There are three ways an event aimed at youth workers can go to make it worthwhile for me to attend.
The first and best way is when someone clearly preaches the gospel to me as a youth worker so that my heart rejoices in Jesus Christ and I cry out for his help in my ministry and I leave knowing I fight for these young people on the side of a risen conquering King.
The second event aims to make me think “Oh, I haven’t thought of that, that might be something that is worth trying”. These events can be a bit hit or miss because often people want to offer the one idea they have to present as the magic bullet that’ll solve your youth work ills1. Also they can leave me wracked in guilt (yes, I know I should be working more with their parents).
The third event makes me angry. Someone stands up and says something that is against the Gospel. Martin Luther once said
I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart. Sometimes getting righteously pissed off is the quickest way to articulate your beliefs clearly, even if it means realising you’re wrong when you calm down. That said, you don’t have to go out of you way to find things to be angry about, nor is it a lot of fun to sit through an event just to be angry for a while. Also, you need to have a good pub and a good friend to go to afterwards to rant and wind down.
With those three things outlined, I’ll point you at two events coming up. The first is the Bible Centred Youth Worker Conference 2011 (pdf). I’ve heard some talks here that have warmed my heart like no other, and also have had some decent ideas and some pretty narked anger. The other event is the Youth Work Summit which due to it’s nature of lots of speakers for short periods of time promises to have something of everything in there. It’d be great to see people who read this website at one or both of them, and presumably as people are going out for beer and dinner afterwards, I’ll buy you a pint (or the equivalent amount of pork scratchings) if you come up to me and say hello. In London that’s worth a lot, it’s like a £3.20 discount off your ticket, but seeing as your church or charity should be paying for you to attend it’s more like your church or charity is buying you beer. And how often does that happen?
1 To fully mix the metaphors, presumably it’ll solve your ills by shooting them in the head. That’ll teach that disruptive teenager a lesson.