Blogging from the summit - 2.0

So The Summit is the TED conference of youth ministry. Over the 2 days there were 18 different presenter and LOTS of amazing ideas. I thought i would share some of my favorites!

The first presenter of the conference was Bryan Loritts and to be honest, he was probably the best. He was definitely the best natural speaker. His context was also very good, maybe not the best but pretty freaken good! Bryan spoke on the soul and having a healthy soul. An idea that we all know but probably don’t live into, that in order to lead you must get the me out of the way or at least into a healthy place. At least that’s what i took from his talk. Here’s a quote from Bryan,

“I can’t be ruthlessly committed to me and produce a healthy we.”


I feel like that quote is the worth the price of admission. So true and so good!

Next we heard from Lem Usita. I was really excited to hear from Lem, he is a identity formation specialist and a college professor. I am, at best, a padawan - wanna-be - at identity formation but it is something that REALLY interests me. Lem talked about the 4 stages of identity formation; no commitment, commitment without knowledge, commitment to everything, exploration. The grace and truth that Lem brought were stunning, i loved it! For Lem each of these stages are honest and good. And his heart is to see students move and progress in their identity formation but encouraging them and affirming them right where they are at. I needed to be reminded of that. Lem really encouraged youth workers to provide healthy places for students to have environments of exploration.

I like it.

Holly Rankin Zaher spoke on ministering with integrity with our doubts. She said things like, “is doubt the opposite of faith or is certainty?” “Doubt is the catalyst to learning.” She was a little spastic but funny and shared a topic that i think church workers in general need to give more thought to.

My friend Paul Martin gave a great heartfelt talk, tossing out the nugget that maybe one our primary jobs should be to help students find what they love. He had some stellar guitar playing weaved into his talk, very TED of him. He also had some technical difficulties but gave a great talk.

Bethany Stolle is an environmental designer and talked aout something. I didn’t take good notes but i remember really liking what she said! I remember one of things that she said, it had to do with the idea the empathy is a key to designing for the user. I think that idea is really fascinating and something i want to keep in mind as i do ministry.

Crystal Kirgiss (sp ?) gave a very good but academic talk on adolescence and the idea that the category of adolescence has been around for a lot longer than we typically think. She encouraged that part of the role of adults and youth workers is to give adolescence the center stage and for them to be given room to figure out life, love and leading with the folks all around them. Pretty interesting stuff.

David Crowder made an appearance via Skype and was hilarious. He talked about creativity and how we all have the raw materials to be creative, it’s like water. You know how to drink water because you are alive. Learning to be creative is like learning to drink water, it’s about learning to see and use all the elements that are already around you and at your disposal. Great talk!

At this point i got kind of tired of taking notes. Things will be spotty… i would suggest you look up the people i mention and see what they are saying on their internets if you’re interested.

Michelle Benzinger spoke about beauty and it’s redemptive power in the world. Shared the quote, “the glory of God is man (humanity) fully alive.”

Carlos Cedeno share his calling to move from being the pastor of his church to the pastor of his city. Inspiring!

Annie Lockhart talk about theological imagination and how this has always been a huge part of the church until recently. All our science and certainty has really stole our imaginations. I was really challenged to think of ways to help our students have a theological imagination. Her talk was another one of my favorites.

Brad Montegue, the creator of Kid President shared, another one of my favorites. He was hilarious in a unique, dry, witty kind of way. He shared that it all started with the idea, “The world would be more awesome if________?” and he just started asking that question and people, all kinds of people started answering it. He shared the idea that the truth is challenging and it’s also inviting. And he and his project are sharing the truth in really simple ways and it’s made a HUGE impact. You can look up kid president and watch some of their video and some of the projects they have done. Pretty amazing! I was challenge with the questions, how do we invite our students into making the world more awesome? AMAZING!

Christine Lang shared a great and generous talk about engaging and handling the Bible. Jeffery Wallace talked about culture change and then there were a few other presenters. 

It was a great event. The videos will be up on The Youth Cartel youtube sooner or later. You can watch videos from last years summit right now. Check it out!

And enjoy!