this past weekend was full of connections with diverse friendships for me. I was speaking in tulsa at the junior high believe event, which is run by my friend johnny scott. rick bundschuh, long-time friend of ys and youth ministry author, was there to do a bit of leader training (and we were on the same flight out, early sunday morning). eric venable roomed with me, and we went out friday night to a fun irish pub. eric has been a close friend for 15 years, since we both took our junior high groups to hume lake at the same time. we started the junior high pastors summit together five years ago. speaking of the summit, I had lunch on saturday with eric, alan mercer (who also attends the summit, and is a junior high pastor in kansas city – he had kids at the event), and cristin budd (summit attendee and junior high pastor in tulsa). saturday evening, I had a wonderful dinner and great conversation with my old friend, mark riddle (youth ministry consultant) and his lovely wife pam. then went out for drinks with my buddy paul syverson (paul was one of my volunteers in pasadena, years ago, and we’ve remained close friends) and his wife sarah (formerly sarah stuart, who worked at ys for a couple years – I introduced paul and sarah, and officiated their wedding last year). oh, and I sat across the aisle from susie shellenberger on the flight into tulsa (susie is the editor of brio magazine, and a ys author). finally, I got home sunday and went to a superbowl party that was a reunion of the best small group we’ve ever been a part of. we still see all the people in the group fairly regularly, but it was great to all be together.
a pretty cool weekend of connecting with a wide variety of friends from all over. and it continues tonight, as doug and shelley pagitt, mark scandrette, john raymond, dan kimball, and others are coming over for a 24 party. they’re all in town for the national pastors convention in san diego this week. nice of us to have 80-degree weather for them today (it was 85 yesterday!).