For the first session, they brought in David Kinnaman. He is the author of the book "UnChristian". He talked about the state of the church in America today. It was very interesting as he shared statistics about faith across the U.S. He talked about how "big" is on its way out. Big does not attract the next generation. 59% of teens who were churched walk away in their 20s. That is a huge statistic, especially for those of us who work with youth. They are the next generation and they need to be empowered to make this faith their own.
One of the most powerful concepts for me was when he talked about the fortress mentality vs. kingdom mentality. Fortress is not accepting change and new people. How is a fortress attractive to those who know nothing about it but its outside walls? They don't want to be a part of that. How cool to be a part of a kingdom, not just being a part of the kingdom but serving in the kingdom. We need to move from consuming and being ok with just soaking up the message on Sunday mornings to contributing in the kingdom!
His last comment - Small is the new big - Help people see the kingdom stuff they are already doing and encourage them to do more. I think that's the key!