I liked Chuck Bomar’s thoughts on getting the most out of a conference – seemed like most of it was transferrable to what you would experience at a youth ministry event, too. Here’s 2 of his 4 suggestions – we’re excited to have Chuck as our discipleship retreat speaker in January, too.
Develop a filter. Every speaker is there for a reason. Most have thought a ton about the subject their teaching on and have experience (hopefully) in that particular area. But, they don’t know your context, the people you work with, or the traditions you live in/with. Therefore, you have to develop a filter that would sift out the things that wouldn’t apply in your context — no matter how epic the thought might be. God’s called you to the context you’re in and you’re at the conference to be more effective in that context. So, the filter is necessary. Purchase carefully. Sometimes we go to a conference because we just need some time away, but usually we attend conferences because we’re hungry for some direction, training, and resources. And, oh man, we go into the resource center and everything looks good. We have the budget, so we just go crazy. Getting resources, by the way, isn’t a bad thing. If there are resources you think will be useful in ministry by all means buy them. But, just be careful to buy those that will actually be used. Far too many budgets are spent on resources still in the wrapper 12 months later.