nywc nashville wrap-up

another national youth workers convention is over, and i have that familiar post-event combo of deep satisfaction, joy, and sadness.

it was a great event, and i know people were blessed, encouraged, and challenged. people told me, as they do, how the event is like a lifeline for them, keeping them in ministry another year. rookies were wide-eyed with wonder about this resource, and the feeling of belonging to a tribe of people who understand them. vets who skip lots of stuff to make room for connecting with friends and taking care of their souls talk about the reality that there is no other place that provides this for them.

the sadness is really, i think, just a normal post-partum type of thing. we work so hard and long to birth this baby, and there’s some natural sadness when everyone leaves the hotels and the convention center is empty.

i’m also sad — and this is NOT a “woe is me” thing! — by those attendees who aren’t in a place to be served by this event. those who write angry emails about our “liberal agenda” (which, most of you know, is just not the case). we deeply desire to serve the whole church, all youth workers — mainline and evangelical, conservative and liberal. and we think the mix of speakers, attendees and perspectives is a beautiful scent to god, a time when we temporarily stash away our differences and come together around our common calling in youth ministry. i know we anger people on the liberal end for being “too conservative” — but they don’t tend to be the angry email writing type. they just don’t return. but the handful of accusational, angry emails from those who think we’ve “gone liberal” bring sadness because i so deeply desire for them to experience the beauty of an inquisitive position (that doesn’t require agreement), the grace of enjoying different perspectives, the growth that can come from wrestling with ideas that our different than our own.

things i particularly enjoyed about this nashville convention:

the general session room: the arena creates this amazing vibe that, although there were 5000 people there, has an intimacy to it. every sees someone else.

the attendees: there was a level of excitement and engagement that was electric.

crowder: david was with us for two sessions, and this is never a bad thing.

sam and ruby and matt wertz:
i’d heard sam and ruby perform at a small club show in san diego, and knew we had to have them at the nywc, in nashville, where they live. they did a 20 minute pre-session, and were so amazing. i’d never heard of matt wertz prior to this event, but he brought a fantastic john mayer-ish vibe to his set that was humble and really good.

shane and shane and the skit guys: shane and shane are becoming ys regulars, and i just dig their live performances. rarely do two voices blend so perfectly. the skit guys have become like crowder – it’s hard to imagine a ys convention without them. and i’ve genuinely grown to value them as friends.

francis collins: there were some who were ticked about francis collins’ talk, and other who were bored with it. but i found it fascinating. and i loved that whatever he talked about, he kept grounding it in his love for god.

hook-ups with friends: meals with matt maher and and old college buddy who’s a literary agent here in nash, and a nice meal with eli ruggles, a wonderful dinner with british youth ministry leader matt costley. coffee with chap clark (a dear friend) and roger kamstra, and old intern of mine. a great backstage conversation with dan kimball. visits to my suite by lars rood, steve taylor, and others. all great opportunities to connect with friends.

going out on a limb with my closing session talk: as i did in pittsburgh, i used very few notes, and really talked from my heart about both the intersection of communion and mission, and about the reality — described by jesus — that we have everything we need to be successful in youth ministry, because “we are the equipment”. it was a scary, risky place to be, but it felt like the right ending to the convention.

39 thoughts on “nywc nashville wrap-up”

  1. hey marko,
    my friends and i got to thank you after the pittsburgh convention, but being the receiver of many angry e-mails myself, it feels like a good time to thank you again. you guys put on such an amazing convention for a group of people who rarely ever have people say “thank you” to us. your love is felt, and very much appreciated. your gs talk in pittsburgh was awesome! all in all, keep up the good work brotha.


  2. Hey Mark,

    A veteran who was not able to make it the past two years because of some “issues” at our church, that just wanted to express some thanks to you and the staff for going “liberal”.

    Thank you for being liberal with your passion and views on student ministry and instilling within others the same drive, passion, and balls to the wall commitment to this calling.

    Thank you for being liberal with your honesty and transparency. Many people hide behind words, masks, caves, and smiles; you put it ALLLLLL out there. Thank you for that (and thank you to the staff and leaders too!)

