Some I have met, some I hope to this year in Louisville.
Connecting is my favorite part of SYMC. There is no pressure that you “have to attend” any or all of the sessions or breakouts. They are structured in a way that you will want to attend, but if you meet another youth worker that is going through the same thing as you, that you can encourage, or you can be encouraged by, great! Go get a cup of coffee and a table or couch.
This year will be my third at SYMC. I am not leading a workshop, I am not part of the planning team (though I know a few members, love, and try to encourage those on the team – it’s a tough job). I am there to learn, connect, and grow.
I am someone that you would think to be a very atypical attendee (but there are more like me than you would think). I am not in a metro area of thousands, I do not serve at a large church, I do not oversee several staff and interns. In twelve years of youth ministry (half of that full-time), I have worked at small and rural churches. They have been in small towns (between 50-10,000 people) where everyone knows everyone else’s junk. Everyone knows who the “failures” and “broken people” are in the community. There is something about that that resonates with me. I believe that it has a whole lot to do with how God has wired me.
I love to read the narratives in the Gospel of Jesus going to the small towns of Israel and doing what only He can do. He went intentionally to Samaria, to connect with the woman at the well. I picture a few people watching, and saying “Oh, he’s a Jew. If he only know whe SHE had been and what SHE had done..” The irony is that Jesus did know and it was exactly why He was there. I love those kinds of stories.
Three years ago, God placed my family within a church in the second poorest county in Indiana (which is geographically bordering the poorest). Unemployment is rampant, drugs, abuse, dysfunctional family environments, and all the other indicators that we live in a fallen world are present. I see broken families, broken lives, broken hearts, and it hurts. It’s overwhelming and inspiring to know that I serve a God that is bigger than all that!
My prayer for the church and our church is that the Club gets closed and the Hospital opened. There are people that need to see the Great Physician, and we need to help make that happen, or get out of the way!
If you are going to SYMC, let me know, I’d love to connect with you. See you there!