (because I was driving and couldn't write things down).  It was great to listen to a caring, driven group of people talk about something that they deeply care about: our students. 

All in all... yesterday was beyond my expectations.  Conversations, training, relationships and dreaming.  It was a good day! I can't wait for another opportunity to go to a training day with my team!!  I'm so glad that we had a chance to talk it all in!


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