For the past several years, my alma mater Heartland Christian College, has hosted a two day youth conference called Awaken. The goal of these meetings is to interact with leaders and like minded people, but most importantly to interact with God and awaken to His will for our lives. I’ve been a part of these meetings in various outlets: bass playing, running sound, stage setup, stage tear down and more recently as a leader in our youth group. This year, I’ve been asked to do something that I’ve not done before…
Beyond the worship services and preaching of the Word of God, Awaken has hosted classes on the practical things of being a christian. In years past they’ve talked about the missions field, how to love your family, and how to witness at school. This year they’re hosting a series of Create! workshops, and I’ve been asked to teach a class on creative writing.
The theme for Awaken this year is Live out Love and the goal is to see our youth impact their culture. There will be another workshop on songwriting and another on the visual arts. I’m very excited for this opportunity, and I’m a little nervous. With an emphasis on creating this year, I’m praying that God helps these kids see just how much they can use creativity as a tool to worship and be a witness.
I find it interesting how life comes together. Over the past 12 months I’ve been pushing my writing. If you’ve been a frequent visitor here, you’ll know that I’ve been submitting short stories to magazines, and even took first place in a contest. The highlight of my writing this year was my trip to Realm Makers, where I met with fellow newbies like myself and many published authors, agents and owners of publishing companies. Those two days broke me open to the reality that It is possible! You don’t have to move to New York, you don’t have to be JR Tolkien (though that would help) and you don’t have to have a doctorate in Theology to write about who God is. To quote Morgan Busse, “The God you know, is the God you’ll write about.”
That phrase stuck with me from Realm Makers, and it is what I’m basing my teaching on this week. That and Jeff Gerke’s book The Irresistible Novel. Good craft is important, but the most important thing in writing is that you write what you need to write. You might not ever sell it, it might sit in a shoe box in your garage for fifteen years to be found by your children someday. But if you write what God has put inside you, then you are a writer. You’re not a fake.
That is what God has put inside me. A desire to see young people embrace what God has put inside them.
I hope to see you all at Awaken this year! If you can’t make it, I’d take your prayers for these kids to touch God, and maybe one or two to calm my butterflies!
For more information, go check out http://jointheawakening.org/