This weekend I am attending Simply Youth Ministry Conference (SYMC) for the second time. This might be the second time, but there are going to many “firsts” for me this time around.
I’ve been to about a dozen youth ministry conferences over the past dozen or so years. So, in that regard, this is anything but new. Although I’ve been to these training events so many times, I keep going back because a conference like this is more than a training event. Getting together with 2600 other youth workers can be quite overwhelming, but as I prepare for this year I am not at all feeling overwhelmed. It feels like I’m going to some big “youth ministry family reunion.”
I usually get pretty excited about conferences like this, but this year the excitement/anticipation has been kicked up a notch. Here are a few reasons I’m super excited about SYMC (also the “firsts” for me this year).
1. Traveling with a friend
Unless I was attending the conference with my wife, I have always traveled alone. This may not seem like much, but I’m not a huge fan of driving 4 or 5 hours by myself. So getting to drive up with a friend is going to be awesome!
2. First time to attend, be in full-time ministry and not be volunteering at the event (since my very first one back in ’01).
Almost every convention I’ve attended has been as a volunteer. And while I love serving fellow youth workers (which I’ll still do some this weekend – see next point) I’m looking forward to spending more time talking and listening than moving boxes and stocking shelves.
If you are going to be there, I’d love to chat!
3. Thanks to the team at Simply/Group I (along with others) got to help be part of planning different aspects of the weekend.
This conference is very much “for youth workers, by youth workers” in almost every sense of the phrase. This fact alone helps make SYMC stand out and raise up to a different level.
I get to help in a couple areas and I’m excited. I am going to be part of a couple peer panels (ghosts of leaders past & leaving a ministry well). I will be part of “The Shelter” team (very excited about this). I will also be volunteering throughout the weekend trying to make sure little details are taken care of when needed.
If you’re going to be in Chicago for SYMC, I pray God shows up in a big way. If we run into each other, let’s talk.
next up: packing, driving, saying goodbye to my family :(, & arriving in Chicago before the end of the day!