What happens when 90 youth and young adult pastors and leaders come together in one place? Your immediate thought was possibly chaos and fun, because that’s what youth and young adult ministry is often thought of as.
Well take that picture of chaos and fun, and add to it refreshing, encouraging and inspiring. That gives you a small snapshot of the Baptist Youth Pastors Conference. Thanks to great organisation by Dan Dalton, the chaos was kept to a minimum. The conference was held at Salamander Bay in February, with around 50 churches represented.
This annual Youth Pastors Conference is for people who lead Youth & Young Adult Ministries, and any key youth leaders that are being discipled. It is designed to focus on relationships, community, discipleship, prayer, sharing, growth, listening, connecting, ideas and refreshment. Over the years it has changed in its focus in order to shift with the changing characteristics of people driving our ministry with youth and young adults.
The theme for the conference was Character and Long- Term Leadership and we were blessed to hear from quality speakers Chris McRae, Lynette Cain, Steve Dixon and guest speaker Bill Brown. Bill Brown is Senior Pastor of Syndal Baptist Church in Victoria. Bill spoke on topics that were relevant to thriving in ministry, and to be long-term in ministry. To thrive in ministry over the long-term is beneficial to the ministry, it is glorifying to God and it allows a person to continue using their gifts and abilities to bless others. Bill reiterated the importance of building on your relationship with God, being a life long learner.
Over the conference the Association’s Core Five values were clearly demonstrated. The conference opened by looking at the Biblical picture of David’s leadership and each of the presenters grounded their presentations deeply in Scripture. The overall theme of the conference allowed for reflection on what it means to lead well in all aspects of life and the main sessions provided practical empowerment for both pastors and leaders.
As youth and young adults pastors and leaders, we investigated the need to thrive with teams, as ministry is not a solo effort. Effective team ministry must include God, people who complement you, as well as those who are different to you, prayer partners and mentors. A great reminder across Bill’s sessions was to model what you want caught! If you want to have effective teams going out from your ministry you need to invest in them and model that which you want others to see and learn from.
The conference was refreshing with an afternoon of sand boarding for some, an evening of worship hosted by Nelson Bay Baptist, and time by the resort pool. Conference was a great time to connect and reconnect with other youth and young adult pastors and leaders. It is helpful to share stories and experiences with one another, and to have opportunities to pray together and for each other was encouraging.
Youth and young adult ministry is key within the church and the young people in our churches are valuable. Make sure you are encouraging and praying for the youth and young adults pastors and leaders in your churches.
By the numbers:
- Overall Youth Pastor & Youth Leader registrations were up by more than 22% in 2016 – this is on the back of 68% growth from 2014 to 2015 (35 youth pastors and leaders in 2014 to 59 in 2015) – Our attendance has doubled in 2 years!
- 84% of delegates attended the conference for its entirety
- 24% of delegates were volunteer leaders invited by the youth pastor