In an earlier post on this blog, Leneita Fix shared what she’s teaching this year at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. You totally need to check out her stuff, as well as many of the other bloggers on this site who are all presenting something. I’m not kidding… these folks are brilliant and have such an amazing heart for God, students and youth workers.
For what it’s worth, I’ll also be serving at the conference. Catch up with me on any of these if you want to join into what I’ll be doing or hang out afterward:
- Two seminars (a trifecta of perspective as I team up with the dynamic duo that is Toby Rowe and Jeff Thompson)
- A peer panel on Weeds that can Choke the Life out of Your Ministry
- A peer panel on Building a Healthy Relationship with Your Senior Pastor
- Plus a new thing called “Micro Training” – an interactive 30-minute brainstorming hub in the resource center at the conference. I’ll be hanging out with Jake Rasmussen on
I know that I’m taking a risk in sharing that with you because it comes across as self-serving. Honestly, I’ll take the risk because I really believe in SYMC is all about… a conference “by youth workers, for youth workers.”
In fact, I’d like to give you some exclusive access (with just a minor edit or two for privacy/context) to a Facebook conversation with a local friend of mine in ministry who I dared to check out the conference.
Hey bro! Thanks for liking my status. It actually prompted me to ask you a question I keep forgetting to ask – wondering if you are interested in attending SYMC in Columbus in March.
Tony, I was not planning on it. I had thought about it for a while. I still am sort of on the fence. I feel like it’s never gonna be so easily accessible again, and I even have a buddy who really wants me to go with him. It just happens to fall probably in my busiest two weeks of the whole spring, and I’m concerned about not getting everything I need to get done, done..
Hmm… I hear that tension. I’m actually doing a trip to Honduras right afterward, so I know what you mean. I would offer that it’s worth it, even if you can pop in for a day. If that’s of interest, I can probe around for you to find a one-day rate. What do you think?
Well, what do you think would be some of the things I would most benefit from experiencing?
I’ve been a part of various conferences like these over the year, and each experience is unique. The one thing I can offer about this one (and the largest reason why I like serving with these guys) is the relational atmosphere SYMC creates that’s just rich with the Holy Spirit… not in a weird way, but in a fulfilling way.
There are, of course, a lot of great things to learn from amazing minds in ministry. You can certainly fill up a notebook with new ideas… it’s like a Thanksgiving meal, as well as the unbuckling of your belt after the meal. You take in all of the ingredients life has given you and bring those to take part in a great buffet with other youth workers from all over.
The coolest thing is you can enjoy it without any masks… some people confess their junk, and others share their victories. Everyone finds a moment of genuine laughter, and everyone finds a genuine moment for hot tears… all as appropriate.
To top it off, there’s this vibe of accessibility to everyone. It’s like a weekend student ministry retreat without the students… where you get to be on the receiving end.
Anyway, all of that to say I’m into it… truly. Where I could fall into a funk with other conferences, this one is always growing and adapting. It’s truly for youth workers by youth workers… and Jesus.
Hope that makes sense. Let me know if you’re interested or would want to hang out if you came. I’m speaking in a handful of places, but would really enjoy the chance to share some free time with you.
When all was said and done, my buddy moved some things around in his schedule and signed up. He added, “Thanks for your answers to my questions, I definitely see the value of the conference.” Another couple of friends I spoke to recently are coming, too – mainly because I couldn’t stop yapping about the thing. (It’s like when you’ve eaten pizza all your life, but then find pizza that redefines pizza,,, and you have to tell everyone else about it.)
Why does this matter?
We all have days that leave us feeling like we’re insane. It’s rare to find a ragtag community like this where you suddenly feel like you can waste less time translating what you mean with people who don’t “get it” and more time speaking a common language among other dreamers who do “get it.” .
All that to say I hope we can hang out at SYMC this year, too. If it’s not in your budget this round, start saving up for next year. If you can still join in, count this as my official invite for us to grab a meal or smoothie sometime with me a handful of peers among thousands of other youth workers
Or maybe we’ll just hang out in the closest over-sized sack chair we can find.