i’m in the airport, heading to reno for the CORE premiere. our half-day youth ministry training is quite a process to develop. all the presenters on the team are seasoned and gifted youth workers, and all of them can throw together a seminar in no-time-flat. but to develop a day of original content that’s truly helpful and full of new insights, not just all our old re-hashed best-of’s — now that takes a lot of work. the process is messy and wild. we start in the spring, laying down a few planks of track in terms of theme and direction, then assign out the different sessions to various team members to take a first pass at. this year, we asked kenda dean to develop the opening session (of three) based on her book practicing passion. she had us work with one of her research assistants from the book, a great youth worker from toronto named blair. he wrote the first draft, and i edited it and ‘tested’ it at our sacramento convention (the same thing was happening to the other two sessions). our ys staff media guy created a first-pass at the media content, knowing it would likely change 50 – 100%. after sac, i sent the script back to blair with massive re-write instructions, including a complete re-organization of the outline. he did a great job re-working it, then i made a few tweaks, and sent it on to team-member dave ambrose, who presented it at our nashville convention. after that, i took dave’s input, as well as the team members who were there, and re-wrote a bit more. then, the first weekend of december, half of our team came together in san diego and presented our current versions of the day to the volunteer youth ministry staff of college avenue baptist church. then those team members sat around the rest of the day, ripping the stuff to shreads, poking holes in it, and making suggestions for changes. once again, i took the first session script back and completely re-wrote it, incorporating significant changes agreed on by the team (again, the same was happening to sessions two and three — in fact, those two got completetly re-written after the san diego test). our media guy tweaked and changed and finalized the visual support (which is massive). and tomorrow, we’ll present the whole thing to 70 or 100 youth workers from the greater reno, nevada, area. hopefully, session one will only need tweaks — but i’ve seen sessions get completely thrown out or massively changed even after the premiere.
it’s fun (especially being with the team), and very difficult. we’re all completely brain-dead by the end of each day. by the time we head home sunday night, we should know what needs to happen to truly finalize the script. then each of us who are responsible for a session make the final changes in the first few days of next week, as the outline in the handbook has to go to the printer next week. and in late february, we role out the actual 100-city training tour!
i’m excited about the content this year — all about passionate youth ministry. great stuff; and i’m stoked to be building some of the opening session on kenda’s amazing book.
oh, and we stay at one of those massive casino hotels in reno while we’re there, so maybe i can get lucky (so to speak)!