Before I go off the grid, I wanted to briefly talk about the last YS national convention held in Pittsburgh. I have to say that everything I said during Sacramento held true again! What a blessed and humbled weekend I had. But there was one glaring difference between the two cities:
As my friend Margaret Feinberg so elequently said to me before I took the general session stage - this region is more stoic in general, and therefore probably won't be as enthusiastic as what happened in Sacramento, especially around the topic of homosexuality.
Thank God she told me that! I was able to prepare my mindset before I went on, and indeed Margaret's words proved correct. It took me almost 10 minutes into my talk until the crowd started to loosen up a little bit and listen to what I had to say. As Marko, the President of YS put it,
"I noticed you threw a little more evangelical stuff in there tonight (vs. Sacramento) to relate to where the crowd was at."
What an observant guy ... that's why I love YS soooo much! They care enough to notice subtlties, and it makes all the difference in the world.
As for my talkback session and workshops, I once again stayed hours upon hours after each of them to answer every person's question. I love that more than anything else! My whole philosophy is that people pay good money to come to conferences, and I HAVE to make myself as accessable as I possibly can because what good is someone who talks and then darts off into their own little corner because they don't want to be bothered?!
Unfortunetly that is the norm, and I hate when speakers (especially the big timers) do such a thing. If it weren't for all of the people, those famous speakers wouldn't be famous ... so show respect! Anyway, I never want to be that type of person so I will always and forever make myself accessable because that is what the Lord has asked me to do!!! [For a point of clarification, I am NOT talking about any of the Friday speakers I had the privledge to be around. Margaret Feinberg and Soong-Chan Rah stayed, as I did, and answered every single person's question. They are legitimate people, and I truly love them to death! I hope that one day each of you will be able to hear their words and hearts for the Lord].
Enough of my little rant: The major thing that I noticed in the talkback and workshops in comparrison to Sacramento was that many of the people (inquisitive as they were), were coming from a completely different starting point. In as much as I could, I expected this because the topic of homosexuality isn't quite at the forefront of any headlines in Pittsburgh, Ohio, Kentucky, etc. from that region of the country. But the heart's of those in attendence were no less eager and yearning to see a bridge built to their gay and lesbian youth!!!!!
And to everyone who attended YS Pittsburgh, thanks for the questions and the heart to start this unique joureny together. I love you all so much!