priorities for the convention

i just saw steve argue’s fantastic and inspiring list of ‘promises’ for the youth workers convention this week in nashville. it’s really worth reading, and i would love to encourage all bloggers (and all attendees reading this, for that matter) to post your own list. this is such a helpful exercise for clarifying goals before getting caught up in the swirl of energy and schedule and mob-mentality.

don’t allow not scoring 100% on the list you create to make you feel like a failure — that would miss the point. this is just a helpful and prayerful guide for remembering why we’re attending.

here’s my list:

i promise to get to bed no later than 2am every night. no exceptions. and i promise to get to bed by midnight at least two nights.

i promise to stop and notice things: youth workers in conversation, youth workers thinking, people around the hotel and convention center and arena, people in the restaurants.

i promise to engage in meaningful listening conversation with anyone who stops me, as long as time possibly permits.

i promise to hug my wife multiple times every day.

i promise to give lots of hugs to other ys staff, those who are living on the edge of insanity and pouring themselves out for youth workers.

i promise to give compliments and encouragement to tic and karla, and to other ys staff.

i promise to call people by name.

i promise to remember to thank god for this amazing spectical every day.

i promise to soak in the friendship of so many wonderful people i can’t wait to see: doug, tony, mark d, bobby, tad, george, paul, jerod, matt, lilly, holly, rolly, sandy, marv, dave, dan, heather, jeanne, kara, doug, ginny, dave, david, jeremy, mike, mike, and so, so many others.

i promise to be curious. when someone says or does something that bugs me or strikes me wrong, or even hurts me, i will look for their positive intention. this is hard enough when i am rested.

i promise to call my kids on a regular basis.

i promise to deflect any attention i receive and re-direct that to god.

i promise to remember that i’m a dork, that many people could do my job, and that god’s reasons for putting me in this role are beyond my grasp, yet to move forward with confidence in my calling.

i promise to tip well.

i promise to listen to god during worship and the general session speakers — not to listen to ‘how they’re doing’.

i promise to be thankful for the ys staff who are back at the office holding things together.

i promise to bask in the movement of the holy spirit, generously sweeping through this event, the thousands of lives present, and (as steve said in his post) the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of teenagers represented by these amazing youth workers.

9 thoughts on “priorities for the convention”

  1. Nice post Marko, particularly the thing about tipping well. I have a close friend who’s a belllman at the hotel and I get a lot of lowdown on which groups are courteous, fun, infuiating, and of course, generous or cheap. FYI – he’s always had a great experience with the YS and Emergent gatherings and says he can tell that the attendees are very different from most religious groups. Leave it to the misfits of ministry to make the best impressions!

  2. Hey Marko, I really enjoyed this post. Great stuff here. It is really cool to see what God is doing in you. Look forward to seeing you and the rest of the gang.

  3. That tipping well can be a big deal. The only times I ever got angry as a waiter was when my coworkers would get a crappy tip and a gospel tract left on the table. I couldn’t imagine how these people thought someone would want to read a tract after getting an offensive tip. It was always just so embarrassing to me the horrible witness so many Christians had in that restaurant (not just the bad tippers). I always felt like I was clarifying to my coworkers that the behavior wasn’t how Christ wanted us to be! Sheesh!

  4. Marko, I remember taking Yac back to the airport in Austin, either just before or just after you moved into your current position at YS. He said it seemed crazy to put someone so young and fairly new to YS in that position of leadership, but that he knew it was the right move. He was completely confident in you! Well, you continue to prove him right and carry on the mission. The courage and grace you bring to the table are a wonderful reflection of the incredible God we serve! Have a great convention…

  5. “when someone says or does something that bugs me or strikes me wrong, or even hurts me, i will look for their positive intention”–such a great promise. I find it extremely hard to do this very thing myself, but you reminded me…so I will try and do that (God helping me) this week and beyond.

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