A few months ago, mutual friends, youth ministry thinkers, and fellow bloggers connected me up with Neil Christopher. Neil is a youth worker down in Texas who shares a similar vision and passion as so many of us. Simply put, he was looking for a way for like-minded youth workers to connect, support, and affirm one another as we attempt to navigate the often muddy waters of progressive youth ministry.
Neil took his dream one step further and began an online community and youth network called Evo. I provided a link above for more information.
As one would imagine, there has been great response as youth workers around the country have found a place for their voice. So often, many of us feel isolated, frustrated, or disenfranchised with traditional forms or structures of church. We long for communities of affirmation, inclusiveness, connectivity and hope to be able to find it within the Church. Some have left. Others have stayed. But together we find commonality and unity in our journey of discovery and rediscovery of faith.
What started as a conversation online is now turning into a local gathering and conference of sorts down in Texas from Feb 24-25, 2011.
I have had the privilege of great conversations with Neil and have found yet another kindred spirit. Neil was gracious enough to ask me to speak at the conference, which I am honored and excited to do.
As I help Neil structure Evo, our main concern is to come alongside youth workers and provide a platform of dialogue revolving pertinent issues we all face.
So, here is my question and would love some responses, ideas, input, etc…
1) What would be some good topics for potential seminars or break out group?
2) What do you feel are the pressing issues facing emerging youth workers?
3) What will be the main issues that youth ministry must address in the year(s) to come?
4) If you were able to attend Evo, what would you hope to see there? What could make this conference different than others?
Please share some answers to these questions and be on the look out for updates as well as the potential for regional affinity gatherings popping up in your area.
One thing that would be great and different is some time to gather and just brainstorm and work together to come up with something new. There’s too much of what we’re doing wrong, and too many “here’s what works for these people” and not enough dialogue.
I agree with Beth. There needs to be room for dialogue.
I actually just attended the NYWC (The Youth Specialties Conference) in San Diego and I thought it was wonderful. But many times I did feel somewhat alone in my, for lack of a better term, progressive perspective. I have a few ideas for good seminars (like one on networking with more conservative churches and ministries, one on balancing identity among those who disagree with you… perhaps being honest about who you are without getting beat up for it, and maybe even something on implementing old ideas in “new” churches and new ideas in “old” churches… oh, and why not something about training volunteer leaders) but I think the most important thing is not to let the pendulum swing too far. There still has to be practical visioning and stuff for beginners… you know, some of the things they still do well at Youth Specialties… even if you’re “emerging.”
I think the best way to distinguish yourself isn’t just in the content of the seminars but in the speakers and artists you invite to your larger gatherings.
Keep us posted on this… I’m interested in attending.
great thoughts and ideas. thanks for sharing. I will pass this info on. keep me posted as well