Monday, June 17, 2024
Monday, June 17, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTUDENT MINISTRY: Taking Time for Conferences

STUDENT MINISTRY: Taking Time for Conferences

      These last three weeks have been crazy ones for me. I have attended the Sing conference in Nashville, the Student Pastor Summit and For the Church conference in Kansas City and the Student Ministry Workers Retreat at Central Baptist College of Conway. Besides a stack of free books, I received hours of great teaching.

      When we think of conferences, we too often think in terms of places we can take our students. We want the best for them and have seen the value of spending time away sitting under God’s Word. However, I would suggest that we need to consider the same for ourselves. As student ministry workers, we can be so caught up in the “doing” of ministry that we forget to invest in our own spiritual growth and renewal. Doctors, therapists, teachers and more spend time in continuing education. We need to be mindful of the same as student ministry workers. If you have thought, “I just don’t have time for that,” consider a few reasons to attend a conference in the coming year:

         • We are not bottomless pits of energy and spiritual vitality. I have often heard that we teach and lead out of the overflow. That is great if we are taking time to invest in our own spiritual understanding and relationship with God. However, that isn’t always the case. We need to find those conferences that speak to our hearts and plan a trip.

         • We need to grow in our understanding of ministry. Many will say, “I’m not in vocational ministry.” I would suggest that is even more reason to go to a retreat or conference that focuses on an area of ministry in which you may not feel comfortable. The right conference can teach you something you didn’t know or at least say something in a way that you never understood before. My taekwondo instructor would always encourage us to go to rallies because they would give us the opportunity to train under someone new. During the course of these rallies and trainings, that other instructor might teach a concept to me that my instructor had been trying to get into my head for a while, but the guest instructor might say it in a way that I simply connected. Conferences can be like that for us. We hear an outside voice and suddenly the concept resonates.

         • We need community. Inevitably, I meet people at conferences that bless my life. Recently, I sat next to a man at the For the Church Conference that had experienced many of the same health issues my son deals with, and that conversation was encouraging. I have met others that I have been able to encourage as well. God never created us to live as hermits on the side of a mountain. We need the church and other believers. Conferences can be a place where you can meet some of those people.

         • We may simply need a time of renewal for ourselves. Ministry is hard. I have heard it said, “There are no part-time pastors, just part-time pay.” I think that is pretty accurate. Whether we are full-time or bivocational, carrying around the needs and concerns of our people is a heavy task. Even when we don’t go into the office for a day, there are really no days off. A conference can be a part of your self-care strategy. Find one that speaks to your soul.

      I would definitely recommend the events that I have attended, especially that last one at CBC. (I might be a little biased about that one.) However, you need to find something that speaks to your heart while remaining thoroughly biblical. Those are the events that can be life changing.

      Let me encourage you to consider the Re:Charge Leader’s Oasis sponsored by Healthy Church Solutions. There is still time to register. You can find more information at bmaamerica.org/recharge.

      Join our Facebook group (Facebook.com/groups/StudentMinistryMattersCommunity) and let us know about your favorite conferences and trainings. We are always looking for good recommendations.

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