A few thoughts and highlights as I get ready to head home...
- Overall, the conference has been a great one. From my perspective it feels like there were lots and lots of new topics offered in seminars, the general sessions were solid and as always it was a weekend jam packed with coffees and meals with old and new friends.
- I think my only complaint (complaint feels like way too harsh a word...) is the length of the general sessions that were often THREE hours long. I find it really, really hard to stay put for that long. I typically found myself slipping in later and later each session. Last night I snuck in just in time to hear Tony Campolo. The general sessions have always been long, but for some reason they felt longer than usual this year.
- Tony Campolo: As always one of my favorite speakers because he says a bunch of stuff I don't totally agree with, and forces me to re-think my theology, my world view and my methods of living out my faith in Christ.
- The exhibit hall was, as usual, a strange mix of publishers, camps, mission organizations, fund raising opportunities, universities etc. However, this year there seemed to be more than the usual amount of just plain weirdness.
* Hume Lake's booth was an opportunity to ride a mechanical unicorn while people in Elves costumes cheered you on and blew soap bubbles all around you. Your prize was a fake mustache.
It was like an acid trip meets strawberry shortcake meets cotton candy meets that candy mountain cartoon on youtube.
* There was a guy dressed up in a vampire costume promoting some sort of "Bite" ministry.
* Another guy had a huge snake around his neck.
- I felt like the seminars I taught were average. My first one was a 2.5 hour introduction to middle school ministry. I tag-teamed with my friend April Diaz who is a super sharp young youth minister. It was well received but I'm realizing I'm not a great person to teach alongside because I'm long winded, go off on tangents, get out of order etc. and I'm sure it was frustrating for April at times. The second seminar was on the topic of ministering to the parents of middle shoolers. It is a subject I've never formally taught on and an area in our ministry that has lots and lots of holes in it, so I felt somewhat insecure in presenting the seminar, but hopefully it provided some insight and encouragement.
- I haven't bought anything yet, so I think it's time to make a final pass through the YS bookstore.