NYWC Austin: Day 1

My dear friend and colleauge Marty C. and I arrived in Austin, TX about noon today, checked in at the hotel and wandered across the street (Marty to the cabdriver: "How close is the Austin Hilton from the Convention Center?" Cabdriver to Marty: "Close enough you can throw a rock at it.") to register for the convention.

As usual, it's a wonderland. The bookstore alone could take up most of my time, and watching the exhibit hall getting set up makes me truly excited to see how all the booths look and what they're offering. And walking through the halls and across the street and into the elevator and getting the little smile and nod from my fellow youth ministers (the one that says "I love it here too, buddy...") is a gift from God.

I've just come from Day One of the Critical Concerns course on media in ministry ("Digital Discipleship") and my first thought on leaving the room was "I need more stuff... more wonderful stuff."

After thinking about it, I had a much more helpful thought. It was "Yes, I can."

Yes, I can reach deeply into the stacks and piles of media that are out there overwhelming us all every day, and dig out things that will connect with my students, make them laugh, get them talking, send them home on a high note from our program.

Yes, I can reach out to an individual student with a "birthday card" video, or a quick text message before a big test, or podcast the retreat talk for the students who couldn't make it. Yes, I can make the video from the mission trip or the ski weekend or the fall kickoff look good, so they help draw people to our program, where we point them beyond the screen to Christ.

And yes, I can teach those students to work with the media themselves.

More than that, yes we can (as adult leaders) learn these new things.

One of the things that makes events like the NYWC most valuable is the number of times we can sit in a room full of our peers and learn to say "Yes, we can!"

Father God, bless this gathering in Austin. Grant us rest, away from our everyday. Let us put down our sins and our worries for the congregations we serve, knowing You are still there watching over them. Fill us with your light and let us hear your laughter while we are together here. Amen.

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