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…