So, of course after spending a weekend at a huge youth conference I’m going to have something to write about, right?
Dare2Share held their “Survive” Tour in Columbus this past weekend, which I and my church youth group attended. After being rocked two years ago on their “Blaze”Tour, I had pretty high expectations as far as what would go on. Perhaps its because I’m older and thus more critical of everything, or maybe its because going the first time I had no idea what to expect, but it didn’t seem to be quite as good. Don’t get me wrong, I was convicted in several areas of my life that need to change, but overall it didn’t seem to have quite as big of an impact as the conference did several years ago.
But, being the people watcher that I am, I made a couple of observations on the whole youth conference environment.
First off, Christian t-shirts (for the most part) are one of the worst ideas ever invented. Now, there are a few good ones out there that are pretty cool and not too cheesy, but overall, I don’t see the point. Something about the words “Jesus is my homeboy” or “Jesus Recycles” scrawled across my chest doesn’t quite do it for me. Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t really see the point. Maybe it’s just that I’m pretty anti-Christian marketing or whatever. I guess overall my main criticism would be that it in some ways it cheapens the message that is already falling prey to plastic televangelists and cheesy Christian films. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for rocking out in a sweet T. Its just sometimes the message a t-shirt is sending is more than just the words scrawled across the front (or side, or back, or upside down along the sleeve, or whatever weird way they decide to position the lettering)
Second, my brother and I made the observation that a lot of times, these sort of conferences are a platform to just show off how sweet your clothes are or how emo or hardcore or whatever you can be. Its not just Dare2Share, it seems to be most “Christian” events like that (e.g. camp, D2S, etc.) come with some kind of contest or something to see who can dress the most rebellious or the most hardcore or something. Striking that pose that says, “Yeah I’m here but I really think I’m too sweet for most of this crowd” or something like that. Its just something I’ve observed in most Christian circles. We have to dress like we have something to prove, like we’re too sweet for this scene, or something like that.
All that to say, I don’t want it to seem like I only have negative things to say about the conference or Christian youth culture in general. There were a lot of good things about the conference.
Lincoln Brewster was a pretty good worship leader and I’m really jealous of a guy who can pull off a mohawk and still look sweet. The drama and speakers were good. And the challenges to personal purity and other areas like that were convicting and good to hear.
In other thoughts, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the door-to-door evangelism aspect of the conference. It is a good personal challenge and stretching experience, but in thinking through aspects of the Gospel and personal evangelism, at times the door-to-door, almost assembly-line way of going about it seems at times a bit impersonal. I’m sure that God can take any means of evangelism to reach those he wishes to, but I’m still undecided on that aspect of personal evangelism. It seems to me that the best way for someone to truly accept something is to hear it from someone they trust to begin with. Now, I don’t know about you, but when a stranger comes to my door, the last thing I do is trust them. So it just seems that door-to-door evangelism isn’t the greatest way to reach people. Now, there are those exceptions, such as the people who would never have any contact with a church save for those few who do door-to-door, where that aspect of evangelism is necessary and good. But for bringing conviction and repentance in someone’s life, it seems like that would require time and effort (i.e. discipleship). But I’m still not sure. We did collect a lot of cans for the homeless (always a good thing) and sparked a few conversations and conversions. So the efforts were not wasted.
And thats all I got. Things I heard from the conference are still turning over in my heart and my head and hopefully will bring about lasting change. But that’s always the trick.