at SHIFT 2008.

09 Apr

I’m sitting in my hotel room only 2 miles from Willow Creek, having just completed the first day of the SHIFT conference, a conference for youth leaders, volunteers, and students. It’s my first youth conference since becoming a youth pastor, and I must say, I’ve been quite impressed. I was telling Amy today just how comprehensive, pastoral, and even, dare I say, impromptu, everything was. Although I knew the speakers (Brian McLaren, Mark Yaconelli, Shane Claiborne were just TODAY) were high quality, I was sure that Willow itself and its staff would make me cringe with its commitment to hyper-efficiency, overproduction, and extravagance. And I must repent at the end of today, having experienced what I have. The worship leader, Charlie Hall, cut out half of his planned set after the second session after listening to Mark Y. talk about the need for silence in our lives, and allowed us to continue sitting in the grief that the silence was stirring up inside all of us. Bo Boshers, Willow’s youth exec, teared up after Shane’s presentation and again broke the day’s planned protocol so that Shane could come back up and pray again for us. All of Charlie’s music selections reflected both a deep pastoral conscientiousness of the subject matter, and attention to worship metaphors and pronouns (he had about the right balance of using You-We-I pronouns, in that order of frequency, instead of the usual I-You-We). And as expected, the speakers were all profound, prophetic, and yet still pastoral and loving (especially Mark, with whom I was less familiar). While I remain wary of megachurches in general, I repent tonight of my stereotypes. I thank Willow for providing this needed spiritual and intellectual sustenance for so many youth workers, newbies (like me) and experienced. And I eagerly await tomorrow’s fare.

Check out the blog discussions on Out of Ur for the conference.


Posted by on April 9, 2008 in church, emergent, theology, youth


3 responses to “at SHIFT 2008.

  1. gavin richardson

    April 9, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    that is a great wrap up for the day. i share many of your sentiments about mega-church and what comes with that package. today was a very good day however. i’m adding you into the conference blogroll that i’ve compiled. unless you say otherwise., are you at the hilton garden inn? i am there and it is just two miles away from the church. just wondering.

  2. Josh Whitler

    April 10, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    hey gavin… I am at the La Quinta, actually, just south of the beltway…so you’re real’d be cool to catch you at some point tomorrow… if there’s time.

  3. jimkastkeat

    July 10, 2009 at 10:04 am

    You know, now that I think about it, I feel like I may have sat right behind you at the first session of Shift08. Did you have the shaggy hair/goatee combo then?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: