NYWC, saturday morning

ah, this is my slower day. yesterday was wonderful, but insane. critical concerns course first thing, then (while my ccc co-presenter finished up) i attended the closing session of the HERstory event. jeanne stevens gave a fantastic talk about being created as a woman and what that means. really, it was a talk by a woman for a woman; but i do feel (as does she) that this message is part of jeanne’s calling.

i had a quick lunch with eli ruggles, just to get to know him. then it was off to the opening general session (always one of my favorite moments of the convention). great energy with 5000 people here. i botched up andy stanley’s intro a little bit: i was trying to talk about his humility and desire to learn (in the wake of the negative experience we’d had last time he spoke for us). but i used the words “humility and teachability”, which, tic told me, made it sound like i was putting myself in the role of being andy’s teacher. that wasn’t my intent, so i’m bummed if i communicated that. anyhow. andy did a great job, i thought, and brought a challenging thought (as he tends to do) about how we use our power. i was wondering how many people were resisting the notion that they have power, and dismissing andy’s thoughts; but i think he did a great job of establishing how often a youth worker is “the most powerful person in the room” (when you’re with a group of students, when you’re with parents who are seeking input, etc). the whole first session went well, i thought.

i ran off to teach (with mark riddle) my seminar called “the expectations that killed the youth worker.” big crowd this time (in a room that, i swear, was both in a different zip code than the rest of the convention, and up so many stairs i thought we’d be in some sort of flight path). and, after botching this seminar in SD, re-writing it and doing ok in STL, i felt like mark and i finally got comfortable with the material and the flow, and did a good job (so, if anyone gets the mp3 of this seminar, be SURE to order the ATL one, not the others!). i think it’s an affirming seminar for people who are hurting, or experiencing tension at their churches, as well as a practical seminar with actual help.

i ran off to dinner with randy hall, the pres of studentlife (mmmm. we went to mccormick & schmick’s, and i had cashew-encrusted talapia). good catching up and evaluation of the ways we’re partnering (and the ways we’re not doing that as well as we could).

straight back to the evening session. third day (stylistically, not my cupa) seemed to do a great job, and really connected. i love it when bands who perform clearly know our audience, and don’t just think this is like any other churchy audience. mac – the lead singer – talked warmly and, oh, like a peer, i guess, to the youth workers. after i introduced shane claiborne, i had to leave for a video interview. i left right after he breathed fire, did a back flip, and put the flaming torch out in his mouth. i thought all of that was extremely odd for shane — he’s not a showy guy. then he said, “i’m going to give the best sermon ever” (or something like that), and started reading the sermon on the mount. this is when i left.

later, in my suite, i read online and talked to people who came up to hang out, that shane continued reading. he read the entire sermon on the mount, said “amen”, and sat down. i have to admit, my first response wasn’t overly positive. i mean, i was thinking that it was a “good point”, but, that, i wasn’t even sure i liked someone using the bible to make that point (like, it was a manipulative use of the bible). i thought, we brought a guy in to read scripture (marquis laughlin). and, really, ALL of us can read scripture. and that’s wonderful. we brought shane in because he has a unique story and message. HOWEVER, i think (while i’m sure that thought went through many of the heads in the room) i was having that reaction because i wasn’t there. the more people i talked to, the more reported to me what a powerful message it was. i’ve seen it mentioned, so far, on about 4 blogs, and they’ve all been positive. a few people who came up to my suite last night (my brother-in-law and nephew in particular) we rocked by it. interesting. now i wish i could have stayed! i heard that tic long did a great job wrapping it up, giving some space for silence, naming some things people would have been thinking, and praying.

after a video interview (scott rubin and i got interviewed about our middle school books), i hung out and chatted with a wonderfully eclectic group of people in my suite, and forced myself to bed at 1am.

today: two general sessions, a couple meetings, no seminars (to present), and the UofM/OSU game!

37 thoughts on “NYWC, saturday morning”

  1. Marko –

    I had to leave early to set up the Labyrinth, but my reaction was mixed. While I think the point was well served, I really wanted Shane’s insight. The bible is a very weak instrument without context – read alone the only context available is the biblical one, a context that is close to meaningless for us living in the US.

    Plus, given the theme of the convention, I would have liked to hear a narrative of how the sermon on the mount plays into his story, this mixture of Mother Theresa, Bob Marley, and Tony Campolo.

    So while I get the point, it came off as a gimmick to me. A well done gimmick to be sure, but a gimmick nevertheless.

  2. I don’t want to sound snarky or anything at all… but this is your saturday post.

    I wasn’t at the shane session but I can see how people who haven’t read shane or heard of shane would be put off. to me it goes back to this… the bible is powerful.

    I thought andy did a fantastic job. his message was dead on in my opinion and I think it reflects how much he understands the YM persona.

