2009 YS NYWC – Part Five

My week here at the National Youth Workers Convention in Cincinnati, OH. It has been a fantastic week of youth ministry. For me, the week has been a lot of work; setting up projectors, fixing stubborn computers, serving the presenters, and being a blessing (I hope) to the YS staff. There have been some long and busy days, but it was all worth it.

Let me share some of my highlights. This week I met Mark Matlock, wisdom guru. Mark is the guy behind, Planet Wisdom. He is a super cool guy with a huge heart for students and leaders. I spend a considerable amount of time talking with him about ministry stuff and Open Space.

I got to chat with Duffy Robbins again. However, I also met his wife, Maggie. She is really sweet.

Apparently Walt Mueller and I have a ton of things in common including the RE Church, Four Brooks and St. Mark’s. But that’s not all. There’s Somerset, Summer’s Best Two Weeks, the CCO, and a bunch of people we are friends with. Let me just say, it’s a REALLY small world. (Walt, look me up next time you are in town.)

I was hoping to meet and talk with Doug Fields. But that wasn’t to be. I did however sit about five feet from him in the speaker’s lounge. I know, I know; he’s just another guy. BUT HE’S DOUG FIELDS!!

Of course I got to work with Shelly and Kelley from YS. The are amazing ladies. I hope to work with them again in Nashville in 2010.

There were many other presenters I met throughout the week. And that was fun.

But I guess the biggest highlight comes from knowing that YS is YS. Despite the lose of Tic and Marko, along with a bunch of the YS staff (it has not yet been mentioned because Tic and Marko were in the spot light so much, but some great people lost their jobs as well and we should be thinking and praying for them) the convention was great

And while there might be some speculation as to the future of Youth Specialties, there’s no doubt in mind that the staff of YS is going to do all they can to love, resource, and encourage youth workers everywhere.

Youth Specialties is up for sale. A non-profit organization has been in talks with Zondervan and Youth Specialties for the buy-out of YS. If a deal goes through, there will most likely be more changes to the company and the convention that so many have come to love. So here’s what I think.

My God is big. Very big. And long before Mike Yaconelli ever thought about resourcing youth pastors, God knew this day would come. He has a plan for Youth Specialties, NYWC, and the staff and events that YS sponsors. Let’s trust that His plan is perfect and that good will come.

For those of you planning on attending NYWC in Atlanta, let me encourage you with this: soak it all up. Be open to the changes. Be patient with the staff while to deal with transition. Remember what was, but also remember that the future always includes change. Participate in Open Space and share your thoughts and ideas, your wisdom and your experience. Then, find Mark, or Adam, or Ian, or Shelly, or Dave, or Kelley, or Jay, or Holli, or Amy, or Bethany, or Tash, or Brittany, or Kalyn and thank them for all they do for youth workers like us!

– jay

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