I did some hanging out and purchasing of resources this afternoon, and then on to the General Session. The comedy group 321 Improv did a nice job of starting off the evening with some humor, but the laughing cake goes to the Skit Guys for their great (yet powerful) skit on Prayer. Possibly the funniest line of the evening: “O, for a holy kiss!”
Then Greg Stier gave a fantastic message on Challenging Conversations. He accurately summarized youth ministry as being “filled with challenging & controversial conversations.” He challenged us to listen to what our students believe. Hear them voice their beliefs, and then bring them to the Gospel. The Gospel, by nature, is controversial, yet it is also loving. The 2nd funniest line of the evening (and almost name for Greg’s Dare2Share): “Jihad for Jesus.”
After Greg’s message, Doug Fields gave an award to a remarkable 13 year old boy named Austin. This young boy founded a program called “Hoops of Hope,” a ministry that allows students all over the nation to raise money. With the money raised, Austin (with help from Compassion) has built a high school, medical clinic, and provided medical kits for thousands of people in Zambia. Even at 13 years old, Austin seemed bright, mature, and comfortable in front of a very large crowd. We gave Austin 2 standing ovations, plus a love offering at the door. Even while clapping for this young boy, I couldn’t help but realize that I have not done much.
On a personal note, I heard from the airline around 6:30 pm that my bag was on the flight from Philly to Cincinnati. Rejoice, my luggage would get here before I left!!! Alas, it was not to be. I called them at 11:15 pm and they did not know anything. They said a flight had just landed in Cincinnati from Philly, so I needed to call them back in an hour to see if my bag was there. I am a man of my word, so exactly 1 hour later (at 12:15 am) I called them, only to find out that their Lost Baggage Customer Service closes at Midnight EST. Talk about customer service! So now I know that it was not meant for me to have anything at the Conference but the clothes on my back. Even in this situation, it was still worth it.