Last week I was in “The O.C.” Orange County California is a fun place to visit and it was even more fun to be there as an invitee to the Youth Ministry Executive Council (YMEC). There were about 45 people gathered, the Presidents/Leaders in Student Ministries of the major church (denomination) and parachurch organizations. I was honored to be representing Youthmark at this gathering.
I knew and had interacted with well over half the people before and was blessed to spend some quality time in conversation with many of these familiar faces. I also enjoyed the new relationships and hearing different perspectives and strategies from others in Youth Ministry.
YMEC was done differently this year; a change I couldn’t have been more pleased with. Through the use of “Open Space Technology” many conversations were birthed. Instead of inviting a speaker to “speak at” the participants, we the participants were invited to speak into a variety of subjects and then see what rose to the top in our conversations.
I was very excited to see personal evangelism surface as an area that we, national leaders, better be emphasizing. It was very interesting to me that in most conversations, including these at YMEC, most people are very quick to give a head-nod of agreement that we (church/parachurch) should be emphasizing evangelism, but when it comes down to it it isn’t much more than a verbal recognition. Well, I felt the tide began to turn at YMEC. The voices that were speaking seemed to give it a little momentum and I actually felt like the proverbial Titanic could get turned around before it strikes a rock and sinks.
My friend Greg Stier described the moment I believe this started to take place in a recent blog post of his (read that here). Friends of mine like Greg, Mark Moder, Bo Boshers, Chuck Klein and Mark Matlock seemed to keep the ball rolling for the last half hour of the conversation, so much so that I literally was getting a little teary eyed thinking that if (and please pray) we really want to get serious about seeing the church, parachurch and individual call to evangelism taken seriously then we had better seriously take His call to prayer seriously!
I am praying for these three things right now.
1. Praying that my personal prayer life would grow tenfold and that a major component of those prayers would be for other orgs and churches as well as the lost!
2. I’m praying for unity to continue among these denomination and organizational leaders (and am willing to play my part in keeping the conversation going).
3. Praying that we (adults, leaders, parents, pastors, elders, etc.) all would understand that if we want to see evangelize/make disciples then we had better model it ourselves.
I’m willing to risk and be obedient to the call. I hope you are too. Let’s change the course the Titanic is on!