Sorry folks, but I have to break Sunday up into 2 parts so here is the first part of the day.

We started off Sunday with a slower morning with Ellie.  She got tons of sleep and so did we.  We headed over to the convention for the morning general session and I got to see my first session of worship led by Starfield.  Those guys have such awesome hearts and a wonderful ministry.  They are just a killer band and led us in worship in a really cool way.  I’m jumping ahead of myself though, the morning’s artist was Shane and Shane and they actually also started the time in a worship-ful way.  We also loved these guys because they are some awesome, burly men.  If you hear their music you may be tempted to think they are small, sickly, whiny guys, but they are quite the opposite.  They are fun, funny, burly men who have some killer tenor voices.

The morning’s speaker was Mark Yaconelli.  Mark has a really cool, interesting relationship with youth ministry and with YS.  Mark’s dad, Mike, founded youth specialties with another guy 40 years ago this month, and youth ministry has not been the same.  With that history, one would expect this guy to rebel against ministry and youth ministry and probably YS, but instead he champions youth, ministers to them and participates in YS conferences every year.  What a cool story.

Mark is such a godly man, and he has a beautiful gift and heart for tending souls.  He ministers to souls getting people to experience God in deep, impacting ways, and Sunday’s message was about the soul.  It’s quite interesting and coincidental (I don’t think God makes coincidences, I think they’re purposeful) that Phyllis Tickle’s message the day prior mentioned how one of the issues our generation must wrestle with is that of the soul.  She talked about how our generation must decide what constitutes humanity, and if the soul is where the imago dei resides and if so, what that soul is.

Mark talked about what the soul is.  He talked about the soul holding our sense of wonder, our grief and mourning, and underlying, infiltrating joy.  He showed how his young son started “the slow club” and taught him to slow down and wonder at God and creation.  He talked about his own experiences of grieving over his parents’ divorce, and how he found joy in listening and dancing to disco music in his room.  He finished by sharing how he felt God and God’s joy while ‘boogying’ to that disco music.  He closed up telling a story about a jr high dance, and how no one danced (typical of a jr high dance), and how he was shocked by that, since his only exposure to dancing was his innocent and joyful boogying alone.  The DJ finally stopped the music and turned the lights on, announcing that since no one was dancing, he was going to end the music.  Mike tells how he went and pleaded with the DJ for one more song, that he would dance his heart out if even if no one else would..

He then described the situation, “ The lights went back out,” then the lights in the hall we were in dropped out.  “The disco ball lit up,” then the disco ball on the bands’ stage in our hall lit up.  “The music started bumping,” a disco song was cued up in the hall, and the lights came back up to reveal Mark changed into a disco shirt and pants, and he started dancing his heart out!!!  He was boogying classic, joyful, disco moves with a giant, sincere smile on his face.  The moment was so moving that about a dozen people in the crowd made their way up to the stage and started dancing with him.  As the song finished and the dancers started moving off the stage, you could still see Mark Yaconelli with a giant smile on his face, high-fiving and hugging the other dancers he’d never before met.

Starfield was on stage, and the leader singer said, “How do you follow that?” and simply began the worship set.  It was a great time of worship.