Monday started off REAL early for me.  I was messed up be the time and my allergies were messing me up too.  Anyway I got up early and started off with some reading and writing over at Starbucks and then Annie, Sean and I all grabbed coffee before we headed into the final seminar and general session of the conference.  We just hung out got some coffee and caught up and debriefed.

We then moved over to Chap Clark’s final session, Deep Justice.  Chap Clark is a huge name in youth ministry, writing definitive the work on our society’s systemic abandonment of youth.  His most recent series of books focus on deepness in our shallow world, the first was Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and then that was followed by Deep Justice in a Broken World.  So Chap’s seminar this Monday focused on cultivating God’s justice in our world and in our teens.  His challenge was to move past mere service projects to moving toward lifestyles of justice; literally righting wrongs against God in this world.  He showed some statistics that better illuminate how often our ‘service’ helps neither those we serve nor us.  Chap’s work is always challenging but he speaks prophetically, calling we Christians to live as God created us to.

After the seminar with Chap, we went to the final general session, where we worshiped with The Glorious Unseen.  I personally felt like their music was a little too mellow, and a little too much mellow, but they were a good band so it will be fun to see what they do in these next few years.  We saw another AWESOME performance by The Skit Guys, they were hilarious and they broke character and they were even funnier in doing so.  Then Marko came up and he was great.  He spoke on the idea of belonging, and how we minister to youth to help them belong, but how we also need to work to find our own places where we belong.  He spoke passionately about our need for authentic community and connections and he really blessed us.  Marko has such a heart for ministering to those who minister to youth and he definitely did that throughout the course of the weekend and especially during his general session talk.

After that we went back to our hotel room at the Sacramento Hyatt.  The four of us, Sean Annie, Elli and myself debriefed about the weekend and talked about how would take some of the things we learned and implement them in our ministry back in Hawaii.  We came up with some cool concrete ideas and plans and we felt our time at NYWC Sacramento was invaluable.  We were ministered to, we learned a lot and we got to experience some killer worship (the worship experience is a little freer when you don’t have to run it).  We connected with other youth workers and realized we weren’t the only crazy people who think the way we do, there were 2500 others who were crazy like us and that is comforting and necessary for one’s sanity sometimes.  We loved the trip and really have a heart and desire to figure out a way to get our youth staff over to one of these in the coming years.  Well done YS and thanks.