We got spirit, yes we do

For those who went to NYWC St Louis last week, here’s some reminiscings for you.  As you may remember, there was a cheerleading competition happening in the hall next to us.  In honor of the event, Tic and Marko showed what real spirit looks like.

NYWC St Louis Wrap Up and Image Show Off

Well, we’re back. In all honesty, we’ve been back for several days now. We arrived back in the great state of NJ Monday night. I’ve just been running around hither and thither and had no time to blog. Actually I have a pretty good story from yesterday about our wee excursion to New York City, trekking across the length of three boroughs and a fine evening of dining in Chinatown, but perhaps I shall save that for another entry.

Group shotThis is about the convention. It was amazing. I’ve been stressed about a great many things. Some of which I have spoken of here, others I have not for the reason that there are some that read my words and it would cause more problems than it’s worth. (Censorship, even if not direct, is great, isn’t it?) Anywho, life was crazy. I started vacation at 3:30pm on October 26 and it has been amazing ever since. Life is good. Quite good.

We left for the convention on Halloween night (happy birthday to Sarah). I have already spoken of the beginning adventures of the trip in recent posts, but due to crappy or overpriced Internet connections was unable to continue the blogs.

The entire experience was great. I took many informative and/or challenging seminars, including:

1. God’s Word on Center Stage: Leading a Biblically Centered Youth Ministry – Our Critical Concern. 8 hour course. Lots of good ideas on how to keep the ministry focuses and even how to plan teachings and flesh out ideas. I will use some of them this week as I prepare to speak on Sunday.

2. Deep Justice in a Broken World with Chap Clark – Really good. Had an “ouch moment” in the beginning as Chap ripped apart traditional concepts of service and what is important in the Christian life and approached the issue from a different angle. I think he’s on to something though.

3. Theological Tools… with Tony Jones – Dude is mad smart and incredibly deep. Some things I agreed with. Others I think he might be a bit off on. It all comes down to interpretation. Very challenging though. I enjoyed it.

4. Caring for God’s Creation: How to Involve Ministry in Environmental Stewardship with Peter Illyn – Not too impressed with this one… not because it was bad, but because it was nothing I haven’t heard before. I did get a free “I love God’s Creation” sticker though. Rock on!

5. Developing a Strong Volunteer Team with Doug Fields – Doug is the man. He has a whole lot of youth ministry experience and knows what he’s talking about, mostly because (as he says) he has made so many mistakes in the past. You should listen to his podcast.

As suggested, I skipped two seminars. One, I slept through. 🙂 The other I went to the prayer chapel to, well, pray. It was great. Quiet. Refreshing. Awesome.

I'm a fireThe General Sessions are always my favorite. Lots of great speakers – Duffy Robbins, Chris Hill, Lynne Hybels, Doug Fields, Greg Stier, Ralph Winter, and Marko. I must say that I think Marko was the best this year. He nailed it on the head. Great ideas about Youth Ministry 3.0. Gonna have to order that one on mp3. Crowder was fun as always. I heard Matt Maher and Jeff Johnson for the first time leading worship. I liked Matt Maher. Jeff Johnson not so much. Just not my style. I think Starfield stole the show, if that is possible, with worship. They were awesome. Jars of Clay, Flatfoot 56, Family Force 5, Ayiesha Woods, and Lost and Found provided musical entertainment. I was most into Jars and Ayiesha. Skit Guys were hilarious as always. Ted and Company were there for other skit performances. Somehow it was weird since Lee wasn’t there since he died. It wasn’t the same chemistry Ted and Lee had. Ah well.

The Skit GuysLate night was great. The best was the comedy show. Gut-busting hilarity. Then again, the Skit Guys, I think, were even better. Improv and ad lib all over the place, and it was all pure comedic gold. Laughter is awesome.

Then there was the community. It was great to be around so many other insane people. Felt like home. Met Mike Kupferer finally. I follow him on Twitter and we are friends on Facebook. Got to talk to Marko for all of 5 seconds, but it was still cool. Met some people who incessantly mocked NJ. They’re lucky the airport took our shanks, else we might have had a rumble. 🙂

Anyway, this is quite excessively long. I shall end it here. I could go on, but it would just be more and more ramblings of how much I enjoyed myself. Our group looks forward to the Pittsburgh convention next year.