  3. Marko,

    I really enjoyed the seminar yesterday and I think you and Riddle did a great job. lots of useful info.

    Also, I really enjoyed Andy’s talk yesterday. It was a great take on power – very unique, I thought. I did not perceive your “teachability comment” to be one where you were suggesting that you taught him. I thought it spoke highly of him and his commitment to humility, but I do understand how some people might have perceived it otherwise.

    Anyway, loving the conference!

  4. Marko… tried to run some interference for you with that guy after this morning’s general session. I’ll be blogging about the experience, soon… which did end in a positive.

  5. tony — that was you? i saw someone step in and engage with the guy, but didn’t notice who it was. thanks so much. man, i’m sure he was a wonderful human being, but he was representing all that is wrong with that version of conservatism.

  6. I told my wife that I was upset, and kind of felt ripped off after Shane’s talk…or lack thereof, but she called me on the carpet. “It’s the TRUTH, you can’t be upset because someone presented the TRUTH.”

    I reflected, and decided that the Bible is more important than anything that Shane could have said himself.

    With that being said, if you need someone to come in next year and read the Bible for a session, I’m a lot cheaper than Shane.

    I’m looking forward to the rest of this incredible weekend.

  7. While I agree that Shane did a masterful job with the reading of the Sermon and it made quite an impact, my appetite was built for some words from him, about him and that never came. And that is a loss for me and others who gathered.

  8. In response to Jeff-

    ” The bible is a very weak instrument without context – read alone the only context available is the biblical one, a context that is close to meaningless for us living in the US.”

    This statement is close to heresy bro. How can you say the very Words of God are weak without context? God’s Word does not need our commentary. The Holy Spirit illuminates God’s Word for us if we are christians and helps us bring application. Although I was at the San Diego conference and probably would have felt slighted that Shane did not share some of his heart if I were in Atlanta, to say Scripture is weak outside of a preachers words is toeing the line.

  9. i feel like some of the comments above did not fully understand what Shane was saying. my understanding of the sermon was this:

    – fire and flips could be used to help share the gospel of Jesus
    – but maybe if we truly lived out these words, we could truly share the gospel of Jesus.

    This was the greatest sermon not simply because of what was said. but because of how living these words can change the world. He closed his sermon time saying something like this: May we have the courage to actually live these words. it was all about living it out, not simply reading the words…

    I do not feel this was a gimmick at all. instead, i feel that this sermon opitimizes Shane’s (and the Simple Way’s) story. His community is wrestling with living out Jesus’ words in this sermon, and that is what he challenged us to do.

    i was able to bring a few of our youth leaders with us this year, and they all walked away really challenged and convicted at how they fail to really live out these words (when they are honest with themselves). it seems the Spirit was at work during the reading of these words to challenge our hearts as to how we so fail to live the radical message of these words… as a group, it was our favorite message of the weekend so far (it’s late Saturday Night).

  10. First NYWC, Great time so far! However, i was really disappointed in the presentation by shane (reading matthew 5-7 and then sitting down). i would have liked to hear how that story is lived out, especially with shane’s experience. this is not a knock on scripture. but not impressed – or challenged – by that one.

    Phyllis Tickle came up and totally redeemed it!

  11. I just learned about your blog today, and will be reading it often. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for bringing Shane C. to NYWC yet again. I felt that his delivery of the greatest sermon ever was well communicated. If that had been almost anyone else (I was going to insert names here, but chose not to), it would’ve come off as arrogant. Shane is just humble enough to challenge us to live this out. THANKS

  12. i commented earlier about Shane C’s delivery of the sermon on the mount. i was pretty negative, and said i was not impressed or challenged. God basically called me out for lashing out in a blog comment. it’s not about impressing me, and to say God’s Word didn’t challenge me is stupid. it wasn’t my favorite talk, but i apologize for my earlier comment.

  13. I enjoyed most of the Convention . . . perhaps my greatest disappointment of the convention was the general session with Shane. To be certain, he’s right, it was the greatest sermon ever given . . . Jesus’ version, not Shane’s. I get it, I thought it was cool . . . it’s just not what I was expecting, hoping for, or wanting. Shane was perhaps the speaker I was most looking forward to hearing — having him share his story. I really missed that.

    I did enjoy Andy Stanly. I was in Atlanta a few years ago when he spoke. I couldn’t recall anything about his talk then that could have been controversial nor that would draw your ire. I do recall his talk that year being awful. It seemed directed at Senior Pastor types, but not Youth Pastors — and as boring as any I’d ever heard. I loved his message and his presentation this year. A home run.

    Thanks to you and all of YS for providing such an interesting and diverse group of speakers; such impactful, challenging, transformative messages; and an oasis-time for youth workers. Blessings.

