Did you know that DFW airport is the same size as the island of Manhattan? And it takes 30 minutes to get ANYWHERE in Dallas. And that really there are like 8 million little towns that are pretty much considered “Dallas”. I would NOT want to live there! Visiting was almost too much. But the nation of Dallas isn’t what this post is really about.
Tammy, Aaron, Rose, Charlotte, and I went to Dallas for Jeanne Mayo’s National Youth Leaders Conference called Epicenter (never really understood why it was called by like 3 different names). It was really great. I had heard clips of Jeanne teaching, but never heard a whole one and had never seen her live. I loved her! The other speakers were really awesome too, Ed Young, Judah Smith, Rev GH Williams, and Greg something (“You need a tic-tac, Jack!” LOL). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take notes because I was too busy trying to handle an 8 month old (childcare people, is that too much to ask for?!), so I’m glad we got the recordings. Now I need to go back and listen to the sessions and really take notes. Even though I wasn’t able to write anything down, I did learn a lot.
Its hard to put it into points, but the overall impression was “family”. You can’t work your tail off trying to build a “ministry”. Family is the only thing that will last. Programs, events, and stuff will fade and fall apart, but bonds and love won’t. Its all about family. Oh, and Tuesday was old school Tuesday… Aight, Sweet! … nevermind, you wouldn’t get that.
Well, now I have to fight the usual knee-jerk reaction you get when coming out of a conference- Just trash what you have and start over! I have to honestly evaluate what would and wouldn’t work for Stage20, and begin to slowly make any changes necessary. Thankfully I have Tammy to help me navigate those things! But, with all that said, I learned a lot, and am looking forward to learning a whole lot more when I can finally take some notes!
One other thing I really came away with was a renewed purpose. If you talk to any one working with “youth”, they will tell you why the particular age group they work with is the most vital. Middle school leaders will tell you something about “getting them before they reach high school”, High school leaders will tell you something about “reaching them in a pivitol transistion time”, but I have to say that all of that is false. The BEST age to work with is Stage20.
When you are in college, or just fresh into the work place, you have such high ideals. You want to change the world… and you truly believe that you can! Most people don’t go to college just to get a degree so they can sit in a desk 9-5 M-F… they go to learn the skills needed to pursue thier passion, to learn to make the world a better place. They are finally doing something they want to do, and they are excited about it! No other group has more of a “whatever it takes” attitude! So if you can build a relationship with someone like that and help them focus that raw passion and potential … that is world-changing! So forget stinky middle schoolers and apathetic high schoolers … Stage20 is the place to be!!