In just over a week, I’ll be in Nashville, TN starting to help set up for the National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) put on by Youth Specialties (YS). With each convention I go to, there are always things I anticipate and I thought I might share those with you. This is part 1 (1-5) of my anticipations…
Reasons I’m looking forward to the NYWC: (in no particular order)
This has nothing to do with the actual convention, but its been 2 years since I’ve had Zaxby’s and I really like it. The route I’ll be taking from here to Nashville is the same route we took from GA to here for visits and to move – so I know exactly where one is along the way. Let’s just say I’ll be stopping by on the way down and the way home. Unfortunately, there are no locations in Nashville.
If you get a chance to stop by and enjoy Zaxby’s, might I recommend the Big Zax Snak Meal (chicken fingers, texas toast, fries, and zax sauce).
2. Connecting with old friends
One of the great things about a conference like NYWC is the ability to connect with friends who do not live close. In the past, I’ve been able to see friends from college and catch up. Being able to hear what happened after graduation is encouraging. I’ve also been able to connect with people I met at an earlier convention. The NYWC is like a reunion of sorts.
The other group I am excited to see again are the friends I have at YS and the other returning volunteers. It is always a highlight to get to spend long hours “working” during the week to just laugh, think, grow, and share. For me, these friendships are better than those camp friendships you made at summer camp over the years. I know I’ll have a blast just hanging out.
3. Meeting “online” friends
I have youth ministry friends whom I have never met in person and this week will be a chance to meet a few of them. There are friends from twitter (some people would call them tweeps). There are Facebook friends. There are YMX friends (though some of these friends have migrated to other areas of online friendship). And there are those people I have met through this blog or other youth ministry blogs.
Last year, I got to meet a few online friends at the St. Louis convention, which was pretty cool. I don’t know what to expect this year, but I have been more intentional about trying to connect at the convention. I must admit, I think its pretty awesome that the youth ministry world is so much “smaller” thanks to the internet.
4. Hearing stories from youth workers about what God is doing.
I love listening to other people share their stories. Hearing the stories of God transforming students. Hearing about how God is stretching and challenging youth workers. This is part of the week that I can never fully anticipate. No matter how much I “expect” to hear some great stories, I am always blown away with the extent of what God is doing.
5. Being challenged by general session speakers.
The general sessions are like church services; filled with announcements, videos, drama, mini concerts, praise & worship, speakers, prayer and some greeting. These 7 sessions are the only times most of the attendees are all together in the same place, doing the same thing. It is at times overwhelming.
I’m looking forward to speakers like Francis Chan, Mike Pilavachi, Andrew Marin, and Marko (we’ll see if we get an all new message this time).
I can’t wait to see what God has in store for this week. And if you are going to the NYWC in Nashville, I’d love to connect. Leave a comment or find me elsewhere online and let me know.