As I walked off the plane today in Miami, in honor of my children who love the "yami" song, I powered up the ole’ iPod and blasted Will Smith’s "Miami." Strutting down the walkway, my fist thought after, "What a dork!" was, "Man it is humid here." Yes, I whine about weather a great deal when I travel . . . hey, I am a Northern Californian, what do you want?
I am here this week as part of a group of young pastors who have been gathering for the past seven years through the generosity of the Presbyterian Church’s Urban Ministry Office . . . now known as something else and way too long. Anyway . . . the intent of this group is to support pastors under 40 who are serving in an urban context. This is one of the groups that I carve our time for each year as a place of learning, support and rejuvenation. We have met in various sites, have studied various topics, and while there have been about 20 or so folks who have been part of the group over the years, there is a constant that has remained, this group, in may ways, feels like home. I love this group not just for the fun and energy, but for the faithfulness and willingness to share about the joys and struggles of ministry in our very diverse settings. We laugh, we cry, we commiserate, we challenge and we are transformed each time we gather.
This year we invade South Beach in Miami as we visit some ministry sites, take in the city and study the usefulness of Enneagram personality types in ministry. The first few hours have already been filled with much laughter, a ton of irreverence, some tears and a general exhaling as we gather together again. This year’s group is also the largest we have ever had with a great blending of new and returning YUP’sters . . . great fun, great folks.
A few "Insider" memories from evening #1:
- Jud’s lollipop and Coleslaw;
- Really, we trust you Kimberly, but we’re going to ask the bellhop as well.
- Why is the naked , smoking Buddha in the lobby?
With thanks to God this week for Kimberly, Byron, Francis, Nathan, Andy, Tara, Susan, Howard, Kelly, Jud and Phil.
More to come on the exploits of the Young Urban Pastors in Miami. [MORE PICS]