    Thank you for being liberal with your time. Hey, the family wants you home but they know where you are needed. Thank you for the sacrifice you all make for the people you walk with on a daily basis.

    Thank you for being liberal with your love for students, commitment to learning, desire for writing/creating new and better resources, and recklessness for the gospel of Christ to consume and destroy you.

    So, yes, thank you for going liberal with the love of God.

    God’s best. NOW, go get some rest, bro.
    San Diego calls you home (oh, wait, is that, SWEET HOME ALABAMA? nevermind).

    your friend,

  3. Marko,
    I walked away Monday afternoon refreshed, recharged, and ready for another year of ministry. I was one of those that you described as wanting to walk away but found the strength to weather the storm again. Thank you.

    I was really disappointed when Francis Collins was speaking, not because of what he was saying, but because people were walking out by the droves! I disagreed with pretty much everything he said, but I found him fascinating to listen to and I really enjoyed it. We often need to listen to people who we just plain disagree with to spark more growth. I wish people would get that.

    Thanks for all that you guys do at YS. Your ministry to students AND youth workers is so greatly appreciated! -Dj

  4. Marko

    We were at Nashville and had an amazing time. Your lineup was eclectic and thought provoking. I hope the bad comments you have received were not personal, and temepered.

    Some of my observations:
    I love Tony Campolo and he seemed to be a bit more grounded than in the past. When he turned to Shane Claiborne and said something like it’s easier for you to just go live your way, you’re not married, I loved it. He stepped out of the ideal into the real world. That is the place where I have to live, with a wife and 3 kids.

    Francis Collins, what can I say. My life took a surreal turn when he closed with a hymn of sorts. I love science, and I would hope that more in Christ would trust that Truth will come through in the end. I disagreed with his conclusions nearly completely, but we had some passionate discussions among my group after. It was good.

    Mark Yaconelli happened to deliver to my heart the most. I think it was his talk on top of Frances Chan’s that put me over, but after watching him disco, and then worship starting up, I just started crying uncontrllably. We are going through some significant worship issues at our congregation, the traditionalists are rising again, and I needed to be released from all that. I was and more. The Lord and I had a great time after that.

    NYWC is a peculiar (in the Biblical sense) event for me. We attend about every other year, (5 times now) and there is always a multi-layered blessing that I receive. We had to leave Sunday afternoon to get back, so I missed the last 2 general sessions, but we left refreshed.

    Anyway, keep on. I never thought YS was there to parrot what I think about my faith, so I always dig in when we disagree.

    Grace and Peace in Jesus Christ,


  5. Marko:

    The “Liberals” don’t write angry emails because they aren’t angry. We realize that everyone has their beliefs and opinions and they could be different than ours. Doesn’t mean they’re wrong – they are usually well studied and come from a good place, it just means that that is not what we’ve come to believe through our journey.

    “Liberals” don’t come back not because they’re angry either – they don’t come back because they probably found it was not for them, they were uncomfortable and won’t give it a second chance – to find something that was useful or helpful, etc.

    I definitely lean liberal. But I was always able to bring something out of the convention. You always had one or two speakers that did speak to me. The others I took with a grain of salt, and listened to see “the other side” and maybe learn from it.

    But I always, always looked for the useful and practical as well. There were plenty of workshops that had nothing to do with theology and everything to do with how to better do my ministry.

    Marko – Thank you. Thank you for helping keep YS open to all theological views. Thank you for challenging. Thank you for supporting. Thank you for lifting us up. There always seemed to be a theological middle ground in worship, and I appreciated that.

    I was at Nashville a few years back. It definitely was my favorite of the few I’ve been too. I don’t know if it’s the venue like you mentioned, or the timing, or maybe even the city itself, but it definitely was a great experience.

  6. Oh yeah – I didn’t even mention the comaraderie! (sp?) I LOVED that aspect!!! I MISS that aspect!!! I think you hit it right on the head with your opening paragraph.

