The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Why I Go to Conferences...

So this last week, I got approval to attend some conferences and events. Here are some random thoughts.

Tennessee Youth Workers Retreat
I am looking forward to meeting some folks, getting to decompress and see what is happening. Being new to the conference, it is a bit of a leap of faith but I am willing to take it.

Catalyst Conference
Last year I was a part of a church that was using the curriculum provided by Dash Student Leadership. As part of being a partner with them, they send you books, a newsletter and some other things. One of those things last year was a reduced rate to be a part of the Catalyst Conference. So I went and it was great.

Catalyst is designed to help young leaders, be it in business or ministry. I would guess their target demographic is 18-35, and those who vibe with them. It attracts others, I think in large part because of Andy Stanley’s involvement along with some other Northpoint folks and Injoy Ministries. Having some of the older generation there creates some awkwardness sometimes, as when people got up and left Erwin McManus’ talk last year when he touched on the idea of interracial marriage and it being okay. (It was a throw away and not the whole focus of the talk, just FYI.)

I want to go back to Catalyst because I really believe in what they are doing and, long term, I don’t know what is next for me. I hope and pray to be doing youth ministry a long time but I also got some gifts that a lot of people think will lead me to a larger stage. We will see. Regardless, I want to be the best leader I can and Catalyst stretched and encouraged me last year.

National Youth Workers Convention (Youth Specialties)- This year- Charlotte
A long time ago when I was working at Trinity UMC in Waycross, GA, I was encouraged to attend my first Youth Specialties convention. I have been nearly ever year since to whichever one is closest in the southeast. Here are some of the reasons I go:
1. It is challenging. Sometimes a lead speaker or something I hear in a seminar really causes me to thinker harder or stretch my brain and faith more. I really like that aspect of it.
2. I see people I know. Now that I am out of the big time youth ministry event production business, it means I don’t get to see folks in ministry as often as I used to. So it is a great time to see people, catch up and grab a bite to eat.
3. Worship. When you are professionally religious, you always feel like people are watching, thinking and eyeballing you. All the time. There is something incredibly freeing about being at the YS convention and being able to rest, worship unashamedly and do some much needed care for your soul.
4. You get to stay in swank hotels.
5. I need to be reloaded. The truth is that things sap you. This year for me especially, I have gotten the crap kicked out of me and I need some time to reload. It has been slowly happening but some dedicated time to do it will do me a lot of good. In fact, I think I am going to take advantage of the spiritual direction and convention pastors that have always been available. The last couple years I was tempted and probably should have but I was always with my volunteer staff and worried about looking “weak.”

So, all of that to say, it is a great investment to make. All total it will be an investment by the church that is the equivalent of about 5% of my salary. But the renewal it provides and the skills that it builds in me are well worth it.


At 7:26 AM , Anonymous Turff said...

Man, you didn't warn me that I was overage for Catalyst!! Now I'm going to have to spend the whole time being offended and stuff.

At 10:46 AM , Blogger Jason Sansbury said...

Addendum: Nowhere on any of their stuff does it say an age bracket anymore. So, I guess you are good.


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