I have uploaded several to many graphical images of the convention to Flickr. Be sure to view them and comment and do other such social networking things.

Until next time, peace be with you.

Group shot.

A good day

I’ve been non-existant for awhile, haven’t I? It’s been quite busy and hectic around here. Work is frustrating and I am in desperate need of a vacation. I’m taking off two weeks starting October 27. Right in the middle of that a group of 9 of us are heading to St Louis, Missouri for the National Youth Worker’s Convention. I love going to this conference. It’s an annual highlight to my schedule for the past several years. First off, it’s a great experience to challenge and give ideas in the area of youth ministry. And it has a way of recharging the batteries… something about getting together with several thousand other mentally deranged youth workers (for you need to have a few screws loose to fully embrace youth ministry) and having some of the greatest speakers around today pour into you and tell you that you’re doing a good job (something that doesn’t happen all too often). Secondly, it’s just one of the most fun experiences you can have. They have tons and tons of great bands that perform around the clock. Magicians. Comedians. Games. Giveaways. Everything. Thirdly, it is sooooo completely relaxing. They encourage you to just take a break and chill and unwind while there. They even go as far as “giving you permission” to play hookie from the entire conference and just go out and have fun for the week instead if that’s what you need. Naps are encouraged… you’ll see youth workers randomly strewn about on chairs and the floor sleeping at random or just relaxing. So great. This, coupled with the fact that I have off the two weeks around it means that Billy will finally get the rest his body has been craving the past few months.

And even though I am off for two weeks straight there came a time last week when I just couldn’t take the stress and frustration of my schedule, and I had to take a day off on Monday. I took a “wellness day,” as it is called at work, and went to the eye doctor to get my eyes examined so that I could have some fresh contacts for the convention. My optometrist is about a half hour from my house, and it was weird, but even though I drive every day for work, there was something freeing and liberating about the drive to the doctor. I don’t really know what I’m trying to explain. I guess it was just that I was driving on my own schedule to do things I wanted to do… I wasn’t on anyone else’s clock. It reminded me how how much I like to just go out and drive. To just head out and let the road lead you where it may. Driving wasn’t work this day. It was fun. I don’t know, maybe I’m making no sense, but I get what I mean…. Anyway, I find out that my prescription is actually getting a wee bit better as compared to last year. I guess that’s a good thing. It has been stable for the past five years or so, and now it is moving towards zero. We’ll see what will become of this. Dr Schultz and I shared random banter and chit chat about things Macintosh, things photographic, things reminiscant (I used to work with Dr Schultz before I was a patient in his office), and other such random things. In the midst of conversation, Dr Schultz spoke of about dilation. I said that I had never had it done, and so he said that I was going to get it this day as a result. He said that after he put the drops in I would look like I was high on crack, and so I did.


Stylin'Afterward I headed home in my new stylish dark glasses. I have to say the dilation experience was rather odd. The light sensitivity is not too bad, unless you are in uber-sunlight. The blurriness and distortion is a bit strange. I had contacts on, so I could see distance fine, but everything was blurry up close. So now I know what it will be like to need reading glasses. The dilation did provide a bit of dizziness and disorientation which proved for a uneasy drive home, but the feelings soon subsided and I was fine.

After I got home I got a call from Carlos. He was going to lunch with Castro and invited me to come, and so I did, and we partook of some fine Chinese buffet meal. Good stuff. After that Castro came back to my house and we made plans to film some video that afternoon. I shan’t speak of exactly what we filmed, but it should be edited down and on YouTube within the next few days. And we have ideas for other little things we want to film also in the next few days.

In the evening, after the filming was done, we went to Best Buy because my grandmother wanted a HDTV to replace her decade-old big-screen that had recently ceased to function. We spent a good amount of time in the store, grilling the sales rep on HD and the various televisions and talking optics and discerning the best TV to get for our money that would suit my grandmother. We ended up with a Sony 46″ LCD HDTV. We came home and me and Jimmy set it up and mounted it to the wall and got it all running. Good times.

All in all I’d say that Monday was a good day. It was just what I needed to keep me going until my full vacation at the end of next week. I like good days.

That’s all for now. Peace be with you.