  7. I returned from the Nashville convention with great respect for YS. I loved that you guys were awesome for going out on a limb and inviting in speakers who, I’m sure you knew, would bring on criticism from some of the attendees. I loved the speakers who invited people to question what they thought and how that translated into their beliefs. I loved the eclectic mix of worship leaders and musical acts.

    There are times when the group of people I came with and I found ourselves trying to “fix” NYWC by making it into something that we would fully enjoy. It was in those moments where we stopped to realize that this isn’t just about making our group 100% happy. My hats off to YS for attempting to stretch across the spectrum of all youth workers and by realizing that you can’t please everyone. I wish all people in youth ministry could follow the lead that you guys put out for us.

    I know that God will continue to bless what you guys do and I can’t wait to see you guys in Atlanta next year.


  8. francis collins threw a stick in the spokes of my thinking on creation. as a young guy, i’ve been wrestling with the issue for several years now, never having felt comfortable with any point-of-view. for a while, though, i had made myself comfortable by masking my questioning with confidence about a literal 6 day creation. francis collins messed that up for me. i’m back to asking questions instead of acting like i have an answer. if i learned one thing from the convention it’s that humble questioning is better than being in the proud confidence. so i suppose i should write dr. collins a thank you note.

    great convention. thanks, marko.

  9. Your post raises an interesting metaphysical possibility – are you saying that there could be NYWC apart from the Skit Guys? You know, in an alternate reality where the Axis won WWII sort of way?

    I find this theology disturbing. That you could imagine (hard or not) a NYWC without the Skit Guys suggests a psychosis that runs deep and is highly dangerous. I will attribute such blasphemy to the ramblings of exhaustion brought on by your dedication to excellence. As penance, you are hereby ordered to go home and put “The Chair” on automatic replay for two full hours.

    I for one am glad I live in this reality where the NYWC exists solely as a means for introducing people to the Skit Guys.


  10. Hey Marko,

    As had been said, I found this convention way more slanted in a direction far from where I stand… but for me, that was partly the point.

    I read Shane Claiborne’s book a few years ago when it was brand new and was mesmorized by his passion for Jesus and people, horrified by his politics, and amused by the “Forest Gump-ness” of his journey… “So I called up the Sisters of Charity and Mother Teresa answered the phone” “So
    I’m sitting in a room and Rich Mullens walks in”
    “So I’m sitting in Campolos classroom….”

    But for me, he was why I picked Nashville. I have been wanting to see Claiborne speak for a long time. Not because I thought I would agree with him or he would change my mind, but because I get that I don’t know it all. And I can’t say that Jesus isn’t using him. (Probably a part of me is jealous because when I was in college I was him, though not the leader he is. So I never called Mother Teresa or started a community or had lunch with Rich Mullens.) And I eventually got a respectable youth min job and I know Jesus is using me here. But sometimes I miss that that firey discontent that comes from being a prophet and living in the wilderness…

    If I wanted to here my own ideas, I would have bought a mirror and a tape recorder. Instead, I bought a plane ticket and came to here Shane and Tony and Francis Collins (I wished he would just write the human genotype map for dummies!) and I expected to disagree and be challenged.

    Thankfully, I had an art teacher in high school who drilled into my head- you don’t have to like it, but you should appreciate it. I do the same with other ideas. I can respect their ideas- where they are coming from, and I can disagree. But this week when I sit with my kids I can say, “there are some scientists who are Christian who say that God really did use evolution…” or “there are some Christians who do live in community that works and spend their lives and gifts for the poor…” My life, and hopefully that of my students is richer for the opportunity.

    God bless you guys.

    And Marko, sorry, this one IS personal. Dude, I know you do a new hair thing like every 6 months, but for crying out sideways, man, MOVE ON WITH IT. You look like a Munster.

    God bless you, bro.

