The overall purpose of the National Conference on Youth Ministries is to provide professional level training for men and women involved in youth ministry all across the nation. It was established to offer training and education for the growing and maturing efforts of the youth minister and lay youth workers.     More…

Virtual Option Update

Unfortunately we will not be able to livestream our evening sessions this week as we had hoped. We will be video recording them and they will be available for purchase at the end of the week along with the audio recordings of all of our sessions as we do each year. Watch for more details about purchasing the recordings later this week.

NCYM 2021

COVID-19 Statement and Registration Fee Policy


The NCYM Board continues to be hopeful that our conference in Daytona Beach can move forward as planned with COVID-19 social distancing and safety modifications in place. We are working diligently with the hotel as they work with the CDC and local authorities to ensure a safe environment for everyone (READ the latest COVID-19 statements from Hilton Hotels HERE


NCYM’s regular Refund Policy will stay in place for refunds on conference registration fees (Please check hotel and transportation options for their policies). While we are hoping to still be able to have NCYM in person, we are expecting the need to move forward with a hybrid approach to the conference if we can work out the logistics with the hotel.

With your conference registration, you will be able to attend the conference in person (F2F) in Daytona. If you feel that traveling is unsafe for your situation, there may be a virtual option offered this year. We are working to make the main sessions and as many of the class sessions as possible to be available in a live format.

If we are forced by the hotel to cancel the F2F option, we will move to a completely virtual event. This option would be a last resort, and like you, we would be disappointed, but we want to be realistic and have a plan in place in case this happens. While a completely virtual event would not be our choice, we would incur the same costs or more by moving platforms; therefore, we would not be able to refund registration fees.

We understand the reluctance to commit, but please be aware that your commitment to NCYM is vital to its long-term success and ability to minister to youth ministers. If you have any suggestions as to how an online experience (equipment, platform, or other ideas) might be enhanced, please feel free to contact the NCYM Planning Board.


Youth ministers understand the difficulties of event planning. Planning NCYM is much like planning a large youth event for your church or a larger group of churches. The NCYM board has been working on the NCYM 2021 Conference for a couple of years. Like most churches and para-church organizations, our finances run year-to-year and depend on the success of each conference and careful planning to stay financially viable.

We do everything we can to keep our costs low so that we can keep registration fees down. Unlike most conferences, our administrative costs are very low. Except for travel and some expenses for a spring/fall board meeting, our planning board receives no financial perks for serving as a board member (although they would tell you it is a blessing to serve their fellow youth ministers). Everyone on the board is a volunteer; all the planning, administration, setup, and take-down is done by board members and friends of the conference. They even pay a registration fee. The only organizational costs we incur are the small fees for our website and online schedule used for the conference. This is because we know youth ministers are on tight budgets, and it is the youth ministers on the tightest budgets (or sometimes no budget at all) who need NCYM the most. Therefore, a large portion of our registration fees can be used to bring in the best speakers we can find. 

Hotel and speaker commitments have been in place for quite some time. (Did you know we are working on the 2024 conference?) We depend on our attendees showing up to help pay our speakers and give us better negotiating leverage with hotels for reduced room rates and free meeting space (this is why we ask our attendees to stay on-site instead at a cheaper hotel nearby). Our contracts with hotels estimate the number of attendees who have shown up in the past few years and help keep our hotel costs down.

While we do not have direct costs associated with the hotel, we do have commitments we agree to when we sign contracts for discounted guest and meeting room rates. If we cancel, there are cancellation fees involved. If the hotel cancels, we are released from the agreement. One reason we rotate the same hotel every few years is that it helps them be more flexible if they know we are coming back soon.

All of our speakers have already committed and are preparing their presentations. Some of our more prominent speakers require contracts negotiated months or years out as well. Moving to an all-virtual event does very little to reduce our costs.

Whether it is a hybrid model or a forced all-virtual event, hopefully, this additional information helps our attendees understand that just because the event is virtual does not mean it costs less for us to carry out the event; much of our costs for the conference remain the same. Regardless of how NCYM is carried out this year, you have our promise that we will do everything we can to make NCYM the best event possible for all of us!

The NCYM Board

The story of two York Youth Ministry grads whose tweet went viral

I came to York College in the Fall of 1997 and had zero doubts about my major; I wanted to be a youth minister.  As a child from a broken home, several youth leaders made a significant impact in my life. I declared myself a Youth Ministry major and I graduated 4 years later with that degree and then….never went into full-time ministry.  Life took a different shape, and I ended up pursuing a career in higher education. In the positions I have held at York College I have seen first-hand the sacrificial, diligent and joyful lives of many incredible youth ministers. 

It’s awesome to see people doing it for decades and encouraging to see our graduating students enter the field.  I’d love to tell you about a couple right now.  Each year we have some of the best students imaginable graduate and prepare to enter the field of full-time ministry.  This year we have two very unique students I’d love to tell you about; Cameron Merrill and Melanie Wells.  These two are viral believers who have taken a very unique path to and from York College and whose story itself went viral.  Their engagement photo, posted to twitter went viral this summer tallying 109,000 likes (and counting.)  https://twitter.com/melanieeee10/status/1125026915310604290?s=21

Cameron Merrill, is from the Britton Road Church of Christ in Edmond, OK and is finishing his Biblical Studies/Youth Ministry degree this coming spring.  His immediate goal is to become a youth minister or Bible Teacher.  Cameron calls York College his second home… “living here for four years with people I can truly call family, supporting me in everything I do. This place has given me so many opportunities for ministry as well as for finding myself in extracurricular on campus. I don’t think I’d be the person I am today without YC’s impact. It’s also blessed me with being so affordable. With the scholarships I’ve been afforded, my family has had a much easier time paying my way through school and giving me a good start in life.” 

Melanie Wells is from Nashville, TN and grew up at the Madison Church of Christ and will also be finishing a degree in youth ministry this spring.  She describes her dream job as …. “being able to work with Cameron in whatever ministry opportunity God brings them. I’ve learned through my two interning experiences that I have a passion for the marginalized of society. And that can be found in many different ways. Whether that be ministering to inner city teens, young girls who feel they can’t lead, or people who feel the church isn’t the place for them. It is very important to me and my future and current ministry that these people know that they are always welcomed at my table.”

She goes on to say, “The mission statement of York College talks about transformation. And without a doubt I have been transformed here at YC.  York College has supported me, loved me, and pushed me to do more than I thought I was capable of. York College is statistically the most diverse school in Nebraska. So I’ve had to opportunity to have hard and trying conversations with people from completely different backgrounds than me..

Cameron and Melanie, we are so proud of you both and wish you the best as you go viral spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in Youth Ministry. We’d also like to take this time to invite you to check out York College’s summer camp; Soul Quest.  Soul Quest is a high energy, deeply spiritual time of worship, challenge and reflection that occurs every June in York, NE.  This year Soul Quest is June 14-20th, our theme will be RIOT, and we look forward to challenging messages by Jonathan Storment and powerful worship led by Andy Spell.  For more information, click here

An Honest Conversation with Gen Z

Gen Z is hungry for deep truths, and they’re not going to stick around where they don’t expect to find them. If we want to be effective at transmitting a durable faith to today’s youth, we need to be aware of and respond to three ongoing trends in particular. 

1. Compacting Ideas

Generation Z has picked up and run with our culture’s tendency to compact information. Consider the rise of memes as a form of communication among youth. Memes represent how popular language continues to be compressed, moving from pages to words to characters to images and videos embedded with snarky text. 

Continue reading “An Honest Conversation with Gen Z”
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