God is my Director

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Archive for November 13th, 2006

Youthwork the Conference: Southport

Posted by Martin on November 13, 2006

Just returned from this event so apologies for the absence of posts. Normal service has now resumed.

This was the first of the two Youthwork conference weekends, the second starting in Eastbourne at the other end of this week. I was on the speaking team, so you could possibly suggest some sort of bias, but I thought it was fantastic – although to be honest, it only made the jump from good to great during the final sprint.

The theme of the conference – Infinite Possibilities: Reimagining mission to the digital generation – was worked strongly through a huge programme of seminars looking at all aspects and definitions of mission to young people, and I hope every one of the 800 or so delegates who came along found something in there which they connected with – general feedback seemed to be very positive on the ground.

The main sessions, cut from five to four this year, were all of a high standard, with plenty of food for thought from speakers like Steve Holloway and Pete Greig (who appears to have morphed over the course of the last five years into the UK’s first Stoner-style Christian speaker) but the best of the lot came from Jill Rowe, whose ‘One life at a time’ call to seek out the lost sheep in youth ministry was simply stunning.

I can’t do her address justice – get hold of the CD if you can – but she set the place alight. And what was even more brilliant was that the best mainstage speaker at the conference (very possibly ever), was female. No token chick here. After she’d finished, leaving barely a dry eye in the house, the conference was treated to an equally stunning finale…

In a moment of ironic postmodern worship (we may have invented something new here, emerging church fans) worship leader Gareth Robinson chose to close the event with a funked-up rendition of… wait for it… ‘Shine Jesus Shine’. For 30 seconds, there was a lot of laughter, but something happened in the room, and suddenly it made sense. Perhaps these words are why:

‘As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story’

What a rousing and perfect way to end up a conference on mission. Can’t wait for next weekend.

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