What Are Connect Groups?
Connect Groups are casual, small group-style gatherings led by in-the-trenches youth workers—a simple, comfortable way to connect with others in similar ministry or life stages for conversation, paving the way for genuine friendships with others who share your passion.
Why Do Connect Groups Exist?
A core value of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference is that relationships are essential in ministry, including relationships with ministry peers. When we launched SYMC, we created a conference where the conversations that took place OUTSIDE the classroom were valued as much as the material being taught. We gathered a few couches and Sack Chairs and offered intentional space where youth workers could be renewed by the encouragement and ideas from the thousands of other youth workers sharing this weekend together. Today these friendships and conversations have been truly life-changing for so many who come back, year after year, and for first-timers.
Are Connect Groups for Me?
Connect Groups are great for people who just want a “home base” group of people to connect with during the conference. If you’re coming alone, or if you’re simply interested in meeting new people and being inspired by ideas and encouragement from people who “get” you, these groups are for you. Connect Groups offer a safe, welcoming environment to hang out and be known! And you don’t have to attend every meeting. Stop by and hang out any time!
When Do They Meet?
Where Do They Meet?
Just look for the cluster of Sack Chairs! You’ll see signs where Connect Groups have taken over the Sack Chairs—grab your lunch and wander by to check it out! More info coming soon!
More than a dozen different Connect Groups to choose from and more to be announced…
So many of us don’t have a separate ministry for middle schoolers and senior highers—it’s all one big happy family (right?). Come to this group for help, advice, and resource ideas for creating a thriving all-in-one ministry to teenagers. We’ll swap stories and tell tales—find the encouragement you’ve been thirsty for.
Family ministry is a buzz-phrase that’s been around for a long time now—but few seem to have mastered an effective (and doable) approach to it. For those who are experimenting with an approach to ministry that includes the whole family, or those who’d like to, this group is for you. We’ll trade war stories and advice, and we’ll talk about effective resources.
Are you entering into a new season of ministry? Maybe you’re leaving one position and beginning another—by choice or by circumstance. This group is designed to let you chat about how to transition into a new ministry, or a new season in ministry, and leave another one gracefully. Change happens. Let’s help each other do it well!
Are you serving in ministry with the special challenges that a rural community presents? Do you sometimes wish you had the ministry resources your friends who serve in the city have? Are you always challenged to find creative ways to make things work for people who are spread out over a broader area? Then this Connect Group is for you!
Small-church youth ministry leaders need the support and encouragement of each other! Small-church settings have their own particular dynamics and unique challenges. What you do is JUST as vital to the kingdom of God as what’s happening in bigger churches with bigger budgets. Join our Connect Group as we listen, share, cry, laugh, pray, eat… and hang on for dear life!
First, THANK YOU for being a youth ministry volunteer. You’re the backbone of any healthy youth ministry. Two quick rules for our group: #1: You’re never allowed to say the words “I’m just a volunteer.” And #2: There won’t be any assignments or homework. So join us to get refreshed, share our joys, vent our struggles, and gain valuable insights into being the best servants of God that we can be.
Life can be crazy being married to a youth worker! Luckily, we’ve had some wonderful mentors and friends who are on a similar journey and have a great sense of humor. Join other wives in this community—we’ll share stories, laugh together, and encourage each other in this crazy journey.
Married to a female youth worker? Wonder what other hubbies experience with wives in youth ministry? This Connect Group is for you! Joel Snyder, group leader, is both the husband of a youth pastor and a youth pastor himself, so he sees this dynamic from both sides. Guys, come and hang out for listening and learning.
Ever feel like you’re the only single person in a sea of married workers? Find community, support, and encouragement in this group—and find space to talk about the unique challenges of singleness in youth ministry. Singleness doesn’t define you, but it helps to connect with others who are navigating this journey.
Must I be a feminazi to prove my worth in God’s mission here? Do I have to play piano and lead worship in order to cut it as a “real” woman in ministry? How can I be effective if my husband or boyfriend isn’t inclined toward serving in youth ministry? Let’s talk about these issues and anything else taking up “plate space.” Whether you’re single, married, mom or not, and in youth ministry, we’ll meet and offer our support and encouragement through the conference.
Some couples have one spouse involved in youth ministry. But not you. Both of you are involved in ministry! This group is all about sharing how to balance being great at your role in ministry while also being great at your role at home. Come share and grow from the stories and experiences of others.
Calling all Canucks! It is our time to stand—heads raised, Canadian flags waving in the wind, and any other cliche Canadian stereotype you can think of. Grab a Canadian flag pin, and begin new friendships with fellow Canadians. We’ll meet throughout the conference for story-sharing, advice, and encouragement. Watch the Information Board, and keep an eye out for “Canada!”
We’re here to support the kingdom-centered mission of SYMC by enfolding, encouraging, and resourcing undergraduate and graduate student attendees during SYMC. We’ll share personal stories, advice, and encouragement. We’ll also share some “best practices” for juggling school with the rest of our life, and we’ll talk about resources that can help us on our journey.
This Connect Group is designed for those youth workers who have been serving students for 10+ years and have experienced the “good, the bad, and the ugly” of youth ministry. If you’ve moved beyond (or want to move beyond) the “bells and whistles” and want to passionately pursue health for yourself, your family, and your ministry (in that order), this group is for you.