David and I spent the weekend attending the first Maven parent and leader conference in Laguna Hills, CA. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be writing and podcasting more on what we learned attending the conference. I wanted to put out some of my initial reactions to the training provided for you all.
Incredibly Knowledgeable Speakers
Brett and Erin Kunkle, Cindy Rollins, Jonathan Morrow and J. Warner Wallace all did exceptional jobs with their main sessions and Q&A sessions. John Stonestreet was not able to attend as planned due to a family emergency. We here at Tent Making Christianity offer our prayers to him and his family during this trying time. The other speakers did an admirable job filling in for him during his planned main and breakout sessions.
When you attend these types of conferences, what you see is an end product. These speakers in particular are skilled at presenting their material. What you don’t see is the hundreds of hours of research and planning that go into these presentations. We owe this group a huge debt for the endless hours of tediously compiling data from different sources. Through their efforts, we get a much clearer picture of the problem facing us.
These People Care
These speakers care. They are not just speaking to sell books or to gain fame. They have a passion for equipping others to reach Gen Z. It comes through in their presentations and in the conversations you have with them as individuals. They do not disappear after they are done speaking. They stay to engage and encourage those in the audience that wish to speak to them further on any number of topics.
Many of these speakers have been generous to a fault in helping us with Tent Making Christianity. We would not be where we are today without them. Their encouragement and support have meant the world to us. We truly appreciate all they pour into so many other’s ministries, and not simply their own. This community of believers is one of the most generous we have encountered. We hope to be as generous if given the opportunity to help those just starting out in their own enterprises.
What Was Taught, And Where We Go
The main focus of this conference was to train parents and youth leaders to disciple Gen Z. if you’ve followed us for any length of time, you know that we are continually drawing attention to the youth exodus taking place in our churches. David and I are no stranger to the numbers of youth leaving our congregations. But the numbers for Gen Z are predictably worse than any other generation that came before it.
Jonathan Morrow summed up the theme for the weekend best. “We as a Church have been preparing our youth to fight the wrong battle”. What we see is an emphasis on evangelism. But what we as a church have failed to grasp is that we are asking our young people to evangelize when they don’t even believe what they are being taught. They know how to speak the language. They know the right things to say. But they are leaving. If we don’t become intentional about changing the way we disciple our young people, we can expect more bad news each and every time a new study is released. Some of us are committed to making the needed changes. Are you?
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