  14. Marko, when you said Andy had “teachability,” our crew thought your were being sarcastic and kind of joking. we actually cracked up, thinking to ourselves, “that’s like saying chris tomlin has teachibility” when it comes to song writing.

  15. Hey Marko,
    Just wanted to say i gave shane a standing O, it was hilarious cause i was so moved by what he did and after the first minute he started reading i said to my friend “it will be intense if he just reads the whole sermon and walks off” and he totally did.

    The crowd wanted more

    shane gave them Christ instead!

    great conference and great break out!

    Alex Buchner, Edmond Oklahoma

  16. A lot is being said about Shane’s message. However, I loved it. I thought it was the perfect compliment to Andy Stanley’s message earlier in the day where he said, “What do you do when you know you are the most important person in the room? You need to leverage your power to serve others.”

    So what does this Shane guy do when he realizes he is the most important person in the room, when he could totally just say whatever he wants, use the platform to espouse politica ideas or to sell his book?

    No. He humbles himself and lets the Word of God speak. Total humility. I thought it was beautiful!

  17. allpraiseJC:

    everyone should have/be teachability. To expand on you .. Tiger (maybe the greatest golfer ever .. has a coach to teach him).

    I know that is off subject.


    For me, it was stretching my brain; what in the world did he say (as I was there) that touched something off. I did hear that you were teaching/mentoring him in an area where a “mistake” was made.

  18. Another realization or blessing or challenge from Shane’s talk — humility. To be who he is, to do what he has done, to have the story he has to tell, to stand in front of the expectations in which he stood … but to give that moment over solely to the words of Jesus — Amazing! I think it defines the character of a Christian. How often do we in much smaller venues under much less pressure and expectation give way to pride or arrogance or much worse and attempt to be greater than our master. Maybe Shane added a bit of practically, a real life example, to Andy’s teaching. Amazing conference. It was my first and I am forever different. Thanks.

  19. Ken (two or three statement up) hit it right on the head!!! We should all be challenged that when we are “the most important person in the room” that we are leading our students from the Bible and not some great big bells and whistles presentation. I was touched and humbled by Shane’s use of his time when he was “the most important person in the room”. We share with our students all the time that they have been given a personal platform from which to share Christ. We have too and we should be sharing Christ and the Bible. Honestly, how many of your students have heard the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety? We make statements to our students all the time “you know you’ve heard of the Sermon on the Mount….” , or about David and Goliath…but have they? Do they really know the word? or are we wrapped up in the latest presentation method to make us look good as a speaker, highlighting ourselves, rather than Jesus and the Word of God. Like I said, I was humbled and LOVED Shane, Andy and Phyllis. And thank you Marko for apologizing about your comments regarding Andy and for your blog words here. The conference was awesome! The worship was awesome, I learned some stuff, received great Youth culture insights and was blessed to tears to hear a room full of men sing when lead to do so by Tomlin. Men who will lead our student guys to be spiritual leaders in the next 500 years! Blessing s to all of you!

  20. I went through a whole range of feelings over Shane’s session. I read Irresistable revolution a couple of months ago and SC was one of the reasons I was so excited to be going to Atlanta so when reaklisation sank in that he was just going to read the Sermon I have to admit I was a little annoyed at first, I found myself sitting there thinking, ” I came here to listen to Shane Claiborne… I feel ripped off” then , that little voice started to bother me as I began to realise what I was saying… “I’d rather listen to Shane Claiborne than Jesus.” Then I started to really listen, and to watch the love and passion so evident on Shanes face as he read. I thionk Tic did a perfect job of wrapping up, not shying away from the discomfprt many felt but It felt to me that God had dealt with him the say way he’d dealt with me. Who do we really want to hear? SC talking about Jesus? or Jesus. I have to say it was probably my favourite session.

  21. Marko, I’m thanful that you made an attempt at apologizing to Andy (hope you actually did contact him) regarding your introductory remarks. They certainly did come off sounding arrogant and I think Andy had a lot of class to be able to speak with that kind of inappropriate intro. I was embarrased to have a new attendee with me who also wasn’t pleased by your comments.

  22. yeah, kathie, i spoke to andy right after his talk, and he said he was, of course, very gracious (saying he didn’t think anything of it, and didn’t think, from his perspective, that i was saying i taught him). of course, he knew the whole backstory, and had that perspective.

    jeff (and others): i’d rather not go into what bothered me about andy’s talk 3 years ago. it’s water under the bridge at this point.

  23. Marko:

    I understand. I just wanted to let you know that it “distracted” me because it shifted my thoughts to three years ago and what might have occurred and racking my brain.

    I did not stay there long though because I was able to connect back up quickly when he began speaking.

    I was also (just my honest opinion) just a “little-dumbfounded” that you would bring it up to 5500 other people. HOWEVER, in the same breathe, I also understand the flip-aspect of being “authentic” and “real” in the intro.


