NYWC Recap: Great Folks Doing Great Ministry
Like so many of you, we just came off four great days at Youth Specialties' National Youth Worker Convention. And like you, we left excited about the state of youth ministry. There are challenges we face in being youth workers and doing youth ministry. No doubt. And these challenges are significant. But, when I survey the landscape of youth workers and the amazing people and ministries on the ground working, I am hopeful. We had SO many awesome conversations with incredible youth workers. To the guys and girls doing youth ministry in the local church, you inspire us, you motivate us, and you give us hope. It's a real honor to serve and equip you. We also left NYWC having had some awesome conversations and interactions with some awesome ministries doing awesome ministry. At ym360, Networking is one of our four areas of focus. For us, Networking means shining a spotlight on those people or organizations doing great ministry.At the great risk of leaving someone off, here are some of the folks we encountered who fit this description:
- Youth Specialties--There's been a lot of change, for sure. And we were interested to see and feel how the conference would go. During and after NYWC it became pretty obvious that YS is in exceptionally good hands and is on an amazing path to a continued future of meaningful ministry. Doug Fields and Mark Matlock are godly men with amazing hearts for teenagers and youth workers. The future of YS is bright. We love the concept of the YS Thought Partners, love the addition of Dr. Kara Powell to the team, and are floored by the work Chris Davis and team have done on the YS Network. We're excited about the future.
- LeaderTreks--We much spent most of our time hanging out with Doug, Angie, and Dan from LeaderTreks. LT's student leadership resources are the best out there, and their mission trips rule. And we've loved collaborating with them on DNow Online. Doug Franklin and his team are outstanding.
- We Love Our Youth Worker--Make it a point to check out We Love Our Youth Worker. This is SUCH a cool initiative. The work Jake and his team are doing is awesome. We support their mission and vision and we think you should too!
- Simply Youth Ministry--Loved hanging out with Matty, Jake, and Nadim from Simply Youth Ministry. Love the collaboration we were able to do with them with Live: Books of the Bible. And we're Looking forward to SYMC in March.
- Youth Worker Journal--Hard to say enough about Stave Rabey and the YWJ team. I read every edition cover-to-cover. Great resource.
- Paul Turner/Lifeway--We have so much fun goofing off with Paul it's ridiculous. He and his team are such good folks. We love the guys and gals at Lifeway Student Ministries and are excited about the all they have going on there.
- Steps of Justice--Phil Cunningham is one of the most inspiring guys I know. If you're not aware of the work he's doing with Steps of Justice you need to be. If you're looking to challenge your students to make a difference in the lives of the sick, lost, exploited, poor, and outcast of this world, look at what Phil is doing.
- National Network of Youth Ministries--Alon Banks and the guys at NNYM have such huge hearts for youth workers. We're always moved by their commitment and passion. If you haven't checked them out, do so.
- Big Stuf--Scott Burks and the folks Big Stuf are doing awesome summer camp ministry. Check them out if you're looking for a meaningful and fun experience with your students.
- Ben Rough/Compassion International--We could not be stronger advocates for Compassion. We have spent significant time with this organization, on every level, both here and abroad. They are the absolute real deal in every way. (Please take some time and prayerfully consider sponsoring a child through Compassion. You could be saving a child from poverty in Jesus' name, which is pretty cool.)
- Dr. Kara Powell/Fuller Youth Institute--The work being done by Dr. Kara Powell and the team at Fuller Youth Institute is really, really exceptional. In the next few weeks we're going to be doing a focus on Sticky Faith, the book and research project Kara co-authored. If these folks aren't on your radar, they should be.
- Jeff Wallace and Maina Mwaura are good friends doing some exciting things in the area of urban youth ministry and resources. Look for more from these guys in the coming months. Exciting stuff.
- Mark and Michael Novelli--I laugh when I think how much talent, passion, and knowledge is concentrated in this family. Crazy. The work Mike is doing with Echo the Story is super cool. And Mark constantly challenges us in how we think and create through his work through imago. Great guys.
- Youth Worker Movement--Erin and Dennis Jackson are awesome folks. Love these guys. I think there are some fun things on the horizon for Youth Worker Movement and what they're doing.
- Brian Belknap/MORF Magazine--MORF Magazine is a new "e" and print magazine Brian and his team are really doing an incredible job on. Love the vision and execution of this initiative.
There are certainly more folks doing incredible things. These are just some of the folks we spent time with at NYWC. Maybe you can see why we're so pumped about the current state of youth ministry. Check these folks out. (And if you had some awesome interactions with great ministries, leave them in the comments below!)