I love the opportunity to be at a gathering of youth workers! Love it!

There’s been a bunch of emails popping around the YS world lately because convention numbers are really strong and the leadership team is thrilled that so many youth workers are coming this year. I’m so excited to be more intimately connected to Youth Specialties now and part of the YS’ National Youth Worker Convention leadership team.

Today a youth ministry friend was trying to decide if he was going to go to one of the conventions this fall, and he asked me, “What do you like so much about them?” And, since I blog, I thought, “That would be fun to write about!”

So, here goes… 12 reasons I’m excited for the YS conventions:

1. Locations. San Diego is one of my favorite places in the world! And, I love Atlanta because some of our best friends in the world live there and the entire Fields’ family is going to join us this year.

2. New material. I’m paying for it now (all these new preps), but I’m excited to be teaching all new workshops. I love my old-stuff, but I’ve very excited to develop new material for these sessions:
>Youth Ministry and Marriage
>Behind the Curtain: Tending to the Private Life of a Public Person
>Raising Your Own Kids in Ministry

3. Matlock. One of the primary reasons I rejoined YS was because of Mark’s heart and vision. He’s great! Thrilled that he’s taking the lead for a new era.

4. Tic. One of my favorite all-time friends is closing out an illustrious career at YS to go work full-time in the church. I can’t wait to see many youth ministry veterans honor him.

5. Torie. She’s the best! My 22year old daughter is not only working full-time in youth ministry, but she’s helping me teach a workshop on raising kids in ministry.

6. Reunion. Going to YS’ conventions is like a family reunion for me. My first YS convention was 1982 and I was so poor that a friend and I ate leftover food from hotel rooms (placed outside their door). I know, gross…but, totally true.

7. Cost. While I don’t have to pay, many of my friends do and they’re happy the cost has dropped this year. Conferences have very slim margins and I’m grateful that YS did everything they could to drop the price.

[BTW: another early, cost-saving deadline for San Diego ends today]

8. New. I’m excited that many people are going to hear of the new initiatives that YS has been working on behind the scenes. I’m excited to announce a couple myself.

9. Crowds. Typically, the only people who like crowds are preachers, but this is my type of crowd. I love that YS hosts the largest, most diverse gathering of youth workers in the world. It will be fun to see everyone under one roof.

10. Surprises. Can’t tell you, but I know they’re coming. I love surprises (especially good ones).

11. Conversations. I’ll be exhausted at the end of the NYWC, but I know the conversations are going to be warm and rich.

12. Crowder. Does this one even need a description? The David Crowder Band is on my playlist and it will be fun to worship with them and many others.

I’m hoping that if you’re going to attend one of the two this fall that we’ll get the opportunity to connect. I love putting faces to those who listen to the podcast and engage with the blog. Here’s a little video that we put out that has a little more personal invitation.

Can’t wait to see you at one of these two conventions!