By YS on October 03 2013
What an unbelievable opportunity, to participate and serve at NYWC 2013. I long to be totally present in the next few days as I serve, listen, learn and reflect. So, here is my pre-convention pep-talk, 3 pieces of advice that I’m praying through as I prepare my heart for the weekend ahead.
Maybe you don’t have this problem, but when I’m around “my tribe” (youth workers) my pride and ego can flare up. It can be insidious and I need God’s grace.
It comes out by talking about all the stuff that I know or have done. Sure, God has graciously provided me with experience (I’m old) and access to gifted leaders (I’m blessed), but if I’m spending all of my time thinking and talking about me, I’ll miss key opportunities to learn and encourage. My heart’s desire is to truly “esteem others as better than myself”.
By God’s grace I want to spend the next 3 days asking questions, learning from younger men and women who are seeing ministry through fresh eyes, and encouraging anyone who crosses my path.
There’s no doubt many that conference attendees have deep pain, tough questions and a sense of hopelessness. May this weekend be a place where we carry each other’s burdens rather than compare each other’s successes.
As I listen to colleagues and am challenged in my personal life and ministry, it’s important to find space to reflect. With so much going on and the circus that NYWC can be, it’s easy to board your plane on Sunday feeling like you’ve just taken a sip from the fire hydrant.
Most people process differently. Maybe "time to reflect" means seeking solitude. Maybe it means being intentional with your team, or perhaps it means grabbing some time with a close friend to share what you’ve been hiding in your own heart for years. There’s no better time than now to reflect, share and maybe even confess.
Whatever God has for us, whether it be personal or professional, let’s make time and space to reflect, write and share.
Ok, this goes without saying, but I want to take the pressure off. Of course, your church administrator knows how much money you’re spending to go on this trip. There are unbelievable seminars and opportunities for you to receive great instruction and insight on how to be more effective in ministry. You might need to be prepared to share 3 new ideas you learned. (see number 2) But sometimes we learn better in circles than rows; I learn more significantly if I’m enjoying myself.
So, go to a lot of seminars and every main session; but stay up a little later than you normally would and sleep in a little later than you normally do. Or get up a little earlier than you usually would and go for a run by the bay. Connect with old friends and make new ones. Laugh a lot. You won't regret it.
I know you will, but I’m going to say it anyway.... HAVE FUN!
Again, we are unbelievably blessed to attend such a great event where we get to be around people who do what we do and actually understand our day-t-day. Don’t waste your convention! Listen, reflect and have a blast in the process.
See you there!
David Grant is a 25 year veteran of youth ministry and has served in churches in the southeast and with the National Network of Youth Ministries (@NNYM) as the Southeast U.S. coordinator. Currently, he is the next gen ministries pastor at Irving Bible Church in the Dallas area. David has been married to Julie for 24 years and they have four children. You can read more of David's writing at http://david-inrepair.blogspot.com/ or check out his involvement at NYWC here.