Why You Should Come to the Middle School Ministry Campference


msmcBy Chris McKenna, 30 Hour Famine Leader

There aren’t many humans who wake up and say, “I love middle school students! I want to be with them, I want to talk to them, I want to help them work through their junk, and I can’t wait for the all-nighter this Friday!” Crazy talk. Borderline insanity.

But, there are a few who feel this way. And, I’m one of them! I’ve worked part or full time in middle school ministry for 10 years. And, although my aging body struggles more and more with the all-nighters, if given a choice to work with any age group in the church, I’ll pick junior high every time. Their energy and “what if?” attitudes give me hope for what could be.

Our Family Ministry staff at Cornerstone Church recently read It’s Just a Phase So Don’t Miss It by Reggie Joyner and Kristen Ivy from the ReThink Group (also known as Orange) and they said this about middle school:

“Middle School can be impulsive and intense. Whatever they feel they feel with passion – even if they may change their mind tomorrow. They have a unique blend of confidence and insecurity unlike any other phase (of life).”

They nailed it.

And, because this is such a unique age, middle school youth workers are a unique tribe. We speak a similar language and have similar struggles. It’s for this reason I’ve found so much encouragement from attending The Middle School Ministry Campference for the past three years. Yes, you read that correctly, it’s a CAMPference, not a CONference. There’s a huge difference!

It’s a gathering of just middle school pastors and volunteers once per year at SpringHill Camp in lovely Seymour, Indiana. It’s a group of friends you didn’t know you had, all coming together united in the love of junior high. It’s having a chance to be one-on-one with friends like Mark Oestreicher (The Youth Cartel), Kurt Johnston and Katie Edwards (Saddleback Church), Scott Rubin (Willow Creek), Elle Campbell (Orange), and so many others. It’s a chance to attend amazing seminars, swap war stories around a campfire, scream together down the massive zip line, and share the best of what God has shown each of us in our ministries. Iron sharpening iron.

I’ve attended many of the big conventions for youth ministry. And, nothing has compared to the intimate, relational learning I’ve enjoyed from the Campference. You can’t beat it (not to mention the price is amazingly low). I can honestly say that significant, strategic directions in my ministry were catalyzed at the Campference.

Are you looking for a way to be encouraged, enlightened, and strengthen in your junior high ministry? Do you have a couple of super volunteers who might also benefit from seeing that they are part of something big? Something of eternal significance? Do you have a limited budget? Then come to the Campference. You won’t be disappointed.