I spent the last couple days checking out and leading a workshop at the Student Leadership Conference that Doug Fields (I stole the photos from his blog recap) and his team have been doing for years and brought to the east coast for the first time.
I loved it.
It was incredibly well put together – which shouldn’t be a surprise since it’s the same team behind YSpalooza, NYWC, Planet Wisdom and more. I was really impressed with the speaker lineup – for the ticket price I wasn’t expecting half a dozen of the top names in youth ministry!
I thought it was a great balance of deep learning, workshops, and fun outlets. And I had a blast leading my workshop!
I loved how the conference was saturated with examples of students being leaders, whether it was all the worship music being student led, the 17 year old author who spoke, giving opportunities for kids to get involved, be up front and more. The message came through loud and clear that students ARE the church and are capable of a LOT. It was exciting seeing the bar set high and teens being excited to rise to it.
All that to say, next year I’m making it a priority. It’s exactly the kind of training opportunity our student leaders need to experience.
One thought on “Student Leadership Conference 2012 thoughts”
I was intrigued by the statement “students ARE the church”. I certainly agree they are the future of the church. It has concerned me for some time that the students of BVBC do not generally attend Sunday services with the congregation, and for many the only example of the body and worship is with a “congregation” of their peers. The larger multigenerational body may not fit their concept of “worship” and “church” , and the church may lose them as they search for something that is more in line with what they have come to think of as “church” from their formative years.
Both the students and the larger body miss out on many opportunities for shared experience by keeping the two separate. When the graduates are pictured in a spring worship service, or we pray for those on mission trips, their faces are often unfamiliar, even if we recognize their family names. Conversely, the students may know only the names of adults who their parents mention in their presence.
Both groups have a lot to learn from each other but we can only do that if we know each other. Perhaps one Sunday a month (or even every quarter if necessary) could be a youth participation service with teens acting as greeters, ushers, and providing testimonies or their faith stories and special music, reading scripture and leading prayer.
Matthew, BVBC is blessed to have you as youth pastor. You are shepherd to an amazing group of young people and the future church will be in good hands, provided they know and experience “church” as corporate worship.