The “After” Glow…SYMC 2011

The banners are down. The sack-chairs are gone. The bookstore is all closed up. The hotel is empty. It’s eerie really. With the exception of a headline on the hotel touch-screen informational display, you would never know that the Simply Youth Ministry Conference was ever here.

For the last four days, the Hyatt O’Hare, was abuzz as 3000 Youth Workers laughed, cried, played, learned, encouraged, prayed, and worshipped together. It was an amazing weekend with old and new friends!

This year was my second attending the Simply Youth Ministry Conference (SYMC). I fell in love with the conference and the SYM/Group staff. Their heart is all about ministering to Youth Workers. For Youth Workers by Youth Workers, isn’t a pretty byline but what this conference is all about.

Following the 2010 conference, I was invited to attend a planning summit held at Group’s headquarters in Loveland, CO. It was there where I saw this heart for youth workers and I knew I wanted to be part of this ministry. Yes ministry.

SYMC isn’t an event. It’s not about product. It doesn’t boost an endless sea of exhibitors pushing their camp, mission trip, or newest curriculum. Simply Youth Ministry and Group want one thing; to train up youth workers who are authentic, relational, innovative, Jesus-centered, and ready for deeper learning.

For me, SYMC has given me a fresh eyes to see the call that God has placed on my heart to love and minister to students. And for that, I am so grateful!

This past weekend, I was blessed to lead a Connect Group. Connect Groups are gatherings of youth workers looking to share life and ministry with each another. I met with the Life Milestones Connect Group. It was an amazing group of great youth workers crossing over a diversity of life milestones. As each shared their story, my heart broke, rejoiced, and celebrated this journey we share. I really enjoyed being with these incredible youth workers.

But what spoke to my heart the most was the message from Doug Fields, and the RARE Voice of Jesus. It was a powerful reminder of what’s important when ministering to students. It was the gentle nudge I needed.

The Simply Youth Ministry Conference is unlike any other conference or convention out there. If you have the opportunity to attend a conference or convention, I higher recommend the Simply Youth Ministry Conference.

Next years conference will be held in Louisville, KY, from March 2nd, to March 5th, 2012. I wouldn’t wait too long to register. 2010 – SOLD OUT! 2011 – SOLD OUT! And we have already had a couple hundred youth workers register for 2012! i hope to see YOU there!

– jay

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