On Sunday afternoon, the few remaining Cleveland found ourselves sitting at meals and in hotel lobbies recalling the moments that touched us. Here is my top 8 in no particular order.
1) Lee Nagel quoted me.
Lee Nagel keynoted the first conference I ever attended in youth ministry. I can still remember watching him on stage. I learned a lesson from him at the conference that informs the way I do ministry to this day. Not only did I get to introduce him, but he quoted things I had said earlier in the conference. Humbling.
2) Have my parents and peers meet each other.
There are so many people who have helped me to grow and change because of the work we are blessed to do. Many of them were in Cleveland. It was a blessing for my parents to meet these people and these people to me my parents.
3) Watching Steve Angisano at dance practice
There is no who takes dance practice more seriously. “Make your sparkle fingers pop!” All of this is rooted in wanting to put on the very best show for the people we love. As much as people love the show we put on Saturday, it can’t hold a candle to rehearsal. In less than 2 hours we put the show together. It is so much fun watching these people I love put there heart in the ridiculousness that we have written for them. It took one e-mail that read, “find ugly Christmas sweeter” to start smack to talk on who could find the ugliest. It is a great moment of community and support.
What we all need
Why I am going to hell
4) Building relationships with the sound, lights, and stage crew
The crew from DWP love this event. As house manager said, “We do jobs all year, but we love being here.” There are dedicated to provide a quality event. They did some many things that no body could see. They always did it with a smile.
5) Hearing conference participants share the moments of the weekend that touched then.
It felt like I was running small group all week. People I have never met walked up to me to tell me what they had learned, how they were challenged, or the moon walking bear that they had just found. It was amazing to know such growth was going on, and the at they need to make sure I knew about it.
6) Being aware enough to savor the opportunity of a lifetime to host this conference
The third time I ever juggled in public it was on the steps of the US Capital in front of 8000. I was just worried about doing my thing. Two hours later the drum of the “Checkered Cabs” walked off stage and looked at saying, “I just played my heart out on the Capital Steps and my parent saw it.” I realized I had missed the chance to savor the moment. I didn’t miss the moment at NCCYM. It is very likely I will never have the chance to fill that role again at this conference. I drank in and savored every moment. I was never in a rush. I brought none of the worries of what was going on back stage or the planning that still needed to be done for later parts of the conference. When I was on stage I simply soaked up the blessing that was that time on stage.
7) Seeing Joia Farmer thrive on stage
There are no words to describe how much I love Joia Farmer. It was so amazing to stand in the wings listening to the other musicians go on and on about how amazing she is. Having people like Kate Cutty turn to Bobby Fischer say, “You can’t leave until you hear Joia.”
8) Getting to say this to people I admire
Welcome. Thank you. I love you!