Friday, November 18, 2011

Blogging from NYWC--Thursday

First things first--The Atlanta Marriott Marquis is massive. It's like its own city. There are four lobbies. Fortunately, there are little cheat sheet plaques in the elevators that
list some of the things you can find on each floor. But sometimes I still get it wrong.

There are people with bullhorns everywhere. They stand in the street to direct people to the Civic Center for Big Room events. They were standing in one of the lobbies to direct people to registration, the bookstore (dangerous!) and the Exhibit Halls. It's loud.

There are two massive exhibit halls giving away enough swag to require another piece of luggage on the way home. And the bookstore is just the right size to be dangerously manageable.

It feels a little lonely. I feel like I'm one of the only people here by myself. But it took about an hours for me to get over that. Now I appreciate it. I appreciate being able to come and go as I wish and not needing to coordinate with other people. I'll be happy to come with other people next time, but this is good for now.

Now let's talk about Mark Yaconelli. Before I started at Grace in 2010 I knew zilch about youth ministry. Let's face it...that's mostly still true. But I happened to be looking through a Cokesbury catalog and saw a book called Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus. It didn't sound like your typical youth ministry book, so I bought it as well as Growing Souls: Experiments in Contemplative Youth Ministry.

Oh my goodness did they make sense to me. I read and reread. I took notes. I decided that Mark Yaconelli was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I hemmed and hawed about coming to NYWC. Would it be worth it? Do I want to leave my family for four days? Is it going to be all skinny, hipster guys with goatees? But when I saw that Mark Yaconelli was directing a Spiritual Retreat the day before the event started--not a seminar about leading spiritual retreats, but an actual Spiritual Retreat--my mind was made up.

And it did not disappoint.


Anonymous said...

Hee Hee - Skinny, Hipster guys with goatees. ;-)>

Anonymous said...

Beautiful place. I forget what floor it is, but they have a huge window at the end of the hall and you get a beautiful view of Stone Mountain. Oh, and you can feel the building move! Enjoy the rest of your retreat!