“Conferencing” sounds like it is related to “shopping” or ”eating”. I picture someone with a list of all the available youth ministry conferences selecting which ones to attend based on their particular criteria of the moment – sort of like selecting food from a menu or clothes that will look good AND fit well.
“I need to be spiritually fed.” Well, then, attend conference B in a big city. There are a lot of great inspirational speakers and incredibly moving music.
“I don’t know what I’m doing.” Conference G has a great line up of youth ministry practitioners. They really know what they are doing because they are successfully pulling it off at their church.
“I feel Biblically inadequate.” There are a load of seminary professors and other theologians teaching at Conference C. Download their insight and knowledge to take back to your youth.
There are quite a few youth ministry conferences, filling quite a few needs. Here are the criteria I use for choosing a conference and why the Youth Ministry Academy fits all of them (iloveyouthministry.com).
1. Intimate Experience – I like conferences where you can actually get to know the people at the conference. Two years ago the Skit Guys and Mark DeVries were the keynote speakers. They hung out until everyone else went home. They were available to talk, laugh, and share advice. Kenda Creasy Dean is the keynote in January. She defines “approachable”. The workshops will be intimate also. Class sizes will be 15-35 people on purpose, thereby encouraging a dialogue between the instructor and the people in the class. After hours options will also group people into social settings so they can easily meet others – great for the person coming by themselves.
2. Great Instruction – Most of the instructors are practicing youth ministers while the others have expertise in the field they are teaching. Some teach on a regular basis for the Youth Ministry Institute or academic institutions around the country. There may be a strange title or an odd course description. But, there won’t be a bad workshop at the Youth Ministry Academy.
3. Food – I love conferences where I don’t have to worry about food. The cost of all the meals is included. And, if you are staying at the Embassy Suites, a full made-to-order breakfast is included.
4. Florida in January – Admittedly I don’t look for this when I choose a conference. I already live in Florida. So, I know how it feels here year round. But, for everybody north of here, I know what you’re thinking in January. And, if you live in Florida, Orlando is the easiest city to get to. Our conference hotels offer an extended rate if you decide to visit the other tourist destinations in Central Florida.
5. Overall Cost – With food included, the cost of the Youth Ministry Academy has no competitors. Look beyond the registration cost. Plane flights and hotel accommodations are affordable because Orlando is a frequent destination. You will spend less and enjoy it more.
So, get out your checklist and visit the website, Iloveyouthministry.com. It won’t take you long to book your flight to Orlando in January.