packing up, going home

the last general session of the convention ended minutes ago. i’m spent. but i have an overwhelming sense of gratefullness. right now, as i type, thousands of youth workers are getting into cars and vans and planes to head home. i know they’re spent also — but i am confident (because SO many have told me) that they are leaving encouraged and reconnected to the god who calls us into this wild ride called youth ministry. i also know that many go home to churches and ministry settings where they get beat up, where they will be second-guessed at every step, and where people don’t give a rip if they’re encouraged and reconnected to the god who calls them into youth ministry. my heart breaks for these people; and i pray that they will listen to the quiet voice of god telling them how proud he is of them, how important they are to the kingdom, and how perfectly loveable they are to him.

our amazing ys team have a full afternoon of tear-down, and will have a celebration dinner tonite, before heading our seperate ways for a — hopefully — restful thanksgiving weekend. we’ve closed our office on wednesday (in addition to thursday and friday) to give everyone a bit of space and recoup time. i look forward to hugging my kids tomorrow, and my parents (who are in san diego from detroit, taking care of our kids). and i look forward to sitting around our dining room table on thursday with my family, my parents, a couple west-coast cousins, and a couple ys staff with no family in the area — laughing and eating and resting and being thankful.

18 thoughts on “packing up, going home”

  1. You desearve it. Thanks for all you do. The convention ROCKED my face off!!!!
    Thanks again and God Bless, Jillian :)

  2. marko, thanks. I don’t know what else to say right now. I am still processing it all (along with the snow that is just outside nashville tonight!!!) once I know exactly what is going on in my head and my heart I will let you know to, but I know it had alot to do with what you talked about in the last general session. thanks for all you do

  3. marko, just wanted to say i was stoked you ended your general session talk with a song from the innocence mission. it’s about time they were heard by that many people.

    thanks for all you and the rest of ys did. i’ve got a lot to process, and that’s a good thing. the convention was beautiful.

  4. mission accomplished!

    thank you for providing such an encouraging event. i was so tired and worn out coming into the conference but reconnecting with God and connecting with so many other people who face the same struggles as i do really recharged my batteries. this was my first time attending NYWC but i am already planning for next year and working on my pastor to open it up for all my volunteers!

    thank you for caring!
    in Christ
    -eric

  5. MarkO
    The YS NYWC was simply a godsent for me. I am involved in a awesome youth ministry in Lenexa, Ks, but it was incredible to realize how much myself and the head youth minister needed to be ministered to. Thank you for all your hard work, it is much appreciated and i hope you have a wonderful time with your family and friends this week.
    A funny story from the weekend was that the night you encouraged “married couples” to schedule a “nooky night”, I got No sleep. The couple in the room next to us took your wonderful advise and were up till 4am or so… at about 2ish i put my concert ear plugs in and it helped me get back to sleep. Thanks for the sleepless night, thanks for the Spirit filled weekend, and for all your practical help and advise in the seminars. It was incredible to watch you display your love for the youth and youth ministers this past weekend. Thanks for all your hard work.

    God Bless you and your family

  6. What an awsome week!! I have been so afriad to jump! I have been in youth Ministry for 3 years while in School at Candler to get my MDiv and go onto to be a Senior Pastor but God has been tugging on my heart and calling me to make youth ministry my career path. I was so afriad to share this with my wife and to answer that call but you know what I decided to JUMP and she said she loves me a supports me and she is ready to hold my hand and jump with me.
    What a week, what a week… It is well with my soul!

  7. Marko,
    Thanks for your part in the YS convention, it was a chance to get away from school, and be able to just soak up whatever I could. Your “rant from a runt” was great, and your middle school small groups was great as well (except for the strange, strange man in the front)…

    Anyways, have a blessed, relaxing holiday weekend. Thanks for your work in putting together a great, intellectually challenging time.

    Peace.
    Brittany

  8. Marko-
    thanks for it all…the rant from a runt…the music…the sessions…and the bungee…I’m one of the latter leaders of your latest entry…a successful ministry in a dying church with a desperate Pastor…I also try to worship there…it’s hard…all my training has come from YS and on the job…I get “fed” once a year with y’all…so thanks again – see you in Cincinatti!
    blessings-
    carol

  9. Hey marko,
    I was in Sacramento this year and I was greatly encouraged as well. Hoep you have a well deserved rest.
    Peace, mark

  10. wearing a skirt to get attention when you are over the age of 16 and male is ridiculous.

    and not funny.

    see, not all christians think the same way.

    p.s. third day sucks.

  11. I didn’t get to meet you at the NYWC in Nashville, but for some reason God has really placed you on my heart. I have no idea why. The conference did more for my growth with Christ than years of church have done. I’ve been in youth ministry for thirteen years, and I needed to be fed. I know the work was exhausting but it was incredible…unlike anything I have ever seen. This was not my first NYWC, but it was the best. So thank you. Thank you to your family for sacrificing time with you so you could handle the responsibilities for YS. My heart is…full. I can keep going. I feel so refreshed. Thank you.

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