Someone recently asked me how long I’ve been teaching workshops at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC)… and I couldn’t even remember. It was back when NYWC was pretty much the only convention!
I mean, I’m no Jim Burns… Jim had Noah in his junior high group… but I started teaching workshops at NYWC back when I was working full time with Youth for Christ, and that’s over 11 years ago. I’m guessing that this is probably my 13th year??? And I’ll be teaching two workshops this year in both San Diego and Dallas.
It’s fun digging out some of my old training PowerPoints (I keep all of that stuff). One of the first workshops I taught at NYWC was titled, “Understanding and Reaching the Unchurched Teen.” That workshop was the beginning of my book, Do They Run When They See You Coming? In years to come I taught “Do They Run…” as a seminar, then a workshop titled Getting Students to Show Up, then Connect, then Ministry by Teenagers. Each of these workshops turned into books. (We even posted a YouTube video of a piece of my Connect workshop, shot at NYWC in Atlanta a few years back.)
I also remember slipping into other workshops and taking copious notes. That was the cool thing about NYWC. It always provided a cornucopia of workshop choices from names you recognized in the youth ministry world. One of my favorite workshops was Doug Field’s “Purpose Driven Youth Ministry.” I didn’t know Doug back then, but I loved his stuff. I still hand new youth workers a copy of Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, a great tool that forces us to think about the “why” as we develop our methodology.
Another NYWC highlight was always the late Mike Yaconelli’s speech near the beginning of the conference. He gave everyone permission to make the conference exactly what they needed it to be. He said that if you needed time away, then skip the sessions. If you need time to work on your marriage, then just stay in your hotel room. One year he even introduced a youth worker who had attended NYWC the year prior and took Mike’s advice. Then they displayed a picture of a baby on the screen… one they had made one year ago exactly!
So NYWC has a special place in my heart. It’s been through some intriguing years… to say the least… but has always provided good training and resources. Now, under the helm of guys like Mark Matlock and Doug Fields, it can’t be in better hands!
If you’re curious what I’m teaching this year, you can see it detailed HERE.
If you can’t make it… no worries… you can grab the books or curriculum HERE.