    Patty J

  11. No, really, I know the word is “hear” not “here” apparently I’m still a little tired…

  12. I was a total newbie–just two months in youth ministry and this was my first ever YS conference. I really LOVED the mix of speakers. Let’s not pin it down with assigning people to one “camp” or another–all the talks challenged us in some way. And because of the mix of topics and perspectives, I had an amazing discussion about the convention with three total strangers at the Nashville airport, and I’m about as shy a person as it’s possible to be. The discussion blessed and stretched all four of us, and it’s only the start! Thank you so much for all your work putting the convention together. I honestly don’t think I could effectively do the job I’ve been called to do without the information and support I got at the conference!

  13. Marko,

    I have so many things i could write to say thank you for – echoing the thoughts of many of those above…for the great line-up of speakers that forced me to think differently – the opportunity to have one of my former youth with me, seeking a call to youth ministry (by the way he had a great time and felt a presence and a bigger nudge towards paid ministry.) – and so much more.

    I came away rested (maybe not with sleep) but rested in my soul – ready to come back to the trenches of ministry at home and as Chan put it – not be a coward.

    So, thank you and thank YS for taking us to the edge and forcing us to something different. Keep it up!


  14. marko
    this was my second nywc (i went to st. louis last year) and i loved it again. i found myself experiencing such relief and release on friday listening to francis chan. i was the shaky jaw, lump in the throat, quiet tears guy for like 2 hours. i come to these conventions to be challenged in my thinking and practices and assumptions. i come to these conventions to feel at home, to be reminded of what heaven can be like, and that i am not the only one trying to hold the line or change the world. i come to the conventions to learn, and change, and grow. i am so glad that this resource is there. its like supercollege. learning, partying, loud music, and classmates who play hackey or frisbee all day. Mostly, for me, it is a place of joy. Joy at being understood, accepted, and challenged. thanks for all you do.
    ps bring back family force five

  15. MarkO –

    Here I thought I was the only emotional drained, choked up, can’t get the lump out of my throat goofball at Nashville – silly me.

    For some strange reason, the only NYWC I have attend (3) have all been in Nashville. My first was in 1995 – way back, when Yaconelli spoke some very freeing words into my life after listening to Jerry Falwell spoke about his life and ministry. Those are the 8 am seminars that I miss seeing on the schedule.

    I have always appreciated to the very core of my being the way that YS loves on youth ministers – because that is seriously ridiculous. I loved that you had 82 year old volunteers on the stage to tell them to keep going for another year. For a mom/ym who will continually look into the eyes of young people and see her teenage daughter who never made it to graduation and love them so urgently to Christ.
    These are the things that I am thankful to you for – stories that I can’t even speak of because they choke me up so much.
    Blessings to all of you for what you do, and who you serve.
    Peace – Adam J

  16. Marko,
    After 10 straight years of attending the NYWC I can honestly say this was my favorite. I lean more conservative theologically and I have commented on the past on YMX that I believe you lean more to the left than Mike did. However, it doesn’t bother me. I like the challenge and the array of speakers that were at the NYWC. They were truly balanced, intelligent, biblical, and applicable.

    Francis Chan is the man. i listened to his message three more time on the way home. I don’t want to be a coward in the kingdom.

    The format with Shane, Michael, and Tony was great. I especially like the text a question deal. (Mark Driscoll does this and it has been amazingly effective with his church. We do a text night one a quarter where students can text any question they want and we attempt to give a biblical answer.)

    Francis Collins was great. I lean more to the literal 6 days of creation. (There is scientific evidence for this as well and plus it demonstrates more of God’s power, in my mind.)However, what Dr. Collins theorized was understandable also. I don’t want to be seen as a fence sitter, but their are more important issues to die on than evolution by God or the literal 6 days of creation. I have always subscribed to the fact that the “who” and “why” questions are much more important than the “When” and “how.” “who” is God and “why” is because He is love and it is in His nature to create. The “how” and “when” can be argued and I think it is healthy to do so, but not at the expense of dividing the church or alienating those who don’t know Christ yet.

    So thanks again for a great conference. (Pray for us. Times are tough and they are talking about cutting this from my continuing education budget.) After 10 straight years of going, I can’t imagine a year without making this a must for my edification and spiritual nourishment.

