Youth Workers Conference 2017
In Mid-January 2017 there were over 300 youth leaders gathered together to cry out for God to save and help them to disciple the next generation. Here's Dan Featherstone's account of the Newday Youth Workers' Conference 2017.
If you have never been before, the Newday Youth Leaders Conference takes place every year at Sherwood Forest Centre Parcs. It aims to train and equip church youth teams from across the UK to disciple a new generation. It’s an amazing opportunity for Youth leaders to gather their teams, spend some quality time together and hear from God. A large variety of churches were represented, with youth groups ranging in size from just four teenagers to ones with hundreds of teenagers.
After messing about on the rapids and going down the water slides, we kicked off the Friday night with an amazing time of worship led by the guys from Kings Church, Catford. This was followed by an amazing talk by Bex Jenkins. She preached from John 15 to issue a helpful reminder of how important it is for us to stay connected to God. She reminded us that Jesus is “the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). She said that we are like an iPhone and God is like the charger; on its own, the iPhone is very pretty but useless without being charged. If charged regularly, it can do all sorts of amazing things. We are the same. We can do so much more if we are regularly going back to God as the real source of all our power. This was a very timely message for me and many others who are leading or serving in youth ministry.
The Saturday was filled with worship and various seminars throughout the day, covering discipleship, mental health, team dynamics and a Q&A with a panel of experienced youth leaders.
During the talk on discipleship, the speaker shared a quote by Duncan Watkinson that says, “The church is good at making orphanages but weak at building families”. This really challenged me, as sometimes our vision of wanting to build many churches or a large youth group of unsaved youth can cause us to neglect the people we actually have! I loved the advice: “Scrap your youth group and build a family!” I felt renewed in my sense of call to create disciples rather than just converts. I love what we do at Everyday Youth, but if we aren’t making disciples then what are we doing it all for? This led to a great discussion with my team about a holistic approach to discipling the next generation.
Overall, it was an amazing weekend. If you are a youth leader or part of a youth team then I strongly recommend you check it out next year, it will massively benefit you and your team.