Y.O.U.T.H.W.O.R.K. T.H.E. C.O.N.F.E.R.E.N.C.E.

This is the first of three blogs on why you should consider joining us for Youthwork The Conference – taking each letter from the Conference title (why couldn’t it be shorter!) this first post gives you 9 reasons why you should join us!

I’ll be following up with another 3 and then a final 10 reasons (I know, 22 reasons in all . . . )

So, first up ::

Y – You.  When was the last time you thought about YOU?  We are encouraged, aren’t we, in ministry to serve others, seek the needs of others, put others first.  Good and true!  But, you also need to spend time investing in you.  The best thing you can offer the young people you work with is a healthy YOU.  Balanced, rested, modelling the importance of time spent being filled (not just giving out), being still (not always on the move), being encouraged.  Come to Youthwork The Conference – take some time for you.

O – Opportunities.  The Conference represents a host of opportunities.  New thinking, new contacts, new ideas, all in an environment where the focus is on looking onwards and outwards and upwards.  I don’t think I have been, over the last five years, and not come away inspired to do something fresh, think differently and be challenged in my practice.  Take this opportunity to join us!

U – Unique.  This Conference is unique.  I have been to a bunch of youth work conferences and, great though many are, there is nothing quite like Youthwork The Conference.  Do you know what it is?  A diverse group of youth workers – different backgrounds and experiences of ministry – meet to put this thing together.  It’s forged out of a “feet on the ground”, “investing in youth leaders is vital”, “passionate commitment” kind of thing.  Great for volunteer and seasoned veteran alike.  A range of great speakers, every kind of workshop and seminar from in depth stuff to ideas you can walk away with and put in to practice next week.  More unique than ever this year is that we are residential.  All together – leading to who knows what kind of late night chats and vision inspiring sessions in the bar.  Bring your unique self, and a bunch of your youth work mates.

T – Transformative.  I don’t use that word lightly.  When we encounter Christ in each other we are transformed by that encounter.  When we hear words of encouragement and teaching that inspires and sheds new light on our ministry we are transformed.  It takes an attitude to appreciate that, it takes coming along with openness and expectancy to see what God might be doing and to join in with it.  But, when we do not conform to the pattern of this world – but are renewed (mind and spirit, our heart attitudes and, thinking)  then wow.  We are transformed.

H – Hopeful.  Sometimes we confuse the edge of our rut with the horizon (or at least I do).  The daily grind, the seasons come and go, so do the young people . . . not every ministry experience we have is going to be positive.  Maybe you have had it.  Maybe this is it.  If this youth ministry job doesn’t work out you are done.  I have had seasons of despair in life and ministry.  Challenging things happen.  Yet, of the three things that WILL remain – as we are promised in scripture, one of those is Hope.  Hope gets us up in the morning, hope gives us courage and underpins our faith (faith is being sure of what we hope for). Lacking hope, feeling hopeless?  Please consider joining us – my pray would be that the God of all hope (Romans 15:13) might meet you in your need right now and help you to see the difference you are making in the lives of young people and give you hope to carry on.

W – Worth.  You are worth investing in, and – as you come away and gain new tools, insights – those young people who you consider to be worth so much will reap the benefits.  You are worth it.  They are worth it.  Come and join us and it will be worth your while 🙂

O – Orientation.  No, I don’t mean like a job orientation – where someone shows you around.  I mean your orientation.  How are you oriented?  Someone once said we are either oriented towards God or away from Him.  If you have an iPhone, you might be familiar with the compass app.  Occasionally, you have to re-set it by moving the phone around and setting it up.  Consider the conference as a time of orientation.  Have you got your focus right?  Is Jesus at the centre of your life and ministry?  Do you need some space to look up and re-orient your work so that it is for God and about God.  Hang out with youth workers for a weekend and get orientated.

R – Real.  I once did a blog post (inspired by a talk at Youthwork The Conference!) called, “Is your ministry fake, take or cake?”  Essentially, are you being real.  Young people can spot a fake and a fraud – the last thing we should be doing when we get together is pretending or hyping ourselves to the stars.  Join us and lets be real together.  The Conference is often a journey, we start out wherever we might be . . . and, as we go and have conversations, meet people and discuss ideas – it is in those chats about failure, pain and tough stuff – alongside the joys and delights of God changing lives that we find our true selves and can minister to each other.  If you like your youth ministry real, come and join us.

K – Kindness.  This one is about meeting with God.  “Kind” can sometimes sound a bit like “nice” – surely we can come up with a stronger word than that to describe God’s outrageous love?  I want to finish with a stunning passage of scripture which sums up the Gospel – I rarely hear Titus being preached from, maybe because there is nothing AT ALL to add to these words . . . maybe that is why preachers avoid it!  But, it is the kindness of God that has met me so many times – when I do not deserve or merit it, God meets me where I am – gently, warmly, lovingly . . kindly.  Come and join us, as we worship and meet with God together, and experience and know his kindness towards you,

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3 : 4-7

These 9 things all resonate with me and have come from my personal experience as I have reflected on being at the conference over the last few years.  Come and join us.

[Click Here] to visit the Conference website and book your place 🙂