13 Anecdotes from More Than A Week
Last week there was no TT because I was in Colorado at the National Gathering of American Baptist Youth. See my previous post for a cursory description. Needless to say it was a life-changing event for all of us - even those who tried to stay detached. (There are always kids who do at these events!) So, today, in words and pictures, I'll try to give you a taste of what it was like to spend More Than A Week with 800+ teenagers.1.
MtW was a youth extravaganza like no other. It was filled with wonderful worship, dynamic dramas, energetic speakers and thousands of youth and young adult leaders who are on fire for Christ. We met on the mountatin for a conference that challenged us to find ways to transform our world. More than a week.....Equipped 4 LIFE. (This is the *slightly altered* description of the conference.)2.
We arrived Saturday evening - just in time to have dinner. After checking in, we did that first, then the first Praise and Worship was held that night.3.
By Sunday evening, I was sure we'd been there three days! My Youth, however, were just warming up. The mountain air and the beauty around us just seemed to inspire them. They headed off to workshops, Bible Studies, and met and made new friends - all without prompting from me.4.
There were speakers at each Morning Worship. The themes for each day were expounded on and, except for only one speaker, the kids hung on each speaker's every word. (They never do that at home at church!)5.
After dinner, we went back to Evening Praise and Worship. This was the time for the kids to just have a good time. The music was loud, the kids energized, and I lost my voice by Tuesday evening. (It didn't help that I went with a cold to start with - I was just as loud as the kids.)6.
During free time, the kids hiked, swam, played mini-golf, or just hung out with new friends. They were reminded to be careful of all the critters. Here are a few of our neighbors. I also saw a couple of rabbits. More than one youth reported seeing a moose.7.
Wednesday night was re-dedication night. It was heartwarming to see so many young people answer the call to Mission and rededication. I told the kids they were not allowed to make me cry. They ignored me and I was as much a watering pot as the rest.8.
We had two birthdays during the time we were there. For the first we bought cupcakes and surprised the birthday boy in the dining hall. For the second, we bought brownies and whipped cream to share at back-home time. We were sure he would have skipped dinner if he thought we'd do what we'd done on Sunday - so instead, the kids took the opportunity to sing Happy Birthday to him every time they saw him that day! He probably would have preferred the dining hall spectacle to the multiple reminders.9.
There were concerts for late night activities. It was a wonderful introduction to the spectrum of Christian music out there. They loved Stellar Kart
, had a great time with The Katinas
, and even enjoyed Da'T.R.U.T.H.
, who also led a workshop on HipHop and Christianity. One of the kids that went enjoyed it immensely.10.
The adult workshops were just as engaging. I enjoyed getting new insights into the lives of teenagers and learning how to reach out to that generation. It seems like it was so long ago that I was one, that I don't have a clue. I was glad to see that I wasn't the only adult leader who struggled with teen issues.11.
During each Evening Worship and Praise an artist created a painting. I tried to watch him work one evening, but the music kept calling to me (I loved the music as much as the kids did), so I went back to participating and, next thing I knew, it was all over and the picture was done.12.
Each morning and evening, the drama team acted out the story of the calling of Simon Peter.
At the end of the week, each participant received a journal to continue to study what they learned. Twenty-one days of Bible Studies and journaling to help them keep the energy alive. I have challenged my kids to do all 21 days and come back to me and tell me what they have learned. I'll keep you updated.BONUS:
There were 1300+ people at this conference from all over the United States. Even a group from Alaska made it. If you know any American Baptist Youth, ask them if they went, and (if they did) whether the week made an impression on them. I'll bet you'll be surprised at the answer.
Labels: ABY, National Gathering, Thursday Thirteen