Today thousands of youth leaders from all over the country are heading home from the Simply Youth Ministry Conference (#symc). As they do, they’ve got a lot on their minds. I’ve been to my share of conferences and I’d like to share some advice–in short order–to those who find themselves (today or any other time) returning from a conference, and how to make the most of the time and money you or your church just spent…
1. You’re the you God put where you are. Be that one.
You probably caught yourself comparing your ministry to others and maybe even thinking/wishing that where you are looked more like where “they” are. Don’t. Stop that. Cut it out. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” but sometimes we switch that out for “Go and make comparisons.” If you’re called to where you are then live like it. If you’re not then don’t be afraid to say so and move on that conviction.
2. You picked up a lot of ideas. Good for you.
Choose the top 3 and map them out. But not this week. There’s nothing worse than the eye rolls your students or fellow staff give you when you get all “That’s IT! We’re changing EVERYTHING!” right after a conference. Temper those good ideas with a few questions like: a) how do I contextualize this idea? b) how do I contextualize this idea? c) is this even a good idea for our ministry and d) how do I contextualize this idea?
3. Stay connected with those new friends.
You met people there who likely live far away from you. You should stay connected with them. I’m not saying share a latte over a Skype session every afternoon, but use them to share thoughts with, bounce ideas off of, and even vent to. Them not being near you is something you can benefit from.
4. Say “Thanks!” to those who sent you.
Did your church board approve your conference? Write them a letter of thanks. Did your senior pastor go out on a limb and spend non-existent budget money to get you there? Make a point to share your genuine gratitude (and it wouldn’t hurt to actually DO something with what you experienced). Did your spouse handle the house, kids, chores, and job while you were galavanting up and down the corridors of youth ministry wonderfulness? Well…I’m sure you’ll think of something to properly thank them.
Did you go to SYMC2014 or any other conference that has taught you some post-event wisdom? Share it!
(And if you want info on SYMC2015, click here.)