YEC Volunteer – I want to share about my experience being a YEC Volunteer. As this was my first time to volunteer at an event like this.
My experience as a youth at YEC
I haven’t been to a YEC, known as the Youth Evangelism Conference, since I was a teenager, over 20 years ago. Yes I know I am telling my age there! I remember as a youth, I won a t-shirt, because my seat had the special paper under it. I won a True Love Waits t-shirt. That was in the mid 1990’s. Maybe around 1993.
Heard about Volunteering
Then around the first of 2016, maybe the end of 2015, YEC came heavy on my heart. So I wanted to look into it. I was peeking at it and what stood out to me on the website was Volunteer. I was like wow. I can be a YEC Volunteer! So I signed up to be a volunteer and even my daughter got to be a YEC Volunteer with me.
The YEC is done through the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB), formally known as the Tennessee Baptist Convention (TBC).
What is the purpose of YEC?
This is taken from their 2016 brochure ..
YEC exists to clearly communicate the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. During the weekend every student will have the opportunity to respond to the powerful message of the Gospel.YEC equips and encourages students who already know Jesus Christ as Savior to live a Gospel-centered life.PRAYER support over the entire YEC weekend allows both students and youth leaders to arrive in Nashville expecting God to do what only He can do!YEC weekend is designed to engage and minister to middle school and high school students. We are praying that God will once again flood the altar as students respond to His invitation. We are praying that lives will be forever transformed because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
Amber, my daughter, and I drove to Nashville, TN March 11, 2016. It is about a three and a half hour drive from Jefferson City, TN. We arrived early to Nashville, TN so we walked around for a little bit. Then, we went to the Nashville Municipal Building, where the YEC is now hosted at. We sign in and told we are ushers. They have various places of volunteer work for YEC. You could also be a greeter and even Merch person, the merchandise tables.
My daughter and I were assigned to section H4. We have meeting shortly after check in about what is going on and what we are to do. Then, we were given a boxed dinner. They had either chicken salad or turkey sandwich. Then we go to our assigned spots and wait for them to open and all the youth and youth groups come in. We even had drinks and snacks for us in the volunteer room that we could have if needed.
As an usher, we helped to make sure people got seated, we also had a bucket that had commitment cards and an information booklet for those who made commitments. On Saturday, second session, you used the bucket to take up the offering. We even are there to ask questions if any arise, like where is the youth leaders room, where is the bathrooms, or other questions too. Even helped point groups to sections that could fit their group in.
In 2016, we were given Volunteer Passes and even a jacket. I was told they usually do t-shirts. Let me tell you this, it was very hot in those jackets inside the arena. Especially since I was jumping to songs played by the YEC Worship Band.
I got to give tons of high-fives to teens and youth workers as they were sitting or passing by my section. I got to talk to tons of people from all parts of the state of Tennessee, including churches that were local to me. Even trying to get the youth smiling too.
Networking and bringing brothers and sisters together
God brings us to places like this for a reason, we might not know, but he has a reason. I think it was great networking and fellowship with both those there for the conference and those volunteering at YEC.
In section A1, was someone we know from where we live. It was a manager at where my daughter worked. The other section, H3, was a teacher from my daughters high school, who goes to a church down the road from my church. So I guess this helped to break some ice when we volunteered for our first time. Even the ones who have volunteered before talked to you and made you feel welcome.
I got to talk to many youth, youth leaders and find out where they are from, if they are enjoying the conference and more.
Also part of the networking that goes on, is finding about the other ministries and even colleges that are at the YEC. I even got to meet and share with some people about my this blog ministry, including people at the TBC, Tennessee Baptist Convention, which is who puts on the YEC.
One thing that dishearted me, some youth groups were saying they cannot do chants that a lot of other youth groups do as competitions with each other while waiting to events to get started. Another down fall I saw, while waiting for the event to go, it seemed everyone was more into their phones than what was going on.
Near my section was a youth pastor with a full beard, he wanted to get his youth group to get other youth groups chanting, if they could he would show up to church with half beard and also post it on social media. Follow this blog as I share about that in a future blog post. (Guess what he had to go to church and have half his beard shaved. Read that story!)
More on Volunteering
Once we get our section cleared out, we went back to the volunteer check table to get our hotel keys. A volunteer living greater than 24 miles got a hotel for the night. Since we were a long ways off, my daughter and I got a hotel for the night as being a volunteer. They put as at the Four Points in Brentwood, TN.
Then we go to the hotel, sleep for little bit, as it was midnight when I got to the hotel. Then we had arrive back at the arena by 8 to volunteer. They provided us Chick-fil-A breakfast in the morning. Then we went back to our spots.
After we got everyone cleared out, we hung around for a little bit, made sure they didn’t need help else where then we were dismissed to go home.
Parking in Nashville
Parking in Nashville, you must watch what garage you are in, because some close at night or weekends, and if you park there, your car may get stuck there until they reopen. The conference also pays up to $10 parking if needed, that is $5 per day.
I parked in the Public Square Garage, at least that is what printed on my parking stub when you enter the parking garage.
I thought it was an awesome experience being an usher at the YEC 2016. They had not only the YEC Worship Band, but they had The Skit Guys and Even Ed Newton. I enjoy hearing Ed Newton, I got to hear him recently at Strength to Stand and also have heard him at Xtreme Winter. This years theme was on Detox. Ed Newtown preached a great sermon and even the Skit Guys did a great job. I am glad they did my favorite skit, Adam and Eve, which I voted for them to do because they asked you tell us which skits you want to see.
If you want the good spots as a YEC Volunteer, they say to arrive early! My daughter and I checked in an hour before we were scheduled to check in. But we did also arrive in Nashville, TN early.
Was blessed by
I was even more blessed each time I saw a youth carrying their Bible in with them to YEC. I even told them, I was glad to see they have their Bible with them. What a blessing!
Traveling to Nashville
Going to Nashville, TN works to your advantage, because Nashville, TN is one hour behind Jefferson City, TN. Once I crossed from the Eastern Standard Time Zone to the Central Standard Time Zone, I noticed my iPhone automatically adjusted the time. I thought that was cool, that tells you how long ago, it has been since I have been across time zones.
Now going home … is a different story, you lose an hour going home, because your home time zone is ahead by one hour. But, how about this, the weekend that we go to YEC, was also Day Light Savings time, where we spring ahead. So in a since, my daughter and I lost two hours. One being going from CST to EST and the other springing ahead an hour. But, I do believe it was all worth it because I was serving my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Adult Youth Involved
Next year, I want to get the college and career to volunteer. I would also love to see our middle and high schoool youth go to YEC! I encourage everyone to look into the YEC and take your youth group and/or those youth over 18, maybe volunteer at the YEC.
Perks of Volunteering
I am sure that some of these perks of being a volunteer can come and go and something to not take advantage of either. I do also believe only serve and volunteer at the YEC if you feel led to serve and volunteer, not do it, just to do it. But do it to serve Jesus and help others know Jesus by your service.
If you are in Nashville, TN and want to pick up Air1 or K-Love, I found the stations for those two, but in Cