5 Reasons To Be Excited About NYWC

Youth Specialties
September 21st, 2014

Each year, thousands of youth workers from all across the country get together for these crazy gatherings called the National Youth Worker Convention. It’s a unique time for a truly unique kind of person—the youth worker. NYWC is a time when youth workers are challenged, encouraged, and supported in their ministry of leading students to find and follow Jesus. There’s plenty to be excited about and to increase that excitement, Mark Matlock, the executive director of Youth Specialties, wanted to share 5 key things that he can’t wait to be a part of at NYWC.

To learn, share, and create with like-minded people.

There are many events about leadership, but NYWC is all about youth ministry. It’s good to be with people who share a passion to help teens find and follow Jesus. Long before I was involved in leadership at YS, NYWC was an incredible time. Not only were the seminars and Big Room gatherings inspiring, but the in-between spaces also became huge moments in my life. I can remember running into Doug Fields for the first time in the hallway and in the less than five minutes we talked, his personal words led to a significant change in the direction of my life. I’m never surprised any more when I hear others share similar, unplanned, sacred moments that have taken place all throughout NYWC. Bring people together and good stuff happens.

This year, we’ll be offering three types of personal consultation for anyone interested. Youth Ministry Architects will be present to help consult with you on any issues related to the design of your youth ministry program. We have a team of spiritual directors available to work with you individually to slow down and experience God while you are at the convention. And this year we have a team of YS Coaches onsite to assist with one on one coaching for your personal development. It’s all part of your registration so take advantage of that help!

To be stretched.

I rarely come away from NYWC feeling completely validated… and that’s a good thing! There is always someone who annoys me with their perspective or their practice of youth ministry or someone who is doing a much better job than me in something. This uncomfortable feeling is why I have always loved NYWC. Whether I agree or disagree with those around me, I always feel like I’m moving forward in my own journey with Jesus and I leave the conference wanting to be different. Personally, I rarely grow without some discomfort. I know it sounds weird to have to pay money for an event and potentially feel uncomfortable, but growth just doesn’t seem to happen any other way.

The new schedule.

(Check out the new schedule for NYWC Sacramento HERE and NYWC Atlanta HERE.)

Our new schedule has given us an opportunity to create new spaces and learning environments. One of those spaces that I’m really excited about is YS Explores in Sacramento and Atlanta, which we plan to make a recurring feature at NYWC. It’s not a seminar or a Big Room, but a large gathering for the all attendees to explore a subject from multiple perspectives. This year YS will explore the idea of outreach: How do we reach teenagers who don’t know Jesus? Presenters include youth ministers doing some amazing things around the country to engage teens with Christ outside the walls of church. You’ll hear from Dave Rahn, Jeremy Del Rio, Paige Clingenpiel, Amy Williams, Greg Stier, and Brock Morgan on topics like reaching teens in crisis with Google Ad words, ministering to teens in prison, how to form school partnerships, and more. This session will give you food for thought and space to gain vision around what you can do to reach teens.

We also have several great pre-conference Intensives in Sacramento and Atlanta to go deeper in topics like youth ministry management and teens and sexual identity with experts from around the country.

The Family Rooms.

This year, we continue to build on the legacy of the Family Rooms we launched two years ago. For those who haven’t yet participated, this is a time when we gather in circles of six to learn, share, and create together. As a part of the Family Rooms in Sacramento and Atlanta this fall, we’ll be having conversations around why the church needs youth ministry. Together, we’ll share stories and insights that will help us strengthen the role of youth ministry in our churches and communities. I am very excited about this year’s conversations, so make them a priority! This is not only a time to receive, but a time to give to others as well.

Worshipping together and spending time with God.

Regardless of everything else that happens at NYWC, I walk away feeling like I have had time with God. NYWC has become so important to youth workers for their spiritual rejuvenation. Joining together and singing and praying with thousands of youth leaders does something to the soul. For me to get away, fill my tank with new ideas, and be stretched by good thinkers is all good, but (for me) spending time with God, outside my normal context, impacts me deeply. In this environment, Jesus changes me… It’s mysterious and I’m not exactly sure how, but He does.

And, with all this in mind, I am praying that your life will be changed too. I personally invite you to join us this year in either Sacramento on Oct. 2-5, 2014, or in Atlanta on Nov. 20-23, 2014.

It’s not too late to join us for NYWC. We would love to see you there and honestly, it won’t be the same without you. Visit NYWC.com for more info. 

Youth Specialties

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.