for a number of years, i’ve gathered together yearly with a group of about 25 middle school pastors from around north america to dream, build relationships, exchange ideas, and think in new directions. word about this little group has gotten out, mostly because many of us have blogged about it; and a bunch of wonderful middle school ministry leaders have asked about joining that group.
so a few of us started dreaming about how we could open up an experience that would offer the same thing: an intimate setting, no comparisons, peer relationships with those who are passionate about middle school ministry, idea sharing and challenge. we’ve come up with something i’m really excited about, and get to announce here for the first time!
introducing: the ys middle school minsitry summit.
the hard facts:
when: monday, september 17 (starting with dinner), through wednesday, september 19 (ending after lunch).
where: spring hill camp, in evart, michigan (more on this below).
hosted by: hosted by mark oestreicher, kurt johnston, and eric venable.
for whom: paid middle school-only church staff with a minimum of 2 years of experience.
how much: $225, including meals and housing.
limited to: a maximum of 70 attendees.
what’s the vision? we want to create a peer environment, with youth ministry staff who are committed to middle school ministry only (sorry, we know there are many people who care about middle schoolers, but have much broader responsibilities). the vision for a peer environment means this is not a seminar. the three hosts will be guiding conversation, but our hope and expectation is that everyone who attends add to the conversation, help create the discussion plan, and contibute as equals.
why spring hill? we wanted to keep the costs down on this adventure. and spring hill has graciously offered to partner with us, giving us a greatly reduced rate in order to be a part of providing a space that ministers to middle school ministers. the upside of this is that, with meals and accomodations included, we are able to offer this summit for only $225. the “downside” (for some — others will love this!) is that we will be campers. in other words, you’ll need to bring a sleeping bag, and accomodations will be in camp cabins (spring hill has decent cabins, though).
why three hosts? first, let me make sure you know the hosts. i’m marko, and while i spend my day job at ys, encouraging youth workers, my youth ministry passion has always been middle schoolers. after a long time (i’m old) as a full-time middle school ministry pastor, i’m now a middle school ministry volunteer and small group leader, creating all kinds of problems for the poor middle school pastor at my church. kurt johnston is the middle school pastor at saddleback church in orange county. he’s written a bunch of books (including four with me). eric venable, after many years as a middle school pastor in a handful of churches, is on staff at youthfront in kansas city, where, among other things, he encourages middle school ministry in the kc area. our reason for having three hosts is that we want to be able to break into smaller discussion groups. all the hosts are attending without receiving an honorarium, because they are passionate about ministering to other middle school youth workers.
how will i get there? that will be up to you. spring hill is about a 90-minute drive from the grand rapids airport, a little less than 2 hours from the lansing, michigan, airport, or about 2 1/2 hours from the detroit airport. drive up. carpool with others who are attending.
how do i register? stay tuned for that. this post is the official “hold the date” notice. we’ll get info out on the reg process very soon!
UPDATE: REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. GO HERE FOR INFORMATION.