NYWC San Diego Recap
Over the weekend, youth workers rallied together for NYWC San Diego to gather new ideas, be encouraged, and challenge youth ministry’s status quo. There was a lot that we could celebrate, but here are 4 of my favorite moments.
YS EXPLORES: Faith, Science, and Adolescence
In the YS Explores session on faith, science, and adolescence, a series of presenters unpacked what they believe are the most important aspects of any conversation about faith and science with our students. The one-on-one conversations that came out of the session were incredible. I had the chance to engage with several youth workers who believe very differently than I do. We sit at opposite ends of the theological spectrum but we talked from our experiences, shared our own personal struggles, and more importantly, we chose to graciously listen to each other. In the end, I was reminded that we all have a point of view about creation, science, and faith. But God doesn’t have a point of view, he has view. Our students may not align themselves with our own point of view. But we can trust God with the process, teaching them that their primary response to all the wonders in the natural world should be to praise the one who created them.
YS EXPLORES: Youth Ministry in a Multicultural World
As a part of the YS Explores session on youth ministry in a multicultural world, we walked through some statistics to help us all better understand just how culturally homogeneous the majority of congregations are in the US. We listened to personal stories from each speaker about the moments when their eyes were opened to systemic racial issues throughout our country and within the walls of our churches. Trey Grant focused us toward the conversations we can have with our students and how they are ready to lead a movement of change if we provide them the support that they need. Latasha Morrison declared that truth is the prelude to justice and justice is the drum major for reconciliation. James White recognized the heaviness in the room, and yet, at the same time the great amount of hope we have because of what the resurrection of Christ demonstrates to us about the kingdom of God.
Bob Goff’s Smile
Saturday night, Bob Goff filled the room with his laughter. There are too many stories of youth workers who are limping along because of a shame, disappointment, worry, and regret. That weight will break your spirit. But Bob, in his joyous way, removed it by reminding us all that God has called us beloved. Even at our worst, Jesus whispers “beloved” and we can find rest in his grace. The name “beloved” holds a lot of power. When we believe that we are God’s beloved, it changes us and we start to live in a way that reflects it. But it changes the way that we view other people too. Bob boldly reminded us that Jesus’ command to love our neighbor isn’t a metaphor. If we’re going to love others wastefully and without hesitation, it begins by understanding that we all share the same name: beloved.
The #NYWC15 Conversations on Social Media
Outside of everything happening offline at NYWC, there were some great moments happening online through the #NYWC15 hashtag on Twitter and Instagram:
JACOB ECKEBERGER is the Content and Community Manager at Youth Specialties, an itinerant worship leader, the spouse of a church planter, and a long time volunteer youth worker. You can find him blogging about social media and digital strategy ideas at JACOBECKEBERGER.COM.
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.