Jacob Eckeberger
November 21st, 2015

We’re so excited to have Stephen Ingram as our National Youth Workers Convention Live Blogger here in Louisville. Take a look at a quick introduction for each of his posts to follow his NYWC experience.

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#NYWC15 Recap: What Happens in Louisville…

At this point the lights have been taken down, the giant bean bags are no longer lounged upon and everyone, speakers to participants, are somewhere else.  What was is now no longer.  The theme this year was Beyond, and I think YS did an incredible job of collectively moving each of us beyond our comfort and into God’s ever forward movement.  I experienced a recognition that what we can grasp can never grasp our God, what we can reason can never fully understand God’s expanse. I heard the humbling yet hopeful message that our God is a God that we can know but only through glimpses, our own and the glimpses of others.

At NYWC15 we were shown the glimpses of others, others we may have not heard before.

Glimpses form scientists and ministers, from LGBT and straight, from minority and majority, from the close and from the other.

If nothing else comes from this incredible time of worship, learning and community I hope that we will each take away that our greatest understanding and our greatest knowledge is but a glimpse.  A holy, courageously flawed and beautifully incomplete glimpse. . . READ MORE

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Relational Youth Ministry in an Age of Networks #NYWC15

Relational youth ministry is thinking about teenagers having relationships with one another and how to have relationships with one another and the whole body of Christ

We are called to live out of an alternative Operating System

We will cover

  1. Meaning of Social Media
  2. Networked Individualism
  3. Koinonia
  4. Relational Practices


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Being Open to “the Other” #NYWC15

Deb Hirsch and Brandon Winstead

Our hearts are profoundly alienated from those who are not like us

We are called to connect with the other

I am a person with a message to bring to the world but first I am called to listen and try to understand the other

Our personal narrative is profoundly important because it has informed our perception of the other.  There is an even deeper scripting that shapes our understanding of the other and that is the fall.  In the fall there was a disconnect between us and God and a disconnect between humanity. . . READ MORE

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Youth Ministry in a Multicultural World #NYWC15

Trey Grant, Kathy Khang, Mark Matlock, Karen McKinney, Latasha Morrison, Ginny Olson, James White

Culture vs Kingdom

White Fragility- When white people realize that their race actually matters and that race is now causing a self realization and causing a defensiveness because for the first time our race is being recognized in a non dominant way.

Dr. Soong Chan Rah

Less than 8% of churches in the US are integrated (80%-20%).

By 2008 1/3 of Americans are of non European descent.

We are experiencing a massive change over into a new multi-cultural reality.

The other half of the decline of christianity in America is that there is a massive amount of growth in the immigrant, Spanish speaking and other minority churches.

Schools are 6x’s more integrated than the local church. . . READ MORE

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The Beauty of the Big Tent #NYWC15

So,yesterday, I posted the live blog of the Faith, Science and Adolescence in Youth Ministry session at #NYWC15.  After sitting with this session there is something I think we need to recognize above and beyond the content of the actual session.  The session had 6-7 speakers talking about and responding to the conversation of faith and science. It was informative, passionate and well done. But more importantly, it modeled what we have to have from the church at large: dialogue, cooperation and respect.

There was no mudslinging, angry rhetoric or soundbite laced diatribes.  It was honest, vulnerable and full of grace. . . READ MORE

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Faith Science and Adolescence and Youth Ministry #NYWC15

Chris Elisara, Deb Haarsma, Dan Kimball, Leah Knight, Mark Matlock, Andrew Root

Deb Haarsma

When you see those very awkward teenagers asking the tough questions they might just end up being a scientist like me.

Over 100 Billion stars in the Milky Way, Psalm 19;1-2 David declaring the glory of God through the beauty of the galaxy.

Does knowing what the stars are and what they do negate this scripture or increase that sense of wonder and awe?

Just witinin a postage stamp section of the sky there are thousands of galaxies.  (if this does not mess you up you might want to check your pulse). . . READ MORE

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Deb and Alan Hirsch Big Room #NYWC15

Scientists are very interested in the phenomenon of how, when piling sand in a sand pile, once it gets to a point it collapses and recalibrate itself.

We are in a very similar place in the church and in the world.

We have to understand that everything is changing and the church must change as well.

The church is depending on the youth culture and youth ministry to get it right for the rest of the church.

The last recalibration of this sort of magnitude was in the reformation 500 years ago

Where do we go to find assistance and plot our way forward? Always go back to Jesus, this is not a throw away answer.

Scripture from John 20:21 “As the Father sent me, so I send you…”

The missional church takes on the responsibility of God’s mission in the world- this is the apostolic understanding. . . READ MORE

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It’s Sort of Like Family #NYWC15

One of the things I love about National Youth Workers Conference is the way it feels like a family reunion.

A Big family reunion.

Within minutes of queuing up to check in, getting your morning coffee or simply walking into the Big Room you see old friends, friends of friends, and even make some new ones. YS is a family not a tribe. I call it a family because a family is a little more complicated a more beautiful than a tribe.  A tribe is a great thing, and there are a lot of tribes here at NYWC that make up this complicated family, this complicated and beautiful family.  This is a family that has a lot of different ideas and opinions, we are blue and red, we are charismatic and liturgical, we are progressive and we are fundamental.  This conference is our thanksgiving table. . . READ MORE

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STEPHEN INGRAM is the Director of Student Ministries at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham, AL, a coach with Youth Ministry Architects, and author of “Hollow Faith and [extra] Ordinary Time.” ORGANICSTUDENTMINISTRY.COM

Jacob Eckeberger

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.