symc-2014

Are you registered for SYMC 2014? When I head out to Columbus, I want to pack lite and be ready for a great experience! This is not an exhaustive list of tech tips to make SYMC 2014 smooth sailing, but hopefully you will be able to mentally download some good trips ideas here. These tips come from years of conference-going and many are specific to my time with SYMC. I hope these will help you have a more successful trip!

TIP #1 Know what tracks and workshops you want to attend (at least know what is available). Knowing ahead of time will make your life easier. Check out the scheduling tool SYMC has provided symc2014.sched.org. If you prefer to schedule directly from your smartphone click here. Check out the details on the scheduling resource here conference.youthministry.com/schedule.

TIP #2 Book Store Discount…Bring your senior pastor’s credit card!

TIP #3 Bring a bag/backpack. You will be carrying your Bible, Participant Journal, Pen, Hotel Key, iPod, Headphones, Cell Phone, Water Bottle, Laptop, Moleskine, Deodorant, Backup Hotel Key, Gum, Chapstick, USB Thumb Drive, (remember when we actually carried a Digital Camera too?)…and on top of all that you will need to leave room for all the stuff you pick up in different areas of the conference hallways from conference partners, in workshops, and at the bookstore while you are at SYMC.

TIP #4 Bring business cards and address stickers. This is a little nerdy and lazy but I do not like filling out my address dozens of times over the weekend…I have seen people stick a sticker on those forms, complete with; Name, Address, Phone, and Email. The business cards are for networking…you may want to bring something to hold other people’s cards so you don’t lose them (or take a picture of it with your cell phone app that turns business cards into a contact and throw the card out…when they are not looking).

TIP #5 Connect with other youth workers! If you bring team members, don’t do the easy thing by spending all your time with them. Try to spend time with people you may never get to see again. Try a Connect Group. Find the National Network of Youth Ministries and ask them to help you meet other youth workers in your area. Ask people in your workshops to lunch and kick around what you have been learning or struggling with…if they say they can’t because they are on a budget offer to buy.

TIP #5.5 Connect with the speakers. There will be aome of the sharpest minds in youth ministry at SYMC. Connect!

TIP #6 Need some love?? Soul Care, enough said!

TIP #7 Don’t forget the tag your tweets with #SYMC. Run a search for #SYMC on Twitter to see and be a part of all the buzz!

TIP #8 See someone taking notes like crazy? Ask if they are a blogger and if they are posting their notes online!

TIP #9 Bring a squirt gun and shoot the guy who has to answer every question the track speaker asks, just kidding….but seriously, don’t be that guy.

TIP #10 When you get home write a short letter to your ministry point person on your leadership team telling them how amazing your time at SYMC was, share a few nuggets of what you learned, and thank them for making it possible (time away, money, etc…this effort can go a long way with leadership). If you paid for SYMC yourself, write that letter to your spouse. If you are single, take yourself out for ice cream and review your notes. If you are lactose intolerant consider taking one of those Lactaid pills or just pray about the risk.

I know there are way more than 10 tips, and I am sure that you have some that are even better than these. So, please share your best conference tips in the comments below! Hope to see you at SYMC 2014!!!!!

-Brandon

@uthguy9

Simply Youth ministries biggest sale of the year is going on right now.  Up to 40% off some the absolute best resources for youth ministry out there.  If you have a small youth ministry budget, now is the time to get in on these deals.  Don’t miss out!

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So much of youth ministry seems to be about what “not” to do. Don’t spill Kool-Aid on the carpet. Don’t play games in the sanctuary. Don’t get on the wrong side of this committee or board. Don’t do this. Don’t do that…

The following post by Josh Griffin (with help from Kurt Johnston) does a good job of focusing on what we should “do” in ministry. The post is from Josh’s blog, More Than Dodgeball, and was originally part of the Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter.

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Youth Minsitry Do’s

More Than Dodgeball and SYM Today are great idea resources for you. I encourage you to check them out as often as you can.

 

 

Starting this Friday you’ll be able to see pretty much every member of the Group Mission Trips team at SYMC in Indy. We’re helping in tons of different ways at the conference. There will be members of the GMT team checking you in when you arrive, helping with getting the general sessions ready, working in the resource area, and well… I can’t remember everywhere else.

Toby Rowe and I will be leading several workshops as well. If these topics interest you, we’d love to have to participate in one of these.

