By Youth Specialties on October 28 2013
In case you missed my first post, you should know that I’ve been an avid National Youth Workers Convention attendee for more than five years. I’ve attended the convention in four different locations and, let me tell you, every time has been worth it.
To me, Youth Specialties’ National Youth Workers Conventions are a time of renewing, recharging, vision seeking, and growing. Each time I attend, I naïvely go into the weekend with an idea of a specific area of ministry that I want to focus on learning more about and growing in. And each time I attend, God surprises me by shedding light on a vast majority of other areas that He also wants me to focus on. It always reminds of the saying, “Man makes plans… God laughs!”
One of the biggest things that I’ve benefited from, especially over the last two Youth Specialties’ conventions, is the content offered on Volunteer Youth Leader recruiting and training. These sessions immediately impact me and my staff: Because my Volunteer Team has their own full-time jobs outside of Youth Ministry and can’t attend the conventions with me, I can bring home my new knowledge and train them with all the tips and tricks I learned at NYWC.
Plus, my stories from convention give my team a morale boost. They’re often encouraged to hear about the youth leaders I meet who are dealing with the same issues that we face in our ministry. It helps us to feel that we aren’t alone in the problems we face with students, parents, church, and ministry; our challenges are universal, and together, we can make a difference.
It’s also encouraging for me personally to get together with youth workers from around the country to talk about what youth ministry tactics just aren’t working anymore. NYWC provides an opportunity for us as youth workers to learn new methods together—and to learn how to switch over to those methods. This chance at networking is incredible and it helps us build camaraderie as we go off to work separately to support our ministries.
This year at NYWC, I also zoned in on the content offered for marriage and ministry. I recently got married (August 10, 2013) so at the San Diego NYWC in October, I was very interested to learn how to maintain a healthy marriage and ministry. I enjoyed and got a lot out of Doug and Kathy Fields’ seminar, “Surviving and Thriving in Ministry and Marriage.”
My advice to a potential NYWC attendee: If you are only there for someone to tell you a few quick tips to fix your problems, then you probably won’t find what you are looking for. Instead, spend adequate time praying before, during, and after the convention to dig deep into what you should be focusing on. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s lead about which sessions to choose and what you can to learn.
I’d also encourage you to plan to spend some time with your heavenly Father in the Sanctuary. Not enough youth workers take advantage of this unique opportunity to pause and listen to God. If your primary goal of attending the National Youth Workers Convention is to be renewed, it’s not going to happen if you don’t step foot in the Sanctuary to seek God’s presence and help in your life and ministry.
Paul Georgulis, Pastor of Student Ministries, Doylestown United Methodist Church, Doylestown, PA
Youth Website: wix.com/dumcyouth/ministries
There's still time to join us in Nashville and experience NYWC for yourself. Visit NYWC.com for all the details.