Why I’ve Been to Every Rooted Conference

I hadn’t even been in youth ministry for a year when a postcard for the first Rooted conference passed across my desk.

Youth ministers receive a lot of advertisements for curriculum, conferences, and other resources promising to help improve ministry to youth.  Eventually, it becomes little more than white noise passing through our inboxes.

The postcard for Rooted caught my attention.  Unlike anything else I had seen before (or since), Rooted was offering a theology conference for youth ministry.

As a relatively new youth minister looking for a way to deepen my ministry, I was intrigued.  I wanted my ministry to be about more than just fun and games – I wanted it to have substance.  I wanted it to be Christ-centered, but I wasn’t entirely sure what that looked like.

On a whim, I went.  That first Rooted conference changed me.

Teaching that was both rich and practical challenged me to consider the grace given to me in Christ Jesus.  It rooted me again in the Gospel that I have been called to proclaim.  It gave direction to my discipleship.

Youth ministry can be lonely – even if others constantly surround us.  At Rooted, I met other youth ministers who have grown to become dear friends.  I have become a part of a network that I regularly go to for prayer and advice.

We are constantly pouring ourselves out to others in ministry. Rooted is a place where we can come to be filled.

I’ve been to every Rooted conference.  They feel like a family reunion.

If you’ve never been to a Rooted conference, I encourage you to join me in New York this October.  You won’t regret coming, and it may change your life. Rooted changed mine.  

Mark Howard was a youth pastor for five years before joining Elam Ministries, an organization that seeks to strengthen and expand the church in Iran and surrounding areas. Through Elam, he's had the opportunity to work with Iranian youth as well as talk with American churches about God's work in Iran. Mark has his M.A. in Theological Studies from Wheaton College Graduate School and serves on Rooted's steering committee.

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