Saturday, November 17, 2007

NYWC Atlanta - Day 2 - In Review (Continued)

When Jenn was done taking the show floor by storm, we were able to grab some relatively close seats for the opening General Session.

Marquis Laughlin and Joe Castillo are both amazing, and I have decided that from a distance I like the music of Flatfoot 56. Because we needed to gain some distance to enjoy them, we sort of lost of our seats to listen to Andy Stanley and Jenn and I ended up sitting together at the tables near the exhibit hall to just relax until the general session ended and our afternoon seminars began.

Unbeknownst to us, Gavin busted us skipping the speaker. I found this in his Flikr set this morning.

I went to a session called 'The Expectations that Killed the Youth Worker' by Marko & Mark Riddle.

There was a large segment of the session on conflict resolution, and developing realistic expectations for the Youth workers role in the church. Along with some great stories by both Marks... The most striking moment of the seminar though, was probably this...

Marko had everyone in the room who was a PAID Youth worker stand up. Due to the nature of the seminar ( let's face it, if you're a volunteer and you don't like the expectations the church is putting on you, you go somewhere else ) most of the people in the room stood up... 80 percent or so I would guess...

THEN he asked everyone who as standing this... "If your church stopped paying you to do youth ministry and you would CONTINUE to go to that church, stay standing"

Marko seemed optimistic about the number of people who didn't sit down... but WOW, a lot of people sat down...

I really feel for all of the people who sat down because I have SO been where they are... Going to a church only because you get paid to do youth ministry there is a hard place to be in... Honestly, it just sucks both for the Youth worker and for the church, and the kids in the youth ministry. It ends up with people getting hurt. I so wish I had been able to hear this seminar three years ago.

I am so blessed to be part of an awesome church where I can honestly say I would continue to attend and get plugged in even if they asked me to step away from the Youth there. It would be hard, don't get me wrong... but I honestly believe that Jenn and I have found our home at RVCC... I've told Steve a couple of times that the only way to get rid of us at this point is to straight up tell us to not come back, because outside of that RVCC is stuck with us.


We felt like we really didn't have time to go to dinner because Jenn really wanted good seats to see Third Day at the general session. So after our afternoon seminars Jenn and I scoped out two more rows of the exhibit hall floor and then went to get near the front of the line for the gates to open and and the seat claiming to begin.

Joe Castillo is just amazing. I'm hoping that Jenn and I can stop by his booth today to get a caricature drawn and buy a couple of his DVD's.

Third Day is great. Jenn loves Mac Powell so while I kept and eye on the seats ( which were a safe distance from the stage ) she went and took up a spot near the front from whence she got some amazing photos. Here's one... We'll have to upload a flickr set of all of our photos from the show later...

The speaker at the general session was Shane Claiborne. He game up on stage, made very brief small talk, breathed fire, did a back flip, put out his torch with his mouth and then prepped the crowd by saying "I'm not going to share the greatest sermon ever given".

He then read the Sermon on the Mount. The whole thing.

I wasn't sitting where I could see Shane right on, but getting to watch his face on the screens while he read was an awesome experience in and of itself... He wasn't just reading. He loved it! He was excited, enthusiastic, he grinned at Jesus' sarcasm, spat out Jesus warnings, preached Jesus' sermon with passion.

When he finished reading ( it took 10 or 15 minutes ) he took a deep breath... paused for a minute, and said "I've just shared the greatest sermon ever given, may God grant us the courage to put it into practice"

And he stepped down off the stage!

Just getting to watch his face and listen to the excitement in his voice while he read gave me chills, but add to that the obvious discomfort in the room while everyone sat in shocked silence, not really sure what to say, or how to react was freaking amazing! I was SO pumped!

Tic came up afterwards to pray and close the session and it was such a relief to hear him say out loud what it was obvious the majority of the room was thinking... "As I sat there listening to him read, I caught myself thinking... Is this all he's going to do?"

The other awesome thing about Shane's choice of message is how uncomfortable it seemed to make the crowd... There is deep truth there! Truth that every single one of us fail to live up to, and choose to ignore ( or only believe selectively ) as we live out our faith in the day to day...

I know we've all heard the sermon on the mount before, and we've all heard bits and pieces of it picked apart and analyzed... but that's the first time in my life I've ever just heard it "preached".

It was awesome!

After the general session Marty, Alan, Jenn and I had a later dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.

By the time we were done eating the lack of sleep, and all the day's acitivity just caught up with me and I mentally shut down...

Fell into bed exhausted at 12:30 this morning.

1 comment:

gavin richardson said...

eli, i think that is a great framework to understand what shane did. it was tough to hear to sit through and yet, it was meaningful and the first time i had ever heard the whole sermon. no processing, no sectioning off.. a friend of mine got a seat the session for her 19 yr old daughter as her birthday present (which was yesterday, and seeing shane was something she asked for and drove from knoxville to see/hear/experience). i thought of her after the session, did she feel cheated that he didn't speak? i caught up with her today and asked, "what'd you think?" her face lit up "awesome!" "how bold of someone to share like that!" nice discourse ensued after that.

to comment on the paid thing. i would continue to go to my church. however, i am conflicted as i pass by a fellow united methodist church (my denom) at least two or three times daily, it's two or three blocks from my house & i feel as though it'd be a shame to not develop a relationship with that church.