Back to the point of this blog: Saturday at Open Seattle was a wonderfully rich time. The Youth Cartel is an extremely unusual company - a company that I really love because they are all about empowering youth workers and finding unheard voices -seeing their potential, and giving them a platform to speak. This makes The Cartel an extremely innovative and experimental decentralized organization. Love!
But I went there initially to meet with some folks about the Amazing Next Conference. It's a 24 hour conference for high school students and youth groups that was birthed out of a longing to empower Christian students to thoughtfully head into college and thrive and flourish into adulthood. There have been churches around the country who want to bring it to their area, and so I was trying to lay some of the foundation for it to happen in the northwest. If you're interested in talking with me about your region, just email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I met some amazing people who are thinking "change thoughts" and doing in the trenches transformational youth work. The Open is a regional event and they are all over the country led by "on the ground" youth workers who are actually making massive impact in the very difficult terrain called, youth culture.
I had the privilege to speak at the opening of the event and I tried to just flat out encourage these heroes. Not very many people spend regular time with young people, investing their lives = joining God in lifting their heads, making them aware of God, who they really are, and how they can make a difference in the world. So I just wanted to affirm these amazing people. But then later they threw me back up there to talk about my book, Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World. But listening to the other presenters really challenged, inspired, and provoked me to rethink... everything. Some of the highlights for me was hearing Mike Langford (SPU professor) blow up the one-earred mickey mouse idea), hanging out with Lars Rood, Jim Hancock, and Adam McLane and other incredible youth workers (too many to mention), and getting to know the influential catholic youth worker, Tony Vasinda. Ultimately what I'd say about these events is: go! If you are a parent, a youth worker, a studier of culture, or anyone who cares about what's happening in the daily lives of the adolescent. Go!