ysmarko’s best of 2007: ministry moments

i’ve posted my favorite books, music, movies and tv, blogs and family moments. now another very personal one: a handful of my favorite ministry moments of 2007…

our two ys exec team retreats. these are always massively formational, fun, relationally grounding, and strategic (both at an organizational level and a personal level). we had one on crystal pier (a collection of cabins on a pier, right here in san diego) last january, and another one in mexico in july.

the two ys spanish youth worker conventions. guatemala (with 2300 youth workers), and i took max along. and argentina (with 3000 youth workers), and tic long joined me this year. i’ve blogged about these a lot, and love the energy and passion of these events.

the three ys national youth workers conventions: san diego, st. louis, and atlanta. i just love these events, and spending time with “my tribe”. this year, i particularly enjoyed presenting my “new vision for middle school” seminar, and my closing general session (which i was pretty passionate about, and am taking a break from writing as a book at this very second to type this post).

the first-ever canadian youth workers conference. what a fantastic event. what a great spirit. i can’t wait for next year.

speaking on the jh believe tour. i was the main speaker in 8 of the 11 cities for the 06/07 tour of this young teen touring event. and i had a blast. i got to take each of my kids to a couple of them also, which was great. it was too much travel, though, and drove me into my one-year outside speaking sabbatical.

preaching a couple times at my church. i love that my church, knowing that i’m a bit cantankerous and juvenile, still lets me preach in “big church” a couple times each year. i did a sermon on identity and one on freedom (uh, spiritual freedom, that is, not the “god bless america” kind). this is such a great process for me, as it forces me to think things through at a different level than i normally do.

yns. my “accountability group” of 7 guys that meets annually for a few days to mess with each other’s lives. this year we met at a beautiful cabin on lake lanier in georgia. i love this group, and these annual days are always restorative and challenging for me.

the junior high pastors summit and the middle school ministry summit. the former is a group of old friends who gather annually to wrestle with junior high ministry stuff. this year we were hosted by forest home christian conference center (outside LA), and talked early adolescent brain development. the latter group was a new ys event, with 40-ish attending, and hosted by myself, eric venable and kurt johston, at the wonderful spring hill camp in evart, michigan. great times, baby.

my 8th grade guys small group. i’ve got 2 1/2 years invested in meeting with this group of 6 guys each wednesday night at my home. and i love ’em.

the ys staff christmas party. we served a community and an orphanage in mexico. it was a great way to “tee up” the all-too-commercial-and-consumeristic christmas season.

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