ND Leadership retreat

I love doing event ministry. Even more than participating in retreats, I love hanging out with teenagers.

This past weekend, was even more special for me.

More than a year ago, the ND District asked me to come and be their first female Keynote speaker and I was already speaking somewhere else, but they were patient and asked again this year. I was so happy it worked out because I haven't been to ND in quite some time, and I love that students who saw me at the National Youth Gathering wanted me to come to their local event. It is the highest compliment paid to a speaker.

Another highlight for me this past weekend was that the leadership team for this event hired Paul to do the music for the weekend. Working with Paul and doing ministry together with him is probably one of my favorite things to do. I have so much respect for his musical ability, his relational ministry and his talent for quick wit from the stage. He is so fantastic! We haven't done an event together in years, and that used to be with his band. Its hard to both be gone for the weekend with kids when we don't have family here to watch them. This was the first time we worked together at an event, just the two of us. Dear friends of ours took the kids for the whole weekend and allowed this rare and special gift. It was amazing!

This weekend was different than other retreats I usually speak at, but it made it more interesting and challenging. When I am asked to be a keynote, the theme is usually different, but the outline looks very similar. I typically present four keynote messages generally for 20-30min at a time starting on Friday night and ending Sunday morning. This past weekend, I had the challenge of presenting two 60min presentations and one 90min session. It was a great challenge and I loved because it forces me to rethink my messages. It challenges me to go deeper, push further and incorporate elements into my talks that I don't usually have time for.

My first session spoke to a topic close to my heart which is identity. Challenging students to rethink where they get their identity and then go even further and challenge how they see God. Living in a place of basing our faith understanding on false identity for ourselves and God can lead to a life of fruitless searching.

For the second hour we discussed expectations. The expectations we place on God, others and ourselves.

It was easy to present for 90min when the topic was mission and outreach. Where identity is close to my heart, talking about an organic, natural way of living out our faith in mission is my heart. It was exciting to have so much time to really dig into this on a local, national and global scale.

In between sessions, I had the joy and privilege of hanging out with the high school students. This is hands down my favorite part of any retreat. I love hearing students stories, I love hearing what God is doing in their life despite hardships and how they want to participate in making the world a better place. They allow me to see their hearts and it is such an honor to invited into their lives for even just a small moment in time.

The ND district youth team put together a fabulous Leadership training event. They incorporated student led sessions, keynote sessions and great music. It was an intense weekend, but so worth the drive.

Well done! It was a joy and honor to work with you all and I pray I have the privileged to do it again some day.