Had a great time at Ichthus Music Festival this weekend! I spent most of my time in the Youth Worker Tent (Ground Zero) making new friends, telling stories, giving gifts ($200,000 in scholarships!), and helping throw a party. I am very tired, but since this hits on my core values it was very rewarding as well. Some highlights:
– I got to meet some incredible people! I’m going to name drop in a moment, but before I get to that stuff, let me just say that by far the greatest people I met were the youth workers who came in the tent to catch their breath. I love meeting youth workers and love spending time with them because they love Jesus and love teenagers. It never ceases to bring me joy spending time with this group. Just awesome people with awesome hearts who encourage me so much with their ministries to teens. I saw Jesus in them this week.
– I got to tell some stories. Specifically I lead devotions Thursday and Friday morning with youth workers (Saturday was schedule but thunderstormed out) and I focused on the parable of the Prodigal and Perfectionist sons from Luke 15. I’ll probably post more on this later as God has had me here for most of the year.
– I got to hear some stories. Dan Lewis did a great job with our youth worker training times. His notes are available at his website, including the rained out Saturday morning session.
– I was able to facilitate some great discussions and meet some incredible people on our panels each day. All of the topics around youth culture(s) were filled with conversations about approaching culture as missionaries. Good stuff.
Thursday was a panel discussion on Hip-Hop culture and why it matters to all youth ministry. Great discussion from Efrem Smith, LaCrae, Trip Lee, and Pro. All of these four guys were so insightful, thoughtful, and very articulate. This was a real treat.
Friday was a panel discussion on Underground Culture, its many faces/styles/types and why it matters to youth ministry. Great discussion from Loyal Thurman, Gideon Thurman, and Heather Vaught from Hope for the Rejected; Goth Mom, Donna Sheehy and Stephen Long from GraveRobbers; and TD and Veronica Benton of White Collar Side Show. These are such missional people and ministries. I’d highly encourage you to find some time with them and to support them however you can.
So now you can see why I am excited and also tired.