The SYMC2010 is winding down. As I type, it is Sunday, late in the afternoon. There is one general session scheduled for tonight and the final general session tomorrow. Since we are leaving early Monday morning and will miss the the final event, I thought I’d type up my review of the weekend. Then I will process some of the personal implications of the weekend, and share them on Monday or Tuesday.
Overall, the Simply Youth Ministry Conference was amazing! I love Doug Fields because he has a heart for pastors. And it’s that heart that has made this conference so special.
SYMC is a smaller, more intimate event. So despite being 1 of 2500, you feel like he, and the other presenters are speaking with you and not just at you. The conference is trimmed down as well. There’s less show, less stuff, and less pressure. There is no exhibit hall so there is no sales pitches, but at the same time, little to no resources, if that’s what you are look for. The entertainment is less, almost eliminating the sale of products; CD & DVD.
This is a conference designed to build up the youth work from the soul out. If you’re looking for the next youth min fad or cool resources or quick fix bandaide, you’re not going to find it here. Doug has said for years, “Leaders are Learners.” That’s what this weekend is all about.
I like the ideas of the Deep Tracks. These 8 hour “classes” put you infront of the likes of Walt Meuller, Duffy Robins, Marv Penner, Rich Van Pelt, Rick Lawrence, Chap Clark, Jeanne Mayo, and Les Christie for 8 hours! This is time spent, digging deep into the topic, exploring the sub-topics, nuances, pit falls, joys, frustrations, warnings, and tools that will add to your success. 8 hours of instruction from the guys who have spent years thinking, creating, writing, and applying their knowledge and wisdom.
8 hours too much for you? Then the 4 hour half tracks, which share the same goals, might interest you. Still not committed to the time frame, pop in and out of the work jobs and heart-to-heart seminars which offer great flexibility.
However you gather your information, you can know that it’s good information. The presenter take the time to share their knowledge and experience with you. These aren’t think tank guys; they’re the real deal, hands-on, and there here for you.
And the topics? Whether you’re big church, small church, urban church, rural church, 20 year veteran, or 6 week into the job, there is more than enough on the agenda to perk your interest. If after looking at the long list of topics you still don’t find something that interests you, your might be dead. With 20 years of ministry experience and 10 years of conference history, I still found myself being convicted, challenged, encouraged, and refreshed. It’s true, “Leaders are Learners. When you stop learning, you stop leading.”
I have a new home. For me, SYMC is a place where I can reconnect with the career-call that God places on my heart 20 years ago. This is a conference where I can focus on me and my spiritual health without the distractions of concerts, entertainment, social causes, latest crazes, hot new authors, and cheesy big room antics from a guy who entertains kids at a summer camp. Don’t get me wrong, all that is fun and good. It’s just, sometimes, the Adult Pastor in me needs a little adult encouragement, challenge, and love.
Thanks SYMC for a wonderful weekend. Thanks for the challenge. Thanks for reminding me of those who poured into me so long ago. And thank you for the encouragement to be a legacy to my family and my students.
I’ll see you back here, in Chicago, in 2011. Only then, I’m bring my wife along so she can be refreshed as well.