  17. I hate that I didn’t get to attend this year. Our church removed convention expenses from our budgets and it has hurt everyone to have to miss out… although I’m sure our Business Administrator didn’t miss a thing by not going to the Business Administrator’s Conference? How boring could that be? First time I’ve missed in a very long while.

    The sad part is that I felt I actually needed a “get away” for the first time. I’ve always been nourished and rejuvenated upon my return but this year it was something that was sorely needed. Right now I am having a lot of struggle in 3 major areas 1) family 2) church 3) personal life. Everything seems to be coming unwound all at once.

    I hate that I wasn’t there to see friends, hangout with the Lord, and be challenged… but possibly with all of the junk going on I didn’t need to be there. Who knows, but the hurt is real and its as deep as its ever been in 18 years of ministry. If I was there it may have only served as a “running away” from the difficulties and possibly being in attendance would have only eased the pain of those moments.

    Either way, I push through and pray for a better tomorrow. God is always good and always faithful. I see no reason to think any other way.

    Marko, you guys at YS are so integral in the lives of us youth guys and gals. You challenge us, encourage us, push us, anger us, befriend us, pat us on our back, tick us off, urge us to move forward, tell us to sit and wait with patience, agree with us sometimes and disagree with us at others, play pranks on us, love on us… don’t ever be afraid of rocking the boat. Even if I disagree vehemently with a stance you take, I know you guys love me and have my back. Thanks for all that you guys do to love guys like me and keep me doing the thing He has called me to do… love teenagers.

    Hope to see ya next year- still no budget expense but our family is budgeting it to come… Possibly to the “Soul Shaper ” retreat as well. Have you guys released dates and locations for next year?

    Love all you guys,


  18. YS rocks!! Every year my group thinks about going to another conference and then realize why leave the best.

    My Favorites:
    1. Mark Yacanelli and Frances Chan
    2. Reggie Joiners Critical Concern Class. I left feeling energized, excited, motivated, like a failure, depressed, and many more emotions.
    3. David Crowder. That is worth the convention on its on.
    4. Spiritual Director. Did this for the first time. Will do this again close to home.
    5. Nashville to me is the best city. Hate Atlanta with passion going to Cincinatti next year.
    6. Your general session was a great remembrance and affirmation to me. I have a habit of always wanting more and bigger is better. I needed that.

    Less Than Favorite
    1. No Chris Tomlin. I cry and morn over this. I have been to NYWC for the last 7 years and this is the first time without him.
    2. General session 2 was great but I thought it would never end.
    3. Where were the bands? So many less than usual.

    Thank you guys for ministering to us. We need this to help us make it through the year!!!

  19. Thank you so much for this years convention. This was our second year in ministry and our second NYWC. We were in San Diego last year. This year we did Nashville. Both conventions were a great experience.

    I didn’t have a chance to fill out a “review,” which I would have loved to do, just for the chance to extend the challenge of including more women (and ethnicities) in your line-up for general sessions speakers and worship leaders.

    This is not a gripe. YOUR SPEAKERS AND WORSHIP LEADERS WERE AWESOME. But only 1 out of the 9 speakers were female, only 1 of the 9 speakers were non-white, and all the worship leaders were white and male. Just a thought… It would be a great way to SEE justice instead of just talking about it. We love you guys and YS. Thanks again for putting this on.

    Emily from Durango, CO

  20. Hey, MarkO! This was my first NYWC and I cannot say enough about what a blessing it was to me. It was a quality event from top to bottom. Your people were universally helpful, cheerful and enthusiastic. I was welcomed, pampered, taught and challenged!! I must admit that I was somewhat surprised by some of the content, but in the most wonderful way!! I do not consider myself a liberal…I believe, however that the fullness of the gospel is in our love for others!! To hear Andrew Marin say from the stage that gays and lesbians who enter my church or youth group just need me to love them was an amazing confirmation of what I believed to be the fullness of the gospel!! And to hear Francis Chan lay out the challenge to become unstoppable broke me! I will watch his message again and again to foster that in me!! To hear someone say from that large a platform the things that I have said and advocated for was such an amazing blessing!! I appreciated the diversity of thought, which IS God honoring, and the laser focus on loving people without expectation or agenda. There were so many times I was moved to tears by hearing the passion of the speakers and their desire to live the “red letters” of the Word!! Thank you thank you thank you!! I will have enough to ponder and work to apply until next year, or much much longer! I am tired of politics…who can help it after this election cycle?? I KNOW my salvation does not lie in political ideologies or government policies. I am a child of the lamb and my call is to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my God!

  21. Marko,

    I didnt particularlly like some things but overall my group of 6 adults and I grew like crazy. We understood going in that we would be stretched and challenged and even warned at the convention (not to mention the David Crowder video stating it clearly). This is coming from a very conservative person theologically and a group of men and ladies who are ground in the word. Thank you for standing as you have and we love MARK MATLOCK! -Dave Huntsville Alabama

  22. as a veteran who generally skips things to meet with folks. it was a nice change to be a part of the convention doing my small part helping out with the soul care of leaders. thanks for the opportunity.

  23. Marko,
    It was a great end to the convention. Your talk really wrapped everything up and brought the whole convention to a great close. Thank you all so much for the hard work you put into the Cons!

  24. tonight in our youth service, marko, i opened with your story about the all-night lockin, universal studios and the pinnacle of success as a youth minister. the kids totally dug it and it helped them consider the reason they showed up tonight! hallelujah!

  25. Mark,

    The conference in Nashville was AWESOME!!! Im so glad I had the chance to attend and will be back next year for sure! Thanks for all you do and for your passion for youth ministry!

  26. Hey Marko,

    We had a great time at the Nashville convention. To see the excitement on 10 team members faces that have never been to YS was amazing. To see what God is teaching us as a newly formed team incredible. For me and my family in a new ministry in Memphis- it felt like coming home to San Diego for a weekend, which we needed. It was so good to be around old friends. The speakers were great and challenged me like never before (probably the best mix ever). I appreciated all of the views and were thankful for each of their thoughts and their transparency. Thanks for all you do to make us feel revived and cared for. Your message on Monday morning spoke to me so much this year – I pray and desire for my life and our ministry to be at the intersection of mission and communion. Thanks again Marko.

    Your Conservative (Left Behind) Friend Ken

  27. I love it as always! I brought 5 first-timers with me. They were all blown away. Nice to finally meet you in person too, Marko. Francis Chan was the highlight for me. But I was deeply challenged by Andrew Marin and of course loved Yaconelli, Campolo and Claiborne. Mike Pilavachi and Danielle Strickland too! Heck every General Session speaker was awesome! All AWESOME! Looking forward to bringing some more people next year! :)

  28. Thanks Marko for a great event. Francis Chan was excatly what I needed to hear. I have had a bit of a struggle the past two years in my church and the NYWC really helped me to press on!

  29. Just for the record, I too found Francis Collins’ speech, both interesting and insightful. Thanks YS for bringing in such a unique speaker, even if it went against the current.


  30. It was a good one. Thanks for pursuing excellence in ministry. I thought Chan’s talk on Friday was exceptional, and Campolo’s passionate plea for younger people to not waste their lives was inspiring. Great stuff.

    Thanks again.

  31. I am a volunteer and was a NYWC rookie at Nashville. I am theologically conservative but was definitely touched by each of the speakers during the general sessions. Francis Chan spoke the most convicting words I have ever heard. I learned more this past weekend than I ever emagined possible. I was deeply touched by the care that Mark Matlock has. He spoke with our group of youth workers that included our YM for over an hour. His insight is amazing. Thank you for being real.
    Phil Madison, AL

  32. I have to say I was disapointed with the conference. I brought 3 others with me and all of us left with similar feelings. The lineup of bands was weak. Mercy Me, Jars of Clay, the chick on the piano…all talented but come on…this is the music my mom listens to. As much as YS goes for diversity in speaking there was no musical diversity. No hip hop, nothing heavy, not even an actual rock band. It was all easy listening spirit fm stuff. Hands down the best music was thursday night with Robbie Seay and Johnny Parks. I love shane and shane and crowder as much as the next guy but watching the guy from jars of clay flop around singing “if you want my love get close to me…” was just wack.

    The speakers get mixed reviews from our team. Francis Chan, Mark Yac, the british guy and Marko were great, the others were not and it has nothing to do with disagreeing but that they were just not very good. Particularly Shane claiborne and the guy speaking on Gay/Lesbian issues, they were incomplete at best. They just didn’t say much. Tony Compolo rolled out his usual ‘whatever’s in the news means the world is ending’tirade which gets old. Francis Collins was boring and just flatout wrong (although he had a great colbert report clip). I think a debate on that topic would have been better. Danielle seemed very nervous and trying so hard to be funny that she lost her voice.

    As I write this it sounds a little bit like critiquing a movie or restaraunt but in the past these conventions have blown our minds, spoken to our souls, introduced us to new bands, and stretched our thinking…this one fell flat for the most part.

    I agree with Marko, the main room was amazing and Nashville was FUN, but overall it was a disapointment for us. Marko, I know it must be an incredible amount of work to do this and I know how much ‘angry’ emails can suck, but in your talk at Nashville and here on the blog you sound a little defensive. You had to know what the general response to Francis Collins would be, so to sort of chastise those of us who didn’t like it seems manipulative.

    Painting those who don’t love your product as “angry conservatives” is unfair and won’t help you grow and learn and it is starting to feel like YS is more interested in a pat on the back than a honest reply.

    You know how you started your talk with the illustration regarding speakers who say “God gave me a new message” and how that felt? Thats how this feels.

  33. david – thanks for commenting. i’m sorry you were disappointed (seriously). yeah, i agree the bands had less diversity this time around, in nashville. we actually had more in the other two cities this year, with some awesome rockin’ stuff that caused people to walk out of the general sessions. but we can’t always get who we want. same with speakers. we asked a grip of very conservative speakers for this year, but we get who we get, while trying to maintain some kind of balance when possible.

    a little clarification: i don’t mean to sound defensive, and certainly don’t intend to be manipulative. this is sure: i’m not painting anyone who disagrees or doesn’t like something as an “angry conservative”. i’m ONLY painting those who send actual angry emails as people who send angry emails. i’m only painting actual angry conservatives as angry conservatives.

    you, my friend, are clearly not. :)

  34. If there is anything to be sad about is not being there. I had my plane ticket, I was set to volunteer in the labyrinth and then I got terribly sick and could not go. Oh, how truly sad I am that I did not get to go and be there for it all. Love it, hate it, dislike it or not; if you were there, you experienced something that some of us would give our right arm to attend. It is truly a blessing to experience your convention. I just hope I get to again in the future.

  35. I think you are spot on with the conservatives angry emails (note: their emails are angry, not the people) and the liberals refusing to return. In fact there is a great TEDTalk by Jonathan Haidt called “The real difference between liberals and conservatives” which I think supports your claim, Marko.

    I was an exhibitor and did not attend any of the general sessions (although I did peek in on two of them). However, I am familiar with most of the speakers and appreciate (not agree with) their viewpoints on issues. Honestly, I was surprised by complaints I overheard about YS “forcing their ‘agenda’ down people’s throats.”

    Marko, know their complaints are signs of their growth. Thank your for all you do for youth workers. Keep up the good work!

  36. Marko,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. My husband and I were two of those “wide-eyed rookies” in Nashville, and with good reason. We’d never been to such a convening of youth workers, speakers, bands, seminars, free time, new friends, generosity, and FUN!!! For all that Nashville was, I thank you.

    Thank you for pouring into me in the same way I pour into my students. Thank you for telling me that God loves me. Thank you for providing a place where there were 5000 other people just like me – no worries about what the parents will think of my outfit, etc. Thank you for creating a space where everything is about the love of God, and how we can pass that on. Thank you for all your work. It was appreciated!
    Merry Christmas!

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