Kenda Creasy Dean--
I think she had a good message, but it did not really come together the way her writing does and the way workshops I have went to in the past. It almost seemed like she was doing a workshop in a general session, with lots of "talk amongst yourselves" moments. But I hate those when they do the ra-ra at the beginning of YS gatherings, which is why I chose to leave the auditorium, visit the restroom, and get a pop during that time. Most of what I got out what Kenda was saying was to be a teachable person with your youth, and realize that they hear and know things about God that we are not listening to, and vise versa.
Efrem Smith--Gave a very inspirational message. It was a lot about grounding one's ministry in a strong relationship with God
Matthew Barnett--Did not go.
Mike Pilavaci-- The best message of the convention.
Shane Claiborne--Very inspirational message about his exeperiences of God showing up when we take risks to follow and serve God.
Phillip Yancey--Excellent message on prayer.
Marko (prez of YS)--Talked about the necessity of humility in ministry, while often admitting that he was humility challenged.
Tony Jones's Research Seminar--
An interesting report on a key multidisciplinary study on teenagers, and how what they reported effects the church and gives us open doors for humble partnerships with schools.
The thought that keeps coming back to me is the nature of thrill-seeking in adolescence, and how that relates to changes in brain chemistry and development. According to this research, much of the extreme thrillseeking stuff is tied to how motion and activity that used to stimulate in childhood fails to stimulate in adolescence. This was interesting because I had a friend working on a degree that did a study on adolescent boys, and almost all of them as teenagers said they grieved not being a child and a boy anymore. Hmmm.
Dan Kimball's talk on world religions--
There was not much new to me here. Most instructive was his process, as opposed to the apologetics end of things.
Helping Hurting Kids--
I looked at this as an opportunity to brush up my skills and information on issues, and maybe learn a few new things. With that attitude I was not disappointed, and I have copious notes. Most interesting to me was the stuff about cutting, and its comparisons to suicidal ideation. Many view cutting as a precursor to suicide. In my experience it sometimes has been. However, for most youth cutting is about living and coping with life, not about dying.
The discussion of this reminded me of a sociological study on race and violence and how different racial groups tended to process anger and subsequent violence differently. More about that at a later date.
Mark Matlock Seminars--
I ended up in two Mark Matlock seminars on Sunday. He offers a lot of good stuff. He is definitely conservative in his theology, but not offensively so.
The first workshop was about helping students grow in wisdom. It was very good. Especially his stuff about how he understood the relation between HOW PEOPLE CHANGE by HOWARD GARDNER (cognitive psychologist back east somewhere that did the MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES work that was the rage a few years ago) and discipling students.
The second seminar was about interacting with culture, which had some good ideas, but kinda betrayed he had not been spending a lot of time with teens one on one of late.
Experiencial Worship with Lily Lewin--
I ended up here cause I didnt like the first two seminars I attended. Her stuff was good, especially helpful in how we develop a creative process for creative worship.