6 ways to make sure Students get the Most out of ONE (or any youth conference)
Hey youth leaders - it’s incredible when you dedicate time, energy and resource to get students to a youth conference like ONE.
Here are 6 ways youth leaders can make sure students get the most out of youth conferences.
1. Plan as much ahead as possible
Find out what options and details you’ll have to decide, or have your youth decide at the conference. The more details and decisions you can figure out ahead of time, the smoother and less stressful it is for everyone.
Note for the ONE conference all these details will be posted on Social Media - Facebook: onecon1 Instagram: one_con1 Twitter: one_con1
The schedule for all and high school workshops are on the website HERE
PLUS, emails with details were sent out to the key leader that registered your youth group. (You can view the emails HERE-1 and HERE-2)
a. Workshops (Happening after the Saturday morning rally, at ~10am) - What workshops will high school students go to and which leaders workshop will each leader go to? ONE HS workshops listed here: https://www.onecon.ca (Middle Schoolers stay onsite at the coliseum for their own experience during this time.)
b. Travel Schedule - Plan your groups travel schedule with ample time to get to and from activities/accommodations/meals
c. Meals - Where will you take your group for meals? Will you stay on-site for lunch Saturday (canteens will be open, with their usual prices)? How have you planned finances for meals?
d. Fun Event (starts at 1:30 pm Saturday) - Where do you want your group to go for the fun event? If it’s one of the trampoline parks, have you arranged for waivers for each student? Taking your group to the trampoline park is just one of the options, you don't have to take that option - right on-site they'll be all kinds of funsies at the coliseum for this time: rock climbing wall, giant human hamster ball, jousting arena, mega obstacle course, wipe out experience, bungee run, basketball, velcro wall, stock car racing, bouncy castles, archery tag...
e. Point Leader - Who will be the point leader that goes to the registration desk to get your group’s bracelets and make sure your group gets signed up for their fun event, workshops etc.?
f. Accommodations - Does the place where you’ve booked accommodations (church or hotel) know what time to expect you? Does everyone in your group know what they need to bring for bedding & over-night? Do your drivers know how to get there?
g. Timing - Plan what time your group will arrive at the rallies to make sure your crew gets registration settled, time in the fun zone, seated where they want to be for the rallies, and has time to do other things like buy ONE T-shirts ($20/each.)
2. Focus on the students’ experience
ONE or any youth conference isn’t about you as the leader, it’s about the students and them having opportunities to fall more in love with Jesus and join God’s mission in the world. So, suck in up Prince or Princess. Frankly, it doesn’t matter one iota if you don’t like the hard chair you have to sit on, you have to stay up later than you hoped, you end up standing in line as a leader or you don’t like the activities from the stage - because the event is not about YOU. It’s about Jesus and giving a tonne of opportunities for middle schoolers and high schoolers to be an environment designed for THEM, so that they may encounter the living God & have conversations about faith.
So come ready to suck it up, and make it all about the students.
And we say a HUGE thank you for doing this, in advance. We know you are making sacrifices (like sleep!) to make sure students get the most out of the experience.
You rock! Thanks for making it about the students.
3. At the same time…treat your other leaders as gold
At the same time (as focusing on the students’, this event is for them, not you) also look out for each other as leaders. Recognize when one of your leaders is the right one to connect with a student (or group of students) even if that leader is not you. Recognize when a leader really needs a break to grab a coffee or prayer in the leaders’ lounge (upstairs in the ONE Coliseum). Recognize when a leader, especially one who will be driving the students, need an extra thank you, gas card or caffeine!
4. Redeem the in-between times
One of the best things about a youth event is the conversations that can happen between leaders and students, and students and students - before, during and after the event. The relational connections you have with the students is the biggest gift there is! You may just get to plant seeds for deeper conversations later or you may get to have a deep conversation during your ONE experience.
There are windows where you can redeem the time and build relational connections with students for deeper conversations - on your drive to the event, during meals, while transitioning to workshops (especially if you’re with the high school students on the bus to Crandall for workshops), setting up for the night of some sleep, during the fun event while your jumping on a tramping or waiting your turn for archery tag…
As a leader - while you’re singing worship songs, listening to the speakers or watching the illusionist be thinking of follow-up questions you can be asking your students.
Great discussion starters with students for the drive or any time can be found HERE
5. Debrief with students and follow-up after the event
An event like ONE prepares the soil...but that soil can dry out really fast if you as a leader just focus on the fun of it or move on from the event too quickly. Take time to debrief with your students after the event - on the way home, at the next youth group, in student small groups…
Ask questions that invite reflection, such as:
- Did God seem to be highlighted anything in particular to you during ONE?
- Did any line or message, in particular, stand out to you from the worship songs or a speaker?
- Did you see any new aspects of God through ONE, that you had not really noticed or focused on before?
- How would you describe your relationship with Jesus?
- If you were the illusionist, what illustration would you use to explain to others who Jesus is and what He’s done for us?
6. Thank and tell stories to your church, supporters & parents
After the event - don’t forget all the others that made it possible for your crew to go to ONE. They want to know their investment was worth it. Share stories, highlights, items for continued prayer and let the youth share their experiences.
We are so excited what God is doing through ONE - we are seeing more teenagers than ever before (as far as our records go) come together, regardless of their background or denominational affiliation, to worship our one God. That was and is our hope - to create a regional event that inspires and equips students to unite as one body, under one God, for one mission.
We already see it and feel it - God is doing something amazing, bringing us all together with a unity, passion and mission.
Join in praying we see our registration climb over 2500 (we’re almost there!) and that we see more students than ever before surrendering to Jesus - either surrendering their life for the first time or surrendering a new area of their life to Jesus.
Really looking forward to seeing you at ONE and seeing together what GOD is doing in this generation.