I really enjoyed my learning time through all the breakout groups, labs, seminars, and my pre-conference option. The best part compared to “other” conferences I’ve been to in the past…it was about learning and growing together and not about trying to sell me a book. In the past I have been to labs where they basically read the back of their book cover, teach the first chapter and tell you that they just released a book that you can purchase in the conference book store. This wasn’t the case. It was about group learning. Almost every presenter that I attended was writing notes from other youth workers in the room when they shared ideas. There was great feedback and discussion in our breakout groups during all my labs.
All of the presenters were “Authentic”. They shared their struggles, they didn’t take the time to brag about their groups, and they expressed that they have real problems as well. They took the time after to stand and answer and ask questions with participants. They weren’t in hurry to get somewhere else. They walked and talked with you on their way to session if you still had more questions. They made themselves available into the late hours.
Over the past couple years I have heard from other friends in youth ministry about the “All-Star” youth pastors…the ones that write books, speak at events, and have large groups. But let me tell you that this was the first conference that I’ve experienced that didn’t have “All-Stars”. Everyone was equal here and were very approachable. We are all in the trenches together. We are all on the same team. Everyone there were “Kingdom” minded.