Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Youth Ministry Unconference

Sometimes I wish my brain was larger. Thoughts of more effective student ministry, new relationships and deepening older friendships are flooding my mind.

Yesterday at 12:20 pm the "unconference" officially ended but the conversations were just beginning. After lunch with youth workers and time at the pub I realized what I experienced over the previous 30 hours had profound impact on me. As I'm beginning to unravel what "unconference" means for my ministry and perhaps for student ministry in general I have 3 observations to share...

1. Conversation is almost always better than lecture.

We know this don't we? Conferences and conventions are so much fun and useful, but to be honest the high points of my learning and contribution as it relates to student ministry and life have come from settings where intentional conversations happen.

That's really what this "unconference" was all about. Discussions and topics flowing from the needs, interests and expertise of those who were there. For me valuable learning happens when story, questions and experience come together. In every discussion I had there was pertinent information I learned and hopefully some I contributed.

That's how I (and most people) learn the best.

2. Youth Workers need each other

It's super neat to see the instant camaraderie that happens when people with like hearts come together for problem solving. I'm a big believer in relational networking for youth workers but was reminded of it's importance again. In addition to expertise there were relationships that began and friendships that were deepened.

There are many people on staff at churches who don't feel they have a safe place to be vulnerable. For some, "unconference" gave a glimmer of hope that there are safe people out there who will encourage and walk beside us when we mess up.

3. Experts are everywhere

It was amazing to watch experienced and inexperienced people rub shoulders. I learned from women who have been in student ministry for just a few years and from others who where veterans. Every person who attended added value to the conversation. Sure, some had more experience but sometimes too much experience keeps us from seeing things from a new perspective.

Tomorrow we'll meet as a team to unpack all that God taught us. I'm excited to hear what they heard, experienced and contributed.


  1. This sounds sweet...where was this "unconference" at?


    We held it at Irving Bible Church in Dallas.