5 Reasons I Go To Youth Ministry Conferences

Steve Cullum
May 20th, 2020

Conferences and conventions are a part of almost every job and sub-culture. You have your tech conferences, comic book conventions, marketing events, and so forth.

Youth ministry is no different, and I love going to them! I also enjoy a good comic con, but I digress.

When it comes down to it, I’m a nerd. I loved school and learning. I didn’t really like the homework, but other than those 8am Monday classes (ugh!), I did enjoy going to class and hanging out with friends. Conferences and conventions are often like going to class without the worry of assignments and a teacher grading your performance.

There are quite a few youth ministry events throughout the year, and here are five reasons why I try to attend as many of them as possible:

Free (and Cheap) Stuff

Events are always filled with vendors trying to tell you about their new products and resources. Yes, sometimes they can be a bit forceful, but vendors also give out samples. Some even have great prizes you can win and great deals on resources. There was one conference where I needed a second bag to carry all the free and cheap items I picked up over those three days. 

Lots of Connections

I love hearing about what God is doing in ministries around the world. At past conferences, I’ve met people from all over North America, but I’ve also met people who lead in Europe, Africa, and Australia. Yes, I am an extrovert, so being around other like-minded people for several days fills me like few things can. However, for those of you who are more introverted, many events do have places to pull away and do what introverts do. You can even have a chat with an old friend or someone you just met.

Breaks from Routine

Let’s face it. Even though we love ministry, it’s always nice to get away for a bit and do something new. We all can easily get overwhelmed or caught up in the organization of ministry programs. In fact, many of you might not get a chance to actually attend your church’s worship service on a regular basis because you’re always leading something. At conferences and conventions, I get to actually spend time in worship, listen to a speaker, and simply take it in. 

Opportunities to Grow

Don’t we all want to be better leaders? We all know the common saying that leaders are learners. Events like these provide great opportunities to learn and grow. There are always great speakers, who have so much wisdom from their many years of experience. I love sitting at their feet and learning. There are also opportunities to interact with other great leaders between sessions, over coffee, or in a hotel lobby after a full day. I always grow from these experiences, and when I grow, my ministry and my team also reap the benefits. 

Excuses to Travel

While I love being home, I equally love to visit other places. Being in youth ministry where the paycheck is not so great, it is tough to travel. This is where conferences and conventions come into play. Yes, this should not be the sole reason why you attend an event (the other reasons like connecting and growing are far more important), but it is a great added perk. I particularly enjoy events that are hosted in different cities each year, because I also get to visit a new place.

Speaking of conferences, if you have not noticed (jk), Youth Specialities has one coming up this November. If you’re interested in attending the National Youth Worker Convention, visit the website. I will be there, and as I mentioned earlier, I would love to meet you in person and chat about youth ministry.

Steve Cullum

Steve Cullum is the student pastor at LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, CO, where he oversees their ministry to sixth through twelfth grade students and their families. He also hosts The Student Ministry Podcast and volunteers for the National Network of Youth Ministries. You can follow him on Twitter @stevecullum.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.