One hundred fifteen young clergy gathered in Oklahoma City for three days earlier this week. If you want to know more about the vision behind the event, read our previous post with organizers Jason and Brit here.
If you feel like you missed out on this great first event, we have brought some highlights of the best quotes and social media posts together for you to enjoy.
Here is what you missed at the #youngclergycon:
The moment I stepped into OKC First Church, there was a palpable energy, and that was hours before Young Clergy Con was even beginning. The mood was optimistic, the smiles were plentiful, and I was welcomed with a hug. This set the tone for the next three days.
Often millennials are viewed as cynics, and while there might have been moments of cynicism and snark, the moments of hope and an eagerness to work drowned out the cynicism. Words of encouragement and a call to faithfulness to one another overcame any trace of snark.
Tears spilled out more than once as we bared ourselves to the people around us. People who understood the trials of balancing two jobs and a family, people who understood the struggle of trying to find a voice in this church we love so deeply. People we may have never met in person before became comrades in the self-sacrificing fight for love, justice, truth, peace, and grace in our world.
Sunday night started with a panel discussion on environment and creation featuring Richard Rohr, Vered Harris, David Hoekman, and Aaron Bolerjack.
“when you care for the environment, you are caring for people, because we all depend on the environment.”- Dr Davis Hoekman #youngclergycon
— Robbie Cansler (@RevRCansler) March 27, 2017
On Monday morning Jon Middendorf offered encouragement to young clergy to stay and fight for our churches, as pastors, and in the denomination.
Jon Middendorf called on us to “fight” for what we sense God calling us to be, but not to fight violently. Jon urged us to see that our mascot is the slaughtered lamb. I believe with all my heart that the shared sense of call in the rooms was not by man, nor some nihilistic impulse of the millennial generation. No, I believe this call is from God, who is doing something new among the young clergy of the Church of the Nazarene in the United States of America. We will keep pushing for what we sense God is calling us to embody. This will lead to uncomfortable moments, but we have been charged to do so, behaving like the lamb who was slain.”
— NPH (@NazPublishing) March 27, 2017
Jeren Rowell received the Young Clergy Advocate Award for his support and encouragement of young clergy, another workshop with Richard Rohr explored the call to love, and Robbie Cansler spoke at a workshop discussion on race.
— Ben Cremer (@Brcremer) March 27, 2017
On Tuesday morning there was one more breakout session, followed by a closing service with a message by Megan Pardue.
If we’re going to keep calling ourselves Nazarene it’s about time we start looking like the toiling lowly mission of Christ #youngclergycon
— Sophie Callahan (@soph_cal) March 28, 2017
There were several moments that I realized I was at a young professionals conference, like the fact that decaf coffee was never an option (praise report), or that a hashtag was used to label the registration table. The conference was teeming with youthful energy, but way beyond that was a genuine spirit of authenticity that was raw, tangible, and real. At the core of this conference, I found a passionate group of clergy bubbling with diverse experiences and backgrounds, whose hearts have been broken up for the gospel and the mission of Jesus Christ, specifically as it is worked out in the Church of the Nazarene. Here, at the Young Clergy Conference, was a microcosm of the church’s past, present, and future all wrapped up and embodied by a bunch of young, authentic, and passionate clergy. It was hopeful and stunningly beautiful.
In prayer for #youngclergycon, the words “hope” and “courage” kept resonating, for the event and all gathered. I depart certain God heard.
— Brannon Hancock (@brannonhancock) March 28, 2017