Let me just start out by saying that the ONLY reason I have not been able to update this throughout the conference more often is because both the conference center and the high end hotel that we are in (renaissance hotel) charges like 13 bucks a day for internet. What is funny about this is that the Motel 8 that my roommate stayed at thursday night had both free internet and free breakfast. This 'high class' hotel over charges for both of those. Furthermore the convention staff for the actual center have been really rude in a weird uncomfortable way. With that said, really, those are the only complaints. And are minor ones.
So to start out with let me just say that I could have went home after the first day and felt that this trip was well worth the money!
During the first general session we were able to hear Francis Chan (pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California) speak about being real to scripture, being real to Jesus and being real to ourselves about what the bible says and what it says about Jesus and how he taught his people. He spoke from the book of Acts and re-evaluated how the church does church and how the church should be biblical in how we see and are the church. His heart was pure, you could feel the passion coming from him. He actually spent some time steeping down for a while from his church while he did some soul searching, spending time with God and asking how do I do this right before he came back. It challenged me to deal with real life and a real bible that says real things. And to be willing to discuss and have the courage to say things that sometimes need to be said without causing division. We need to reflect Christ's love in all we do. And that is Crazy Love.
The David Crowder Band was amazing as always. Nothing else really needs to be said. My good friend Ty and I had the pleasure of meeting David Crowder and a few of his band mates. Pictures were be up soon!
I also had the pleasure of having my picture taken with Marko and Tony Campolo. They were waiting for an elevator so I didn't have much time to do anything but thank them for all they do, Marko (president for Youth Specialties) is a great leader and a great person to look to for ideas on Middle School Youth Ministry or Youth Ministry as a whole.
I went to a seminar session put on by Duffy Robbins who usually does a great job with his sessions, however, this session did not meet my expectations because the content was different than I had planned for. He wrote a great book with Doug Fields called "Speaking to Teenagers", but the session did not follow the general direction of the book. The conversation was based more around physical technique, notes, and stand and body placement.
The last session was amazing. We had our second set from DCB along with great talks from both Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo who really challenged me in the realm of where Christianity is in the light of politics and social justice while sticking to the Biblical text. There was another Christian speaker (can't remember name-I will fix this tomorrow) who spoke about Gay and Lesbian communities and individuals and how to live among them and minister to them in our current cultural back set while still being Jesus to them,
Overall it has been a blast. YS is doing a great job!
The evening after all the events Ty and I went into town which is flooded with bars/restaurants where VERY GOOD and talented musicians are playing in each one. about 8 per block. So we saw a rockabilly band for a while in one pub, then we went to another to hear some Nashville to hear some country.
I stayed up very late this night after arriving to Nashville from a very tiring red eye flight. So WORTH it!