NYWC St Louis Sunday 4 November

Seminar #6: Mentoring:Discipleship with Wisdom in mind.
Mark Matlock.

General Session #7: Starfield, Mark “give me an O!” Oestreicher, Skit Guys

Just like back home, Monday morning kicks in and many of the volunteers have headed home to ‘real jobs’ and real life. For me, this feels like it is real life. The subject matter anyway. Mark Matlock’s session was good, again I really appreciated the amount of content he managed to squeeze into that hour. Some great diagrams and processes in regards to processing knowledge and applying it in such a way that builds not just cognitive wisdom (I know what to do in this situation, but also patterns of wisdom (I think according to wise patterns). Something about neuroscience, biology and adolescent development just turns me on in a way that is really really wrong – I’m meant to be creative and yet I am so energized by understanding how we as youthworkers can help these young minds develop. It really does bring freshness to “Shaping young minds”.

Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life. – Sandra Covey

Talk about a great purpose for being. Also – thinking about these mentoring and integration principles has been really helpful in thinking about how to write my discipleship/small group and leaders training materials for Eastercamp this year. Brilliant.
Mark Matlock is around here and does interesting stuff very soon here.

I think the Skit Guys are genius. They make me laugh so much. One of the really important values that is implicitly communicated through everything YS does, especially at these conventions, is the importance of enjoying yourself, laughing, having a laugh together.. and the value of laughing is just another way of expressing care too. So between Lost and Found, various comedians and the Skit Guys.. there is lots of laughing.

Marko’s closing talk was the subject of his blog here. The responses online were wide and varied, and if you have any remote interest in the subject it’s worth an investment of your time in reading them. Note the language that’s being used, the locations (when mentioned) of the comments. It’s hard to write commentary on it, other than I totally appreciate the proposition that he arrives at when it comes to a future youth ministry “not-driven; present”.

From observation, those moments of benediction, the last ringing of the bell on such a communal gathering of people are very precious. They have weightiness because they are the final filter, the last gasp. In reading people’s responses to various things over the weekend, there have been so many messages. Not all of them are in synergy together and that’s a good thing. It forces people to think for themselves and navigate their way through the ideology. And of course, a good theology (God coversation) is helpful to that, but “being present” is helpful. Being present to God in the locality we are in, his fingerprints and footsteps. Being present with God wherever we are, wherever He is. Being present with yourself and the ministry of God at work in you and through you. Being present will mean being actively engaged in the ministry of questions, not answers. I love that. I love the gooey, toffee-like chewiness of that.

And that was NYWC St Louis 2007.

Ok a few last comments on things I will take away..

On being physically connected and engaged in singing-worship:
One of the consistencies with nearly all of the worship leaders was the use of physical expression in simple ways. Clapping, dancing, cheering all played in large part in many sessions. The crowd was willing and easily engaged. In addition to the sense of individual movement and energy, there was a connectedness through holding one another’s hands and group activity. This is just not really part of our corporate expressions.. the physical connectedness within a group & dancing forms being the least common. It’s something to think about as I go home, especially when so much use of the word “dance” is connected with the phrase “with joy” in scripture. Hence one could draw a reverse conclusion that dancing goes hand in hand with joy, where there is an absence of dancing/physical expression there is perhaps less present “joy”. This would be backed up by the theory that the body emits 30amps of energy just being present in a room. Express and elevate that energy, you’ll elevate the endorphins present in the body’s system and by default, the room.

The relationship of actual physical energy to interpretation of environment is something that would be interesting to study in light of the hype-worship-expression continuum. So if anyone knows of anything helpful in this area.. speak up.

On meeting new people:
I love youthworkers, because most of the time they are keen to meet new people, either to show off their world or escape into yours for the time being. It makes it really easy to meet people when you are all alone, needing people to float with. Of course, the previous statement is a gross generalisation. Lance, Brad and Jeff from Heartland Vineyard were lots of fun, with some decent conversation thrown in there as well. I really like people from Iowa. Every second and third person I’ve met this trip has been from Iowa. Strange.

On the Exhibit Hall:
There is a loving and a loathing within me. Partly I love the proliferation of resource to aid youth workers in what they do. If I was going to employ a youth worker, I would want them to spend at least 80% of their time doing what they love and what they’re good at. So those that write great curriculums, great material should write and publish, so that others can concentrate on different stuff. But there is a tshirt, bumper sticker, mission project resource tool for just about everything. Books. I like books. Hmm. It’s a strange continuum of service and supply. How about an exhibit hall that was just an exhibition of youth ministry. Imagine donating your youth group to YS for a weekend and letting people experiment. Experiment with discussion formats, ministry styles.. and then let the kids feedback to you. “this helped me understand… this was useless..” Ha. That would be a cool exhibit.

On the General Sessions Room:
The format of the room was interesting to observe and experience. Almost in the round but with a twist. Two halves of the floor seated audience were facing each other across a small space, with a satellite stage in the middle used for speakers and anything two people or less (including Marko & Tic’s cheerleader special).

brief pause for YouTube clip.

Right. So, apart from the echo splash when sitting sideways, it created a nice dynamic to have multiple screens in multiple directions to look at. The widescreen scrim with moving middle section was a really great touch and provided interesting visual stimulai. It was frustrating that the line array was so low and crossed the sightlines from just about everywhere. I’m envious of the media production software, and I loved the use of creative in the songwords for Starfield. Very choice. The grandstands in the back left and right corner felt removed from where I was situated on the floor most sessions, but to be fair, I didn’t go up to have a proper look or feel for it. Certainly it was great to have multiple presenters working from multiple stages and made the transitions nice and smooth. Still n

ot convinced on whether or not the kids could maintain a sense of focus if we did it similarly at Easter, but it’s worth observing. It made everything more intimate, but even with more people our general set up is more intimate anyway… pros and cons.

What do you think?