canadian youth workers conference, last post

our first canadian youth workers conference is over. wow. clearly, we were supposed to do this thing. what a blessing on honor to be a part of this thing.

sunday was a great day, overall. i did my “rant from a runt about the american church” at an early time (filling in for a cancelled seminar of a speaker who couldn’t make it), and people actually showed up (geez, i wouldn’t have shown at up that time if i wasn’t teaching the seminar!). the morning general session had some ups and downs. the music was wonderful: a beautiful local female singer/songwriter named anna vandas, backed by a cool jazzy band. great stuff for a chill morning. then matt maher lead worship. matt is quickly becoming one of my favorite worship leaders. his worship leadership helps me focus on god, not on him. and he’s just one of the nicest guys on earth, which doesn’t hurt. the speaker this morning was a bit rough for me; but, hey, we want to have diversity, baby. ‘nuf said on that.

i took a nap this afternoon and was so deeply out when the alarm sounded, it might as well have been the middle of the night.

the late afternoon/evening closing session went really well; what a great spirit there has been at this event. an amazing australian musician named nathan tasker did an acoustic set and was just fantastic. we need to get this guy at our events in the states. then matt lead worship again. the highlight for me was, after we had people participate in a response time, matt lead one more song. it was a song he had just written backstage — one he told me just came to him all at once, like a prayer. it totally tied in with our storyline theme, and talked about god’s character and god writing that on our hearts. it was stunning, and i got a bit weepy, really, singing these beautiful lyrics and knowing they were a gift from god for this particular time and event.

my closing talk was well-received, and all the media worked. yeah!

most people are heading home as i write this. a few of us are going out for dinner to celebrate, debrief and unwind. then i fly home tomorrow (monday) morning — which will be great. can’t wait to see the kids and jeannie. max got a wii for his birthday and christmas from the friends who are living at our house right now; so i’m sure we’ll be swinging wii paddles together tomorrow evening (an exception, as he’s normally not allowed “screens” during the school week).

9 thoughts on “canadian youth workers conference, last post”

  1. I’m glad you are doing this in Canada. I’m the only Yankee born in my family as my parents and siblings were all born in Canada before they moved down to SoCal. So I guess there’s just this soft spot in my heart for a country that’s more than what people think.

  2. this may seem like an odd question, but my wife and i are always trying to better ourselves as parents. when you say “screens” do you mean all screens? like t.v. and computer? have you found it helps? how hard was that to begin.

  3. dean, yeah, all screens (tv, computer, gaming). it\’s a value at our kids\’ school, so my kids didn\’t think we were just imposing a random rule. there was some complaining at first; but it wasn\’t as hard as i thought. of course, it\’s meant i have to adjust some things. dvr sure does help, because i can wait to watch any tv i want to watch until my son is in bed. i\’ve found it has really helped with both of my kids, but especially my son, who seems to get really sucked into tv when he watches. without it during the school week, he\’s more relaxed, more focused, less uptight and stressed.

  4. Hey
    I was at your last seminar, and enjoyed it. Only made it to the morning session, and loved all of it. Worship was refreshing. I connected with the speaker, but can understand how others may not. Took us 7 hours to make it home, in what is usually a 3+ hour drive normally. I am not a fan of snow! Thank you for this conference, it was what our ministry needed, especially at this time when our group is in transition, looking for a new youth pastor. We now feel we have tools to work together as a team to get through the in between time and after. Blessings to you and your staff.

  5. I was blown away by this weekend…

    Coming from a Catholic background (not devout at all), accepting Christ into my life at an MB church and now pastoring at an MB church, having pentecostal, baptist, and catholic friends, there is only one word that comes to my mind about this weekend:


    The unity I sensed, the messages being presented, the worship of our father, the desire to show Jesus to our nation and in particular: youth. The desire to just BE and the focus on rest and freedom through the weekened. Just .. Wow.

    It was a little overwhelming and will take all year to digest… Maybe a lifetime.

    Saturday night could not have been more God ordained and perfect. It truly was a small glimpse of what awaits us in eternity..

    Thank you Marko, YS, and Canadafire for all the work that went into this amazing, unforgettable weekend.

    As I was driving home today, I was overwhelmed to the point of tears many times (dangerous!). I just really get the sense that, to use another Narnia reference: “Aslan is on the move!” (In Canada).

    God is at work in our nation. It is exciting to be a part of! Maybe the biggest battles are yet to come, but we are on the winning team and that is … … invigorating, inspiring, and beyond my ability to express.

    Thank you for being a faithful part of that work.

    Many Blessings, grace and peace..


  6. Hey Marko – I’m still trying to figure out if people call you “Marko” or “Mark O.” so I flipped a coin LOL – I was at your rant on Sunday with my wife who is American. She did NOT come with a “spirit of openness” to hear what you had to say and was totally expecting lots of American but that’s not how things came across. I found your insights very helpful as I’ve recently been studying the emerging/new reformed debate and thinking about what church could look like. Thanks a lot – although it’s totally obvious that you can’t function until you have your morning coffee. LOL.

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