i’m in toronto for our 2nd annual canadian youth workers conference. it’s such a cool event. one of the significant uniquenesses of this event (in comparison with our u.s. events) is that we have 24 ‘officially’ partnering denominations and organizations. our u.s. conventions have great theological and denominational variety in attendees also, but not as official partners. to have this list of denoms and orgs that have agreed to partner with each other is truly stunning:
• The Presbyterian Church in Canada
• Apostolic Youth Ministries International
• CBM Youth
• Canadian Youth Network
• Christian and Missionary Alliance
• Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
• Nazarene Youth Ministry International
• YFC Canada
• Evangelical Missionary Church
• Brethren in Christ
• Mennonite Brethren Conference
• Salvation Army of Canada
• North American Baptist
• The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada
• Christian Reformed Church of North America
• United Church of Canada
• Canadian Youth Worker
• Southern Baptist Convention of Canada
• Canadian Catholic Youth Ministry Network
• Muskoka Woods Sports Resort
• The Wesleyan Church
• Christian Churches-Churches of Christ
• Mennonite Church of Canada
• Anglican Church of Canada
• Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship
• Young Life
protestant and catholic, liberal and conservative, they are all willing to put differences aside to stack hands on our common calling to youth ministry.
in the opening general session, shane claiborne made a couple comments that really caught my attention:
As important as it is to be relevant, I think it’s important that we’re peculiar. We need to be a contrast culture.
If we miss this generation, it won’t be because we didn’t entertain them; it will be because we didn’t dare them.
i’m not saying that the canadian church has “loving others” down in a way that the u.s. church doesn’t. but, man, how beautiful it would be if our youth ministries were “peculiar” in our love for others, in our commitment to justice, in our desire to be counter-cultural within our churches and within our cities and towns.
then, the evening general session was simply amazing. really. some of the best lost and found stuff i’ve seen (they were ad-libbing, and it was sweet), a stunning performance by jason hildebrand from the perspective of the prodigal son’s father, a beautiful folksy worship/music set by catholic singer Susan HooKong-Taylor. and then tony campolo spoke. i’ve probably heard tony speak 5 dozen times or more. and this was one of the best talks i’ve ever heard him give (really, you should get the mp3 here). he talked about the difference between power and authority, and how the church has become so enmeshed with power and have forgotten that jesus wasn’t into power, but had authority. he applied this a dozen different ways, with examples from history and modern day. he included some of the stuff he talked about at the sacramento and nashville conventions, about our cultures being babylon, and how the kingdom of god will live on beyond babylon. amazing, prophetic, thought-provoking stuff. then starfield closed with a sensitive and appropriate set of worship songs. mmmmm. i love doing this.
tomorrow, skit guys and matt maher join us — a couple of my personal favs. i’m stoked.