Saturday afternoon – “Using Service to Create a Servant’s Heart”

Sunday afternoon – “Making the Most of Your Mission Trip”

Monday morning – “Fundraising for the Big Event”

In addition to all this, you will not want to miss Toby (and a bunch of us) on Sunday Late Night after the general session! He’ll be leading “Games We Never Should’ve Done”. It’s going to be a fun crazy time of reliving some of our best “mistakes” from all our years of Mission Trips and giving other youth ministry vets a chance to share theirs.  It will be a night you won’t soon forget.

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If you’re not registered yet for SYMC, it’s not too late. We are nearly Sold Out but we are not there yet. There is room for you. Go here to register.



Making a Difference in the Bronx! A Webinar about the Big Day of Serving.

Join Jake Rasmussen Wednesday, February 20 for a LIVE CHAT about the Big Day of Serving in the Bronx.

Tune in to this Webinar and discover answers to all these questions and more:

  • What IS this event?
  • Why will your students LOVE it?
  • How do you SAVE big bucks when registering?

This is a fantastic opportunity to learn all about our work in the Bronx this spring!

Check in out Here.

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To plan a mission trip. It’s really not too late. It may seem like it is. It might be scary. You might think, “I’ll just wait for next summer.” Please don’t. If you’re not planning on getting your group engaged in service away from home this summer. It’s not too late.

Here’s 5 things you could do today or this week to still plan a trip for this summer.

  1. Contact a mission organization to help with getting your trip together: An organization like our, Group Mission Trips, would love to help you organize and plan a life-changing experience for your group.
  2. Connect with the mission pastor/director/leader in your church: These folks have many contacts and lots of information about needs that could be met and maybe even trips for your youth group to join.
  3. Ask a fellow youth leader (in your town/denomination/network/etc.) if they are going on a trip: There’s a good chance a friend of yours in ministry might have room in their group for you and several of your students to join their group. What a great way to get some of your group involved!
  4. Find out if there is church plant or inner city ministry or rural community center (some kind of ministry that is different from your own) within a days drive: Ministries like these can often use help. Many may even be set up to bring in groups for summer ministry. All you have to do is ask.
  5. Stay at home but serve! Find a local ministry you could truly bless with a week of no-strings-attached service. Get a bunch of tents. Camp out in someone’s back yard. Use the church kitchen to cook meals. Make your own local mission trip. But serve, please!

I believe there is something amazing God does when you go away and serve people. It’s a great thing to help your students leave their comfort zones and see God work in them and through them. Please don’t miss out. IT’S NOT TOO LATE! I promise…



Leadership in Flux

Jeff Thompson —  February 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

A couple months ago I came across this article – “The Secrets of Generation Flux.”

I found it fascinating and very applicable to ministry life today. These younger leaders and the description of how to lead a new generation speak directly to who we serve and lead with.

I would love to know what you think? Did you find parallels to your ministry? Did the article ring true for you? Or did it seem too far fetched for you – off base?

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New Things

Jeff Thompson —  February 4, 2013 — Leave a comment

new thingsIt’s scary to start new things. They’re different. They might not work. They might actually work and grow and become bigger than you could’ve imagined or prepared for. Starting new things is hard…

And yet… don’t we need to? Jesus basically started new things every day for the years he was working publicly and developing his disciples. Everything was new. And it was excited. It was impossible to prepare for. It failed and succeeded in ways that no one involved could predict.

The scary process of starting new things is part of the history of Group Mission Trips. For almost 30 years we only did one kind of mission trip – our Workcamp program. And we new exactly how that worked. How to prepare and plan.  How to lead. Bu then several years ago we felt God leading us to start a new ministry. A new direction for us. A new way to serve those with needs. That’s how Week of Hope was born.

The crazy, fun thing is since the moment we chose to start something new (Week of Hope) we haven’t stopped. From that choice Lifetree Adventures, Leading Edge Outreach, and The Big Day of Serving have all come (and gone). One of those was a “failure” in the sense that it didn’t work for us and the churches we serve. But we still tried and there are even more new things on the horizon now.

What about your ministry? When the last time you dared to venture out and start something completely new? Change the night of your main youth group meeting? That’s crazy talk. Stop doing your favorite outreach program for something new? Impossible. Take your students on a mission trip far from home? Just too difficult. Or it it…

What “new thing” could God be calling you to if you listened?