the stress of tardy general session speakers

at the anaheim nywc, i thought it was a fluke. but it happened again today.

let me back up.

the national youth workers conventions have general sessions (everyone in one big room) and seminars. the general sessions typically have a plenary speaker, in addition to various other elements. and the speaker is normally scheduled to begin speaking roughly an hour into the session (though this varies).

at the anaheim event two weeks ago, we realized about 20 minutes before a particular speaker was to begin that no one had seen him. this is quite distressing when there’s no back-up plan, and there are 3500 youth workers expecting to hear that speaker. tic and i went into full-stress action-mode. we found the speaker’s mobile number and called — nothing. we tried to call duffy robbins (who was over at the hotel having breakfast with friends) to see if he could run over to speak. we couldn’t reach him. so we sent someone to run over and get him. we were confident that duffy could still do a great job with only a few minutes notice.

then, with 7 minutes to spare, the speaker showed up.

it happened again today. we couldn’t find the speaker with about 30 minutes to go. we called his hotel and found out that he had checked in, so he was in town. we called his room — nothing. we walked around looking for him. we called duffy again and asked him to come be ready to speak. duffy showed up and started flipping through a bible. and, then, with 15 minutes to spare, the speaker walked backstage.

maybe we haven’t been clear enough in telling speakers when to be where. but it sure would be nice if, when a session begins, the speaker is known to be present! and one more thing is clear: we need to invite duffy to speak next time, for his double willingness to step in on a few minutes’ notice this year!

13 thoughts on “the stress of tardy general session speakers”

  1. Marko,

    First and foremost, TOTAL kudos to Duffy…. First, for being so willing to step in front of 3500 people unprepared, and second, just for being the MAN. It is a certainty that in this Christ-centric culture, I should (and do) feel guilty for idolizing some of y’all (including you), but, it is a sin the God must forgive me for… for wanting to be more like Duffy.

    Second… if this post is about the second speaker today, I would add my $0.02 that he sure SEEMED hurried. Seems to me, that often times, when preachers and speakers feel rushed and ill prepared, the subject quickly becomes “Let me tell y’all what you are doing wrong… without telling you how to fix it.” Wow. I KNOW that y’all look to bring us together and build us up and affirm us, but I gotta tell ya… I sure felt like I was being chastised by Mr. Folmsbee. On the other hand, if y’all don’t bring back Rodger Nishioka again and again, then y’all need you have your heads examined.

    You all are amazing to me!! Keep it up and enjoy the sabbatical!!

    Rick from Flossmoor

  2. oh you know that you’re just asking for the fates to get you into trouble now? just you wait til april. however – I can totally relate to that story.

    we used to run our event next to a horse farm – that bred & trained champion horses, and so in regard to the neighbours, we kept daylight savings time going for our 2000 kids.

    that meant we were running an hour ahead of regular folks so that we could finish up at eleven rather than midnight.

    someone (that deinitely WASN’T the programme coordinator) forgot to tell the speaker who, thinking he was on at 10am, was planning on turning up at 9.30am.

    well, he was on at 10am. Our time.

    however, that 30mins of impromptu programming may have been the best 30mins of programming i’ve ever done.

  3. Dude… that’s why I was sitting in the front row today. I’m always ready, so if it happens again tomorrow with whoever the freak is that’s speaking you let me know.

  4. OK, that’s funny. Not that someone was late but that you just outed who it was.

    I’ve seen you running here and there a lot, but I think I just need to step in your way sometime so I can actually meet you face to face.

    Thanks for creating this space for me and my friends this week. I’ve learned a lot… and had a load of fun. It’s just what I needed when I needed it.

  5. Duffy always gives a good talk. Too bad you wont reveal who the speakers are just for fun, but on the other hand glad you are not putting it out there for everyone.

  6. Well I do not know how you pick speakers, I am sure that is hard, but Duffy speaking would make me want to be at that event. Then again if you were to dance again, I would also be there. ps Go Bucks, so do you want a rematch in Jan?

  7. I was at YS Anaheim. Part of me wonders which speaker it was, and part of me is glad I don’t know because I don’t want it to color my view of all the awesome speakers you had this year.

    While this next comment won’t offer you much solice on having challenges with conference speakers, all I can say is this: It’s good to know that the local youth ministry in a smaller church isn’t the only place where you can experience technical difficulties!

    And Duffy as general session speaker? Great idea.

  8. Urgh, I made a mistake that ate my post. What got cut:

    “we need to invite [D]uffy to speak next time”

    I wouldn’t go that far…

  9. Ok, that’s my final attempt. I think my side-glancing emoticon ate the portion of the reply that followed it (both times). Short story: Based on negative personal experience, I won’t be attending any talks by Duffy, nor would I endorse him to others. Not that I’d skip a NYWC over it, just his talks. Of course, I believe neither he nor I will lose any sleep over this.

  10. what?….its just ridiculously judgmental not to endorse duffy…plain down retarded to boycot the man. If you don’t confront him 1 on 1 about whatever issue you have with him, then don’t trash him in public….but than again I’m sure you can all assure us that you have talked to him about the beef you have with him? I’m sure you’re that honest.

Leave a Reply