Youth Ministry Conferences – To go or not to go
Posted by brianseidel
I have heard many youth workers share their opinions about youth ministry conferences and training. Some literally attend as many as they are physically and financially able to, while others think they are a complete waist of time and money.
I have been on both sides of this fence at different times during my youth ministry tenure. I have gone to multiple conferences in a single year, and also have not attended anything. When I first started in youth ministry I was a conference regular. Once I had been full time for about 6 years I stopped attending national scale stuff all together. Some of it was my own ego, some of it was because of my phase of life and raising little kids.
After taking some time off from conferences, I have attended a few in the not so distant past, and I am leaving for Youth Specialties NYWC in just a few days. Here are a few reasons why I have jumped back in and look forward to going.
1. To interact with the people behind twitter accounts, blogs, podcasts, and resources
In this age of social networking and online everything it is easy to forget there are real live people behind all of these things. I love meeting these people face to face and attaching some actual relationship to screen names, friend requests, and publications. It is so great to share with them how their efforts have helped me and my ministry.
2. To learn
I have heard many youth worker “veterans” share how they could teach every session they hear at a conference. Ok, I admit I have thought this too… But I realize that doesn’t mean I can’t learn something new or glean from their wisdom and experiences. Plus God has put them in that role and not me, so I trust they have something to say that I need to hear.
3. To be encouraged
It is very refreshing to hang out with a bunch of people that understand the world I live and serve in everyday. Hearing that people actually read some of what I write helps me to keep going. Finding out that my situation is not as bad as other people’s is encouraging (yes, I know that sounds bad but it’s true). A big part of conferences and training events is raw raw session, but I don’t think that is a bad thing.
4. To see friends
Because I was a conference regular in the past I built some friendships with people from around the country. These are people that I only see once or twice a year at most, but it is fun to run into them and catch up on how their lives and ministries are going. I also look forward to making new friends. It is possible to attend a HUGE conference and remain just a face in the crowd, I choose to not do that.
5. To have fun
Being in charge all the time is not fun. At an event or training I can just attend and not be responsible for anything other than my own experience. It is a chance to sit back and let someone else worry about the details and putting out fires, so I can enjoy my time and absorb.
I would be curious to hear why you attend or don’t attend conferences and training events, so please comment and let me know your point of view. What side of the fence are you on and why?
Posted on October 9, 2012, in Youth Ministry and tagged ministry conferences, National Youth Workers Convention, NYWC, screen names, Simply Youth Ministry Conference, social networking, SYMC, training event, Youth Ministry, youth ministry conference, youth ministry veteran, Youth Specialties. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.