In the past 7 years, we have hosted a student mission conference. Basically, our goal is to encourage students to be missionaries at their schools, in their neighborhoods, and on their teams/bands/social platforms. In order to do this, it takes creativity, planning, and organization. Want to give it a try? OK, then let’s get started…
- There’s No “I” in Team. Broaden your network, and network with others churches for an event like this. For example, I contacted a missionary of a local parachurch organization and several other churches. One larger church even offered to host, and it’s been at that church every year since then.
- Sharing is Caring. Once the network is established, don’t be afraid to share. Put your ego aside, and share. This might mean another youth group’s praise band leads the singing. You might have other youth pastors be speakers. Ask another church if they would host. Be willing to share the responsibilities, and make it a collective effort.
- “Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun” (Albert Einstein). If this is going to be an annual event, you will need to get the creative juices flowing. Each year, we have changed it up. One year we had a special speaker. Another year we allowed the students to pick their breakout sessions. Another year we did a mock evangelism training event, where students received evangelism training and then entered a “cafeteria” to witness to students (youth leader actors). Students come each year with a new experience. I believe this has allowed this event to be successful.
- Free is Free. One year we had a special speaker, so there was some cost sharing for the honorarium. But since then, with ministry sharing, each year the event has been free. We cut the snack, speaker fee, and other costs to allow the event to be free each year. This has made it easier to invite other churches when the event is free.
- Does the Bible Talk About The Gospel? Have trouble coming up with a theme? Not with this event. With the Gospel interwoven throughout the Bible, finding a theme has never been an issue. Each year we take a different aspect of the Gospel and evangelism and allow that theme to drive our teaching portion of the event.
Bonus: For The Detail Oriented People in the Crowd. We host it on a Wednesday night for 1.5 hours. Sunday night would be another great option, keeping it in the regular youth program schedule. Limit the praise time to 2 songs and have your icebreaker ask people are coming in. This provides for more teaching time. Keep prayer a focus of the night as well.
There you have it. If you have any questions on how to plan this event, feel free to comment below. It has been a real blessing to our youth ministry over the years, and I hope it will inspire you to plan a student mission conference in your ministry sometime soon!