Some might think I would be tired of the Old Spaghetti Factory. With three Youthmark Mission Venture lunches in the last week (four if you include the one Kirk did in Coos Bay, OR), I have had my fill of Spaghetti and Marinara. Here’s a quick recap of those lunches and the great folk I got to hang out with.
Portland. Kirk and I hosted about 30 folk at the OSF in Portland. This group was fun and energetic. Upon arrival the management had already set up our room with two very long tables of about 14-16 each. Well, this years promotional lunch is better suited for tables of 4-6 to promt better discussion. So, after some re-arranging we welcomed the group of Youth Leaders. The movement of the tables was very wise, the 5-6 tables had lively discussion. My prayer is that many of these leaders, who seemed to really grasp the Mission51 concept, will jump on board and do a YMV this year!
Tukwila. Last year the Tukwila (Southcenter) OSF played host to 56 youth leaders in the greater Seattle area. Tukwila served as our one marketing lunch for the region. My decision this year was to break into three lunches in the hopes we would draw more than the 56 from 2009. Hosting lunches in Lynnwood (23), Lacey (19) and Tukwila (31) was a good decision. I really enjoyed the Tukwila lunch in a different way than any of the other lunches. Almost everyone at the Southcenter OSF had been previously exposed to the YMV/M:51 strategy. In many ways it felt like family around the table! My prayer for this group is that my “home” area, while teaming with Youthmark can become the true catalysts in leading their students toward something greater than a mission trip; namely raising up students who are reaching their campus, club, community and church for Jesus.
Nashville. The National Youth Workers Convention was taking place in Nashville this last weekend. With the encouragement of my friends at YMToday.com (and Center for Youth Ministry Training), I did a last-minute marketing lunch to Nashville. It was a joy to see the South, participate in the NYWC, meet many new ministry organizational leaders and spend great time with my wife (and my in-laws who joined us). The Nashville OSF played host to 35 for lunch on Saturday. Because Youthmark is a little more known in the West I literally felt the pressure of making this lunch a meet and greet and mission/training presentation in one. On top of this, it came during the lunch break of the convention, which meant I had about 75% of the normal time and about 150% of the normal information I would give. Though I look back and wish I would have presented a little differently, it was a GREAT learning experience and I had wonderful conversations with youth leaders from all across the South and East. I’m praying that the door is open and that we gain momentum even this year with some churches in the South!
I’ll try to write later about some of the organizational leaders I got to meet with while in Nashville. It was a fantastic time for Youthmark in that regard.
When it was all said and done, the week filled with three OSF lunches obviously was not enough. Sunday night, Elisabeth’s parents and the Aaby couple decided to hit up the Spaghetti Factory one more time for dinner! Kudos OSF, your creamy pesto salad dressing continues to score!