When You Can’t Bring Them To A Conference

I’m pumped and excited because in 11 days I’ll be heading to Louisville, KY for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference.  It’s a chance to reconnect with all my peers in ministry, grow as a disciple of Christ and just allow the Holy Spirit to refuel my fire for youth ministry.  I don’t know if you are going, but if you are give a shout out and let’s meet up.  What I love about this conference is how it’s one for youth ministers by youth ministers; therefore, the connection is real.
Another thing that has me really excited is that I have the opportunity to bring some of my team along for the ride.  This is going to be a chance for them to see ministry from a different perspective.  A chance to get out of the trees to see the entire forest.  It’ll give them the opportunity to be fed and challenged by other youth ministers.
Whether you are going to SYMC or not there are many benefits from attending a conference.  To bring your team is an added bonus; however, one that we all can’t receive.  With tight budgets and busy schedules bringing your team to a conference is tough, so instead:
There are a few ways of doing this with low costs; yet, high impact.  To start off look at:

  • Canned Conference – There are a ton of available resources out there from Right Now Conference to Catalyst.  When you use a canned conference you give your ministers the opportunity to hear from amazing speakers, with the convenience of staying at home.  Another benefit is the ability to move at a pace that works for you; therefore, the conference can be viewed in a weekend or over a few weeks.  At least once a year we bring our team together to watch these speakers and then we break down what we’ve heard together.
  • Streaming Conferences – These can be hard to find; however, they’ll connect you with live attendees.  With Twitter, Facebook and other social media interactions you can go deeper on topics with people around the world.  A few great ones to check out are Radicalis, ReBuild My Church and the Chick-fil-a Leadercast.  The beauty here is you can bring your team together and watch it live or watch it separately keep in touch online.
  • Put On Your Own – Sometimes the best learning experiences come from home.  Granted you’ll be digging into your own resources; however, ask people from your congregation who can offer insight on leadership, teamwork and communication.  Ask a few volunteers to come and speak to your ministers about what they’ve learned in their fields and how they can apply the principles in youth ministry.

Conferences are great, they are powerful and if you get the chance to bring at least one member of your team do it.  It’s a sign of investment and it’s a chance to connect them to the bigger community in a new light.  But if you can’t bring them to the site, bring the site to them.
Again, if you are stopping by the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Louisville, KY this year feel free to say hello.  I believe you can still register.

What other conference resources would you recommend?