This is part 2 of Sam’s Story at NYWC 2019. If you missed part 1, click here.
Sam woke up Friday morning from a deep sleep, ready to face the day. It was a feeling he hadn’t felt in a while, since he first started in youth ministry. Over the past several years, he had become overwhelmed by keeping his ministry going. He was busy trying to figure out what he needed to teach, how to recruit more leaders, and dealing with church politics. But today was different.
After hanging out in his room for the morning, getting some much needed rest, Sam made his way over to the convention center. He walked around the exhibition hall booths and eventually grabbed lunch before going to the first Big Room, what NYWC calls their main sessions that everyone is expected to attend.
He was floored by the passion he witnessed from the main speaker, Albert Tate. As he spoke about Luke 7 and the need for companionship, Sam’s mind went to the people who had encouraged him over the years. He even thought about his new friends. He hoped he could continue that friendship once NYWC ended, but he also knew he needed to find similar companionship back home. He loved the reminder that Jesus sees him, and he began praying that he would continue to remember that after the convention.
Knowing that he needed to improve as a communicator, Sam went back to hear another one of Karl Romeus’ workshops. This time, Karl spoke about five keys to effectively communicate to teens. One of the biggest things that stood out to Sam was the first point. He had struggled to find his own voice. He had been trying to copy other effective communicators, but the students were not responding well. Karl reminded Sam that his own voice was important. He just needed to find it.
Sam also knew that there are some potential risks working with teenagers in our world today, so he checked out Marv Penner’s workshop on loving kids well in a #metoo world. The speaker really challenged Sam in several ways. He knew that it is was important to be careful, but he had never thought about some of the rules and procedures Marv suggested. He took lots of notes, but he knew that some would be difficult to implement. Discouragement began to settle in again, as he wondered how he could actually minister to teens today when he felt like all his best methods were being taken away from him. He thought, “How will I have the time to share the Gospel when I’m now going to be so busy keeping track of permission slips to text the teens?”
Thankfully, soon after, he saw some of the friends he had made the day before and they asked him to go to dinner. They chatted about their ministries and what workshops they had attended. When Sam got the opportunity, he shared his frustrations with what he learned in his last workshop and how difficult he felt it was going to be to do ministry. His friends affirmed his thoughts, and they morned together as they thought about the changes they would need to make in order to stay away from potential risk.
After dinner, Sam made his way back to the Big Room, where he heard three different speakers talk about the need for collaboration. As Lucas Ramirez, Reggie Joiner, and Danielle Strickland told their stories and shared their wisdom, Sam felt both convicted and energized. He had his marching orders, though. He knew there was now way he could do this alone anymore. For a while now, he had been overwhelmed by all the teens in his community who did not know Jesus. But in that moment, he felt hopeful again. He wasn’t called to do it alone.
Sam spent the rest of the night attending several of the late night options before heading to bed. He saw a bit of a concert, sat in amazement as a couple illusionists did tricks, and even met more people he would begin to call friends.
As he drifted off to sleep, his mind ran wild with what God could do in his community when people started working together on the same things.
I hope you’re enjoying Sam’s Story. Click here to read part 3 of Sam’s Story at NYWC 2019!