Someone over at Nameless Youth Pastors posted the following about going to the NYWC: I will say that it has been about 5 years since I went to a convention. I will probably only go to another one to meet up with friends and not to somehow validate me as a youth pastor. It was a time to just relax and hang out and for that alone, I loved the NYWC.
My response is this: I love the NYWC. I don't care so much about the bands. They're OK, but a bit loud for my taste (yeah, I was the guy who wore earplugs to see Melvin Taylor and the Slack Band out at Rosa's on Chicago's West Side). I did enjoy when Switchfoot played a couple of years back. I liked some of the speakers: Rob Bell (you can hear him at Mars Hill) was fantastic. I always got tears in my eyes when Mike Yaconelli called up some unsuspecting youth worker and invited them to the convention for free (all expenses paid) and had them picked up and flown in and all that. I liked wandering through the convention booths, looking at all the ministry opportunities (I almost never seem to get the freebies they give out). I like the YS store, and I always sign up for the Core while I'm there (and get the freebies). I have never gone there knowing anyone else who would be there (except my wife the last two years), though this year I can't wait to meet Derek face-t0-face, and I'll be rooming with a great friend.
But all those things are secondary to what I really like about the convention. I don't go there to impress anyone with my expertise as a youthworker. In fact, I'm mediocre as a youth worker, if you ask me. I don't go there to impress anyone with my cool clothes or haircut, and my wife won't let me grow a goatee. ;-)
What I love about the convention is that it's a time apart. I like to spend time in the Prayer Labyrinth. I loved the experential prayer room last year. Getting up and going to pray, sitting in God's presence, listening to Him tell me how much He loves me. Listening to scriptures, letting them dance with my heart, like the flame dances around the wick of a candle...