  24. Marko …
    So you’re human! Praise God! I think we have all had a moment when we “got up to say something” and put our size 13 in our mouth and chewed! Here’s to our God who loves us just the way we are and loves so much that He doesn’t allow us to stay that way! I appreciate your humility and honesty Marko! Phil. 1:6 …

  25. Hey Marko,
    I know that you don’t want to keep repeating on this Andy thing, but I just wanted you to know I was there three years ago in Atlanta and loved Andy’s talk. I don’t say that to be like, “you’re wrong” or whatever. I just wanted you to know his talk actually did speak to people there. I, in fact have used his idea of putting your presenters in front of the crowd theory that he spoke of regularly in our ministry. I still have the notes from that talk in a binder I use quite often. Just wanted you to know I didn’t feel any negativity on this deal and the message was good for me. Love you for what you do, NYWC was better than it’s ever been this year.

  26. honestly, i’m still processing everything, but mostly i was disappointed in shane. i get it – we need to focus on the word, and sometimes we get caught up in the fun ‘n’ games philosophy (Duffy calls it the Spring Break philosophy!) of student ministry. i just would’ve liked to hear his heart on things – i could sit and read the sermon on the mount.
    i felt andy and louie were okay – i’ve heard them both a few times and thought they’ve been much better than what we heard in atlanta. phyllis & doug were the most relevant for where i was at.
    by far, the best part of the week for me was the worship (the best i’ve seen before – desp band, tomlin, crowder, & fee!) and the skit guys, as well as hanging out with my team and talking future plans.
    thanks marko, tic, and ys for all you do!

  27. I’ve taken some time to think this through.

    I think what Shane did was amazing.
    I think he has more grace and faith than the truck loads I had already given him credit for.

    It also happened to fall right in line with what Andy Stanley had spoken about earlier.

    Based on the example of Christ showing “the full extent of his love” after realizing that God “had put all things under his power” by washing his disciples feet, Andy asked what we would do if we were suddenly the most powerful person in the room. With our youth groups, in a staff meeting, etc., wherever. What would we do? When someone else, for some reason, has decided to put some stock into what is about to come out of your mouth, by the grace of God, what will you do with that power?

    I think this is what was guiding Shane.

    I, like many, based my decision to go to Atlanta to hear Shane. I heard him last year in Charlotte, read his book voraciously, and feel like I bring him up way too often in conversations. I was fortuned to be working at the center stage and was able to spend a few minutes up close and personal with him.
    He looks very much like what I imagine John the Baptist looked like with his nappy hair, homeade clothes, and scraggly beard. He even kinda smelled like a homeless guy. But he has very kind eyes and last year I heard him respond to the question, “Do you make sure that the people you help know that if they don’t accept Christ they are going to hell?” with such love and kindness that I was ashamed of the reaction that was going through my own head.
    Last year he had so much energy he seemed hardly able to contain himself. This year I got the feeling that the successful marketing of his message and the focus it brought on him was very much not something he wanted any part of.
    In his reading of “the greatest sermon ever preached” I heard how captured he was by what Christ brings us all. I felt the depth of his understanding of how changed we must become to really follow Jesus.

    I’ve made some small changes since I heard him last year. I’m not quite sure what changes will result from this encounter with him. I’ll hear him again at Church Under the Bridge in March here in Waco. What I see in him is what it can look like to make real changes toward a new life. Not just thinking, not just talk, but actual changes that affect not just yourself but those around you. Jesus set the bar pretty high when it comes to following God’s will.

    I fall so miserably short, so often.

    But with Shane I feel I’m at least following a real follower.


  28. When I heard Shane the first time, it was at Willow Creek the night he interviewed with one of the Axis Pastors and the congregation filled like 4-5 refrigerator boxes full of shoes to give to the homeless. Lots of people drove home barefoot.

    When Shane did the fire and backflip, I was a bit put off. However, in context (big key here, folks), it all makes sense now. No, Shane is not a big “look at me” type of person–at least not from my limited perspective of him. So for him to do all that stuff at the beginning, and then just sit down and read Jesus’ greatest sermon pointed out quite a contrast to me. Shane’s dedicated his life to literally living the words of Jesus. Not dissecting them. Not with disclaimers attached. Just simply living Jesus’ words. I wish I did a better job at that myself. So, I look at it a bit differently. We so often look at the spectacular programming and special effects that go into a NYWC. Maybe we get too dazzled by that. When contrasted with Jesus’ words and life, we put a pretty high premium on looks. But Jesus’ way was simple. So when Shane contrasts the flips with just reading Jesus, I take a lesson from that: don’t be so dazzled by special effects the comments and insights of human beings. Enjoy it. But be moved by what Jesus taught.

    That’s my too-long take on it.

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