This past week the Lord provided for me to be able to attend the 2012 Simply Youth Ministry Conference. I have attended this conference three times in the past five years and each time it is a blast! The amount of training and resources you receive is unreal! As much as I wanted to go this year, I was not planning on going because of financial reasons. I believe conferences should be a priority for church leaders, but I also believe that we need to be wise with our money when we start to plan for conferences. I prayed and asked God to provide for me financially if it were His will that I go. A few days later He provided!
If a student pastor can afford it, I believe he should attend at least one student ministry conference a year. If you must pick one conference to attend, I would suggest Simply Youth Ministry Conference for a host of reasons. My aim in this blog is not to promote Simply Youth Ministry Conference, but to encourage student pastors to make an effort to attend a student ministry conference of their choice. Here are three reasons why student pastors should attend a student ministry conference:
1. Spiritual Refreshment. Student ministry is tough. Working with a bunch of students, leaders, and parents can take a toll on a student pastor. Because of the stress of ministry, sometimes our spiritual walk with Christ suffers. We start to put ministry over our walk with Christ. We start to spend less and less time in His Word personally. Sometimes we need to get away from it all and be spiritual refreshed (If this is you I would encourage you to read Fresh Start by Doug Fields). This is one reason a student ministry conference such as the SYMC is such a good thing for student pastors. You get to hear messages from God’s Word, worship alongside others in ministry, and your able to get away from the office and focus on your walk with Christ. Every time I walk away from a conference, I feel spiritually refreshed.
2. Training. Other than being spiritually refreshed, training should be the main reason a student pastor attends a conference. This is a time for you to take a “break” from normal ministry and sharpen your student ministry skills, learn more student ministry, and get set under student ministry training from some of the top student ministry voices. Yes, you can sit in your office and read a Duffy Robbins book and learn, but it will not compare to the hours of training you will get by sitting in a workshop with him in person.
3. Connect with other student ministry workers. One of the neat things about a student ministry conference is that you get to spend a few days alongside others who are serving in student ministry just like you. Along with being spiritual refreshed and trained, you get to spend time connecting with others who are serving students. You get to share your stories, struggles, and victories in student ministry with them! Sometimes connecting with others in ministry is the most spiritual and encouraging thing you will get out of a conference.
These are just a few reasons why a student pastor should make an effort to attend a student ministry conference. If you are interested in attending the Simply Youth Ministry Conference go to their website and get more information. This past summer I posted a blog about the Refuel Conference that is held every year at Thomas Road Baptist Church which is a great one day conference to attend.