This past weekend I went to the FOCUS Conference in Jackson, TN to bond, learn from, and hang out with some old and new friends. And although I haven’t developed an unhealthy addiction to conferences (like some of my friends have), I do love getting together with like-minded youth workers who get where I live everyday and challenge me to be better. After attending this past FOCUS conference, I was reminded of why these events are important and how much I LOVE meeting with, being encouraged/encouraging, and being equipped/equipping people whose heart is for the Lord and whose passion is to see students get connected with Him in life-altering ways. Every youth pastors should attend at least one conference like this a year. So… here are four reasons why I will go back to the FOCUS Conference in 2015(Don’t know if I can wait that long).
Hang with people who understand your calling
Most of the people in my life are amazed at what it takes to be a youth worker – I smile when someone says, “I don’t now how you do it” but love it when someone says, “I’m going to steal that idea to do with my kids.” Why go to FOCUS conference? To be surrounded with called people just like you. They know the headaches and the adventures of your life. It’s priceless to have that time together.
Be challenged by people who push us forward
I love reading someone’s book and then hearing them in person. This was the case with Noah Watts. I already had read every blog post he’s written, but when you hear his heart about student ministry, it means so much more. (Not to mention his delivery style. Honestly, you could make a conference just off of how he communicated so effectively.) Nevertheless, I try to learn from people who I agree with, and be challenged by people who rub me the wrong way. A conference experience should give you both. It’s how you continue to grow.
Have someone look into my soul and do a tune up
I have struggles, sins, and secrets that as a student pastor I simply can’t share in my context. But finding someone to just talk to about life and what’s going in ministry is important as well. I made sure that I didn’t just hit up the conversations and general sessions. Steal some time away with another youth worker to share your deepest heart issues, too.
Get away from it all
Sometimes you just need a little time away. At FOCUS Conference, we were given multiple opportunities to just relax and catch our breath from the ministry. The conference benefited from this and I did as well. You don’t get enough time to escape responsibility of life. Make the most of it when you can.
Conferences like this are etched into your memories forever! If you did not get to attend the FOCUS Conference there is a drop-card that is available for purchase HERE.