Monday, November 19

Youth Specialties Atlanta is over

What a fantastic weekend. As much as I'm looking forward to going home (and I am), I'm also sad that it is over. The convention really is one of the highlights of my year. It lived up to my expectations, and I already can't wait until next year.

This morning was good. I went to a seminar called "From the Youth Room to the Dorm Room" first thing this morning. It had good information, but it really was targeted at people who work with high school students. The speaker is a college instructor, and her main purpose was to talk about what issues students will face in college and what youth pastors and youth leaders can do to help prepare them for that in advance. The unfortunate thing for me is that she operated on the assumption that her listeners only worked with high school students, to the point that she said "I realize that working with students once they are in college isn't your job." Well, for me, the opposite is true. There is very little that I can do before students go to college, but it is my job to work with them once they are there. The most valuable part of the presentation to me was the fact that it confirmed a lot of what I have been saying for several years. The biggest problem in preparing students for life at college is that we typically teach them what to think, not how to think. One of the underlying principles I have had for Quest since the beginning is that I want people to learn how to think.

The final session was excellent. Lost and Found and the Skit Guys were both back, and they were both good. The Skit Guys had more fun with the Sign Language interpreters again. It was a lot of fun. Marko was the speaker, like he always is. He looked at what youth ministry was in the past, what it is now, and what the preferred future might look like. He reminded us that we need to be contextually relevant to our students. In a third-world country, a horse and buggy looks appropriate because it looks like it belongs. In the U.S., if we see a horse and buggy driving down a paved road holding up traffic, it really sticks out because it is apparent that it doesn't belong. We need to make sure that our ministries look they belong, otherwise students will dismiss them as irrelevant.

Now, all that's left is to head back home and to process the weekend as a whole.

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