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One of the highlights of my year is participating in the Simply Youth Ministry Conference (SYMC). The training is great. The general sessions are fantastic. The highlight for me is the relational space that spawns spontaneous conversations about life and ministry. Most of us go to a conference to learn and gain new insights that will impact our ministries (I’m convinced some of us go to a conference just so we can get away from the church without taking vacation time). Learning isn’t isolated to the workshops and general sessions. The time you spent in conversation and building relationships probably helped you process your conference experience. You may still be carrying on some of those conversations. Now you need to have those conversations with your team.

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Kurt and Josh gave some great guidance in their article. You need to take some time to reflect with God on the direction of the youth ministry before you jump in with any changes. You also need to carefully reflect on all you learned at the conference. Just because someone has a great idea, or is successful, doesn’t mean you need to do what that person does. Success comes by understanding the principles that work. Each ministry is unique. Principles translate from ministry to ministry. The practical application of those principles may look very different. Here are a couple suggestions to help you.

Reflect In Community
You don’t need to meet with your entire team right away. Invite a couple closest leaders to lunch or dinner (you pay out of your ministry budget; it’s important). Debrief your conference experience with them. You don’t want to talk about all the details you learned. Share your excitement and a few tidbits from the conference. Then share some highlights with your entire team. You want your team to be excited about your conference experience.

Reflect on Your Notes
Schedule another meeting with you leaders. Share your notes with them, and ask for help categorizing your notes. Search for common themes (like small groups, leadership, student development, etc.). Have your team categorize the notes under those common themes. Don’t worry about overlap; you’ll probably have some.

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Once the notes are categorized, talk about how you see these ideas at work in your ministry. Celebrate the good. Ask this question: What could happen if we start including some of the new ideas we discovered? Allow your team to help guide the direction of the ministry. Then, follow Kurt’s and Josh’s advice on making changes.

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