Who do you want to meet and why? Two years ago I read the book: Leading Change without losing it by Carey Nieuwhof. It guided me greatly as I lead tons of change in our student ministry including building small group culture from the ground up. Carey was a hero of knowledge in his book, I simply wanted to thank him for writing the book and share some victories I had because of his leadership imparted to me. Not only did I get to meet him but we had breakfast! Last year it was talking with Doug Fields for about 10 minutes about our current student ministry goals and getting his feedback. Don’t be shy, get out there and meet someone new, introduce yourself. Oh… and may I add, some of my most beneficial conversations didn’t come from the well known ministry leaders – it was buying a coffee for some Orange specialists. I really enjoy my time with Jeremy Zach & Matt Ivy when I get the opportunity.
Your team should rarely be together. You spend almost every waking moment with your team trying to solve the world’s problems within your own church. The next few days, here’s your strategy – divide and conquer. Don’t attend the same breakouts, if you all have the same schedule do yourself a favor and mix it up now – switch your breakouts and exchange notes when you get home.
Down time is prime time. If there isn’t a main session or breakout happening you need to understand this very plainly – 6,500 other like minded people are sitting, eating or browsing the bookstore! Now is the time to meet new people, develop ministry relationships outside of your own bubble and talk shop. Use social media (Twitter) to connect with others quickly. Example: Hey #stumin people at #OC15 I’d like to meet some other youth pastors and learn from you, you have 5 min? I’m in main lobby by water fountain. For real, if you’d like to hangout for a bit during the conference hit me up on Twitter @ChrisParker0
What are your top 3 questions in ministry right now? Have those questions ready for any peer or leader in ministry you might encounter.
Here are mine:
- How do you create a program that is equally inviting to unchurched students while also discipling the current students you have?
- Ministry is really heavy, how do you avoid taking it all home with you?
- Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently over the past few years in ministry? I always ask this question, I want to learn from other’s mistakes… hoping I won’t make them myself!
Back to the drawing board. Here’s what I’m stoked about. The next few days will fly by but it doesn’t end there. Schedule a time NOW with your team, supervisor, volunteers to discuss what you learned and talk strategically about how you want to implement these ideas into what you are doing already. Get the flip chart out or sticky notes and go to town. There should be too much to talk about and that’s ok. I’d recommend at least two full days with your team to digest and develop a game plan moving forward. The biggest mistake is to go home and just continue in the same routine without unpacking anything.
Are you reading from afar? No worries you can watch LIVE sessions from the couch or office, by yourself or with your team. Set aside some time in the next few days to look at the schedule and make a point to join us!