This blog is titled “Conversation from MY Couch” for two reasons: First, one of the taglines I have heard for NYMC is “Conversations from the Couch”, with the idea being that the conference is conversational and connectional. Second, I had to call it “Convesration from MY Couch” since I am now home from the conference. (Myself and Lisa came back early to pick up the little one from Lisa’s parents – I was bummed to leave, but excited to see our little girl).
Here’s why I loved the conference:
Authentic and Connectional: Thanks to all the guys and gals at Group/Simplyyouthministry.com I had an awesome conference. I have to say, it was my most impactful conference yet! The atomasphere there is personal and connectional and it feels like you are there to hang out and grow with friends. There is no ‘them and us’ with the speakers, and for the most part you get a chance to interact with them and ask lots questions. Other conferences seem a little impersonal these days… Simple ideas like the ‘sack chairs’ all over the place for people to hang out and talk and take time to dig deeper. The affinity groups are not just a good idea, but I saw guys and gals talking and discovering answers together in real authentic community. The final thing that made this conference very connectional and conversational was the way in which they did the ‘brown bag’ workshops. Many of these happened during the lunch time and were set up in relaxed discussion format with lots of interaction from everyone.
Deep: I spent 8 hours (in two days) in a deep learning track with Dan Webster from Authentic Leadership Inc. The track was called: ‘The Path to Long-Term Youth Ministry’. The content was not only insightful, it was transformational. Sometimes, us youthworkers spend a lot of time working on our skills and tools of youth ministry yet fail to realize that our heart and soul are so inextricably linked to our success as youthworkers. This track helped individuals to see how our effectiveness and longevity requires us to understand the patterns of leadership, (and what to expect), while also being able to take an honest and introspective assessment of who we are and what makes us tick. If we are honest with ourselves and God, so much of what we do can come from negative influences ‘below the surface’ of our lives. Whether it is past hurts, insecurity, a moral struggle, or a dry walk with God, it is these things that will often alter the direction of our ministry effectiveness. Dan Webster took us on an effective journey of personal introspection, but also a journey of hope, healing, and excitement for future. Awesome stuff.
Fun: As I would have hoped, there were a lot of elements of fun to be able to relax and forget about ministry too. From the hilarious ‘music videos’ to the crazy and funny ‘video announcements’, they really captured the wacky minds of youthworkers. Take a look below to see a copy of examples…
All in all, a great conference. It gets an ‘A’ from me and I plan on attending next year. Thanks Group and SYM!