Youth Workers Are Still My People

Above you can watch Jeff Chu deliver one of the two talks at last week’s Progressive Youth Ministry conference to receive a standing ovation. The other was given the next morning by H. Adam Ackley, a transgender theology professor who was dismissed from Azusa Pacific University last year. Each of them spoke out of their own experience of being queer in their youth, and each of them explained how they could have been better ministered to by their churches.

And we listened.

Other speakers addressed how women are portrayed in rap and hiphop music, what “death of god” theology could mean in a confirmation class, what kind of youth pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was, and why process theology doesn’t suck. Otis Moss III preached us in, and Laura Truax preached us out. In other words, the content was amazing.

But something even more important happened last week at Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago.

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Some Big News…

Thanks for your patience with my sporadic blogging as I write my book. But I did want you to know about a couple opportunities coming up…

Boundary Waters Theological Canoe Adventure

Join me for five days in the amazing Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of northern Minnesota. We will canoe through some of the most beautiful, pristine wilderness in North America by day, and in the evenings we’ll discuss the doctrine of creation based on our readings and experience. The cost is $750 and includes all camping and canoeing gear and food.

The dates are May 29 – June 3 (you could fly into MSP on the morning of 5/29 and out on the evening of 6/3). The deadline to register is this Friday, and only 5 spots remain. REGISTER HERE. If you have any questions, please email me.

Christianity21 Phoenix: Rising from the Ashes

Following on the amazing success of Christianity21 Denver, we’re thrilled to announce the return of C21 — this time in the even warmer climes of Phoenix! The theme this time is “What needs to rise from the ashes of the church?” and we’ve already revealed some of the awesome speakers. See who they are and register here.

Dates: January 22-24, 2015. Cost $179 (Super Early Bird).

Progressive Youth Ministry

Last week was breathtaking — more on that tomorrow — so much so that we’re announcing the second annual Progressive Youth Ministry conference, taking place again in partnership with Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. Register early, cuz it’s sure to sell out.

Dates: March 18-20, 2015. Cost: $179 (Super Early Bird).

Save $50 This Week on Progressive Youth Ministry

This week only, register for Progressive Youth Ministry (before it sells out) and save $50.

What Is It about Christianity21?

Paul Soupiset sketches at Christianity21. (Courtney Perry)

Before last week, Doug and I hadn’t run a Christianity21 conference since 2009. We’d run some others — both our own and in partnership with others — and some had gone quite well. We’d also run dozens of Social Phonics Boot Camps during that time. But people kept asking us to run another C21. Those requests came both from people who were at the first C21, and from those who’d heard about it over the years.

We knew that we didn’t have the bandwidth to resurrect C21 alone, so Sarah Cunningham came on board as the event’s producer. Christianity21 is more high-maintenance than other conferences because there are 21 speakers in just over 48 hours, and there are another 40+ 7-21 Talks (those talks are 7 minutes long). We could not — nay, would not — have run C21 without Sarah.

Sarah Cunningham giving some announcements. (Courtney Perry)

As Doug noted in the closing talk of the event, between Thursday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, attendees heard nearly 9 hours of content. Add to that the myriad conversations, new books purchased, and Heatherlyn songs sung, and the treasure of input was unparalleled.

Enjoying the “underground” 7-21 Talks at Christianity21. (Courtney Perry)

Never have Doug and I produced an event that was so unequivocally appreciated by all in attendance. Something magic happened over the weekend in Denver — something that we couldn’t plan for or make happen. Surely something that we could not manufacture. But something about the way that the various talks — both long (21 minutes) and short (7 minutes) — wove together a tapestry of beauty.

Charles Lee talked about innovation at Christianity21. (Courtney Perry)

Amy Jacober and child listen to a talk at Christianity21. (Courtney Perry)

So, the question remains as to whether we’ll run C21 again next year. If you’d like us to, I’d appreciate a comment in that regard. Also, let us know who you’d like to hear present. Doug, Sarah, and I all have full lives, and we run events on the side. So it’s never easy to decide how to go forward. Let me know what you think.


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