Well it’s been a day since I got back from the Middle School Ministry Campference. It was an incredible weekend and God showed up in big ways. While I’m sure I’ll be processing for a while I wanted to give some initial thoughts from the weekend.

I love my tribe. Middle school youth workers are some of the most warm and welcoming people on the planet. Every conversation I had this weekend was encouraging and challenging. I didn’t get a taste of ego or jealousy from anyone the entire weekend. In addition, I heard from many people who are taking risks to make their ministries more effective. I am proud to call these innovators my tribe.

The Youth Cartel is where it’s at. I’ve been to plenty of youth worker events, but Marko and Adam are doing some of the most innovative training out there. They give you up close access to the leaders/thinkers in youth ministry while simultaneously discovering and promoting new voices. Having spent a good chunk of time with both Marko and Adam this weekend, I appreciate how they care for the people they are serving.

I have hope about the future of youth ministry. Marko finished the weekend talking about hope. He challenged us not to have hope in programs, skills, or strategies. He encouraged us to move beyond blind optimism. Hope is birthed out of knowing the truth about the brokenness of this world. As we acknowledge reality, God enters into our world and hope comes as a gift. I must have hope, not because we are getting better as youth pastors, but because Jesus entered into our world. He gave youth workers a nagging inner hurt for our teenagers. This burden longs for a realized future rescue. As long as that inner hurt is still present, we know that Jesus is at work and there is hope.

Much thanks to Spring Hill Camp in Seymour, IN for hosting us and Group Work Camps, Simply Junior High and CIY for sponsoring the weekend.