What I Learned from Attending NYWC

Jacob Eckeberger
December 2nd, 2016

The National Youth Workers Convention always promises and delivers so much to those who attend. This year’s conference did not disappoint. Attempting to cover them all the takeaways won’t be feasible, but I will hit on some that I personally walked away with, and hope that they will bless those who didn’t attend.

  • In order to be used by God we must submit to His timing. Which means acknowledging that when we ask God why He is waiting, perhaps He is waiting on us. So GO!
  • Our view of heaven is directly reflected in how we live our lives and do ministry. If our view is small our ministry will never grow because we are not letting there be room for God to do great things.
  • Youth ministers come in all shapes, sizes, genders, ethnicities, and denominational backgrounds.
  • There are tons of resources out there to help you succeed in youth ministry, and a lot of them are free!
  • If we can’t imagine how we will spend time in the presence of God in heaven, we will not live on earth like we are spending time in God’s presence.
  • Youth workers totally fangirl over Josh Griffin, Doug Fields, Greg Stier, and many more.
  • Youth workers love free stuff (that’s a given but if you are in desperate need of a new wardrobe, unlimited candy, and tons bracelets then come to NYWC).
  • The church of God is the only plan, and there is no other option! What are we doing to unite the Bride of Christ to reflect what it will be in eternity?
  • God is not done with you or your ministry. As long as He sits on His throne He still has a move left and He will move through you! Be encouraged that this isn’t it and that God will work through you.
  • Sand art is visually stunning.
  • The church of Jesus Christ is “plan A”, there is no “plan B.”
  • God has a long history of using broken people for His honor.
  • Good neighbors don’t drive through, they journey with.
  • Worship is meant to be the force that shoves us outside the church, not the doors that keep us inside of it.
  • By loving students and spending time with them, this is how we will impact our schools and neighborhoods. This will be how we make a transformational difference in the lives of students.
  • Eugene Cho is not Francis Chan.
  • Worship does not need to be and shouldn’t be stagnant but full of vibrancy, joy, and praise.
  • Racial reconciliation is something we must be pursuing in our youth groups and churches.
  • Youth workers love Instagram and Twitter but spelling and grammar can go unheeded…mostly because we type too fast and our thoughts run together.
  • The LGBTQ community needs to know that the church extends love, grace, and reconciliation for past wrongs, future poor choice of comments, and the alienation they have received.
  • Concrete can do lots of damage to your face if you fall and don’t catch yourself.
  • God has a heart for students.
  • Programs don’t change people, Jesus changes people.
  • Youth leaders must do more to engage their schools and neighborhoods.
  • The Download Card from YS is the best offer out there. Most of the sessions with the ability to listen, take notes, and have them at your disposal.
  • The YS Blog is a phenomenal resource for youth leaders.
  • DYM has a lot of fun games for youth groups and youth leaders alike.
  • Youth Specialties will not shy away from talking about the hard topics.

The joking and humor aside, NYWC is something that every youth worker should attend at some point in their career. It provides resources, rejuvenation, lasting friendships, networking opportunities, and invaluable teaching and education. My advice to those who’s budgets cannot support them in going to the conference is begin saving for the future. A little money put away at varying times will accrue and allow for the funds to develop. Also, ask Youth Specialties if there are any opportunities for a scholarship or volunteering at the conferences that will help to supplement the cost. NYWC is completely worth it, and is life and ministry changing.

Hopefully we will see you next year in Memphis!

Nick Mance is a youth pastor in Iowa and is married to his wife Elise. Nick has served in a variety of ministry capacities for over ten years and is a writer, blogger, speaker, and communicator specializing in student and family ministry. You can find him on Twitter @NICK_MANCE & his personal blog at NICKMANCE.BLOGSPOT.COM.

Jacob Eckeberger

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.