What do you get when you put 70 youth ministers in one room?
It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, and I’d be curious to hear the punchline if anyone can come up with it, but this week 70 youth ministers were put in one place to talk about the Incarnation, to pray, to sing, to talk and to laugh. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced anything like it.
The inaugural Thetacon is what got us all together, and I wish I could articulately explain everything that happened and all that was thought about, but I’m afraid my I’m still processing a lot of the information, and still blown away by some of the conversations. Instead, I’m going to give you the top 10 moments of Thetacon – in my opinion.
10. The sleepy mornings, when you drag yourself out of bed and stumble out of your room to be greeted by blinding sunlight over a beautiful view that reminds you that you’re not at your house – but somewhere totally different, where something great is in store.
9. Responses to the papers written & presented by Graham Stanton and Michael Jensen. They were helpful in both thinking through the nitty gritty theology and also in applying the reality of the incarnation to ministry in a God glorifying way. For one response, scamper over to Dave Miers’ blog.
8. Conversations with people who I know by name, and have had a few interactions with, that went beyond small talk and into the realities of life & ministry.
7. Laughing hysterically by a bonfire while theorising about how Joel might re-enter the group – including a Batmobile, skydiving, emerging from fire, and many others.
6. Mealtimes with conversations that provided much food for thought, and desserts that made me feel like a little kid again in the best of ways. When did Sunny Boys stop being cool? Never.
5. Singing together. Wow! The conference was mostly guys, which isn’t shocking, but the sound of a bunch of people singing loudly about Jesus is something everyone should hear.
4. The presentation of papers, and knowing how much thought had gone into them beforehand. It wasn’t just an exercise in growing our brains. It was an exercise in growing our knowledge and love of Jesus, and deepening our ministries so that teenagers can know & love Jesus more and more too.
3. Praying. SO MUCH PRAYER. We prayed for senior ministers, for kids ministry, for teenagers, for colleges, and for each other. It wasn’t just a novelty added onto what happened – it was at the core. That makes all the difference to me.
2. Community. Genuine, real community, where people didn’t pose as someone they’re not, where humility was found, where people cared about others, where conversations were saltier than the sea, and people truly loved each other.
1. God was glorified. SO MUCH.