Wow, what a crazy past few weeks. I have been all over the place, from Camp Shamineau in northern Minnesota, to San Diego California! Wanted to write a few things to help clear my head and to evaluate the YS convention this year.
First things first...great junior high retreat at Shamineau. What made it great had nothing to do with the weekend program, because frankly, it sucked (in terms of a worship/teaching standpoint). But what made it great was the small-group discussions that our junior high boys had (wasn't privy to much of what the girls said, but heard it was good as well). They're smart buggers, I'll give them that :) When there were questions about doctrine or theological correctness, the kids were right on with what they said...surprising, I know! It was great to see that they had a fairly strong foundation laid. Somebody is doing their job right. Most of the small group time was productive and challenging, and the leaders/myself pushed the guys to think a little outside the box on some issues, specifically regarding their own desire for material advancement, IE, give me an iPod or I'll scream!!! We got the kids to admit that they are part of the problem, though they wanted to point the finger and blame their parents for just "giving them" everything...ha ha. Jr-high is amusing.
The National Youth Workers Convention was fantastic this year. Being in San Diego was of course, amazing, though it was hard to be in the midst of a natural disaster and feel so powerless to do anything to help...2 of the youth ministry teams that were down for the conference from northern California had their churches burn down in a matter of minutes. I can't imagine having our pastor call and tell us that the church burned down while we were having a good time at a convention. Definitely puts a dampner on things. Though, I think sometimes that it would be good for our church to burn down so people would start being the church instead of sitting in a building playing church. That's another topic all-together, and I'm sure someone will misquote me on it, ha.
While the seminars and activities were good at YS, the continual theme of the weekend was, "what's the condition of your heart?" Saturday specifically was a day designed for this by God...it was so evident that there is some pride in youth ministry circles and He desires loving, pure hearts.
All in all, a fantastic weekend of renewal and reflection. Oh, and a little fun too :)