This week, Cory, Josh, and I are at a youth convention in Nashville. 5,000 youth pastors. And we are one of around 300 exhibitors in the booth area representing Training Ground. I have never been part of a trade show before, so it is quite amazing to see so many ministries represented.
I became a christian in high school, but it wasn't till college that I really become aware of all the ministries, missions, and activities, and events around the country. It is quite eye opening to see how many are focused, and targeting youth in everything from frisbee evangelism, to missions.
We really wanteed to come, and explore, and be amongst those here as a place for young youth pastors, as well as their high school students with a high school summit at TG, that we are doing in 2009.
One thing on opening night was looking at the booths. Some seem 3 stories high. Others are 4 booths wide. There are some with huge banners, and colors, flashy things, and tons of big screens. Others like the father and daughter next to us, that lead youth groups to do inter city missions in a town in Florida, they have nothing fancy, or bright or expensive. just the words on a banner, and a few pictures. and some of the finest people we have met. with huge hearts.
another great one, probably my favorite is the compassion international booth. they have an interactive booth where you walk into a typical hut of a family from a country in africa (not sure which), and see how they live, and what things they have inside. i love that. 20 years from now, I think I will remember walking in there. mainly because I have not walked into a condition like that before, and they brought one persons living condition in africa, right into a convention hall between all the flashy stuff.
It is easy to judge, critique, evaluate, and ask what is the best booth, or did we do it well compared to the rest, does our booth speak to our mission, or catch peoples attention? Since we never have been to a convention, we really didn't know what to compare it to when we built it, and by God, that is probably our saving grace.
Josh labored weeks back on a 8 feet by 8 feet fake log cabin style building, with pictures, and a few items that get used while the young men are out there.
looking around at the other booths, it is also good to be reminded there are so many ministries out there. similar. different. and thank God. being part business minded, there is always the pull to try and differentiate your product, and make it sound like the best, and when you are away from others doing the ministry, it is very easy to feel that temptation rising inside. while there is always the good, the bad, and the ugly, i must say, it is good to be around our neighbors here, from light and sound, and big and small, and see there is some mighty good work being made, by some mighty good men and women for God in all arenas. different, and all part of their way of seeing God's Kingdom. and being one booth. I think booth #126, in that family.
Or also described as...
"that booth in the corner with a dead animal somewhere on the wall."