YouthWork Summit 2014 Reflections

For those who are unaware of this event: the Summit is a one day event with a programme crammed with a wide variety of speakers who speak for 10mins on their topic. The team who organise the day work hard to bring a balance not only of male/female speakers but also of internationally-known/nationally-known/locally-known speakers and also a wide age-range. All of them are people with a passionate faith, all of them people who are prepared to be open and honest about their own journey.

As usual I have come away from this event with my mind packed full of challenges and inspiration! I want to pull out some highlights in order that I can reinforce for myself those things I recognised as important for my own journey and in doing so hopefully I’ll whet your appetite to find out more, which you can do here: https://www.youthworksummit.com/inspire

So, rather than try and do a set number of highlights I’ll just go for it and see how many I get to!

  1. Kenda Creasy Dean: Look alive, look alive because the vultures are circling [the church because they sense death is near]. It’s not true death they are sensing but CHANGE. It is massively important that the church doesn’t miss what God is doing. This is so much the song of my heart that I got pretty emotional right from the start!
  2. Rev Rachel Mann, Alex, Dan and Andrew Marin gave us a huge challenge in acceptance of those who are currently at best on the fringes of Church community, and at worst being completely ostracised and forced so far into the closet where there is no space to breathe. These guys were astonishing in their compassion, eloquence, honesty, and grace-filled challenge.
  3. Katherine Welby-Roberts encouraged us to open up to our young people (and all others in our church community!) and allow them to see that we are broken too. Growing up isn’t about becoming ‘perfect’ or having everything sorted, growing up is about knowing where we are broken and working with God, allowing him to repair us.
  4. Micah Purnell is a Manchester based print artist who exhibited his stuff at the Summit. One poster print in particular caught my eye and it said: The end of the world for a caterpillar is a butterfly. This really speaks directly into my own situation right now!
  5. Ian Henderson talked about appetites and porn addiction, encouraging us to be the Davids which topple the Goliath of the porn industry.
  6. Nick Shepherd used the picture of a spider versus a starfish to illustrate dealing with change.
  7. Shane Claiborne was so challenging and inspiring, his comment that the gospel is not spread by force but fascination really resonated! And the question: What does all our church stuff have to do with Jesus? Just blew me away.
  8. The prayer space was fantastic, and I think, very much needed.
  9. As usual it was great to meet up with friends I’ve made previously at the Summit and to meet new people.
  10. A very memorable train journey home, not only because of the delays, but because God was still speaking to me (and others!).

As usual the Summit provided me with an escape from the pressures and strain of ordinary life. It’s good to hear so many different voices either agreeing with your own heart or making you think.

So thank you, Youth Work Summit team. You guys are great!

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