pittsburgh, so far, so good

the convention seems to be going great. have had so many meaningful conversations with wonderful people here — both private meetings and shorter hallway conversations. had my first primanti’s sandwich today — apparently a pittsburgh delicacy (a sort-of cheesesteak with fries and cole slaw in the sandwich). it tasted like a fun local thing made of bland filler and really thick wonder bread — but there was a certain “schtick” to the whole experience that was certainly fun.

so far, the general session talks have been mark yaconelli, doug fields and denise van eck — all of whom did a great job. interesting, all three of them brought what i would consider a challenge, rather than a message of encouragement (they were all encouraging, but their primary messages were more prophetic): mark talked about decreasing, and about really “seeing” our kids in the way that jesus saw people; doug talked about saying no to things (just kick my butt all over pittsburgh); and denise talked about “owning our stuff” as opposed to pushing it under the surface and hoping it will go away (comparing david and saul).

crowder’s been as fantastic as always. jars of clay did a short set — i love these guys because they are one of the few bands we have who truly understand who the audience is (youth workers) and love of them in a brilliantly unpretentious way. and there was a band i’d never heard of (i can’t remember their name!) who were just a kick — i laughed through much of their set, but not “at” them as much as because of them. the skit guys have absolutely nailed it this year.

the one life experience (an interactive “museum piece” experience of AIDS in africa, featuring the real-life stories of four children) is truly amazing, and has long lines of people wanting to go through it.

one tiny fun thing: i forgot my name badge one day when i went to the convention center. and i need one to get around in the back hallways. so i asked our reg queen to make me a new one. she made me an all access pass that just has “EL DORKO” for my name. it creates interesting conversations in the elevators and healthy laughs from the convention center staff.

12 thoughts on “pittsburgh, so far, so good”

  1. Marko,
    Pittsburgh has been so awesome. The general sessions have really been exactly what I’ve needed. The food here is great. And that band you were talking about was “Family Force 5”, good stuff. I just don’t want it to end. The Bald Guy

  2. Senor El Dorko!…that’s awesome. That might be a cool blog name…”yseldorko”….wish I was there marko! Lord be with you guys as you care and love youthworkers…:)

  3. You know Tim and I lived on the Southside of Pittsburgh, right? That’s where Tim stole the potatoes for our dinner, the druglord blew up our van, I got held up at knifepoint, and we got run out of town, remember??? Yes, Primanti’s with a nice, cold Old Iron– now we’re talkin’!

  4. oh my gosh! donna ellis! no way!!

    i didn’t remember it was pittsburgh, but i remember all those stories.

    great to hear from you donna. any chance you have pink hair?

  5. donna ellis of fire engine red fame? nice! (i used to play guitar w/ dan radmacher in the warehouse service…if that trips your memory as to who i am.)

  6. Glad to hear things are going well. Blessings on this convention. Continue to grow and stretch those who are there. Wish I was there. Maybe I need to get a job with you guys.
    Anyways, bring the word again during your keynote!!

  7. Dude, Doug Fields was amazing. Loved seeing Tic in the dunk tank … that was hilarious. Mark Yac was really challenging as well. Loved his list of people to unaffirm. That was hilarious. Skit Guys have been hittin’ home runs left and right … I’m looking forward to their late night tonight.

  8. glad to hear you partook of the primanti sandwich – a must for a visit to pgh. as well as a trip to “church brew works” – i didn’t get there (or to eatn’park, either!) this trip. next time we’re in pgh at the same time, i’ll take you to sharp edge beer emporium.

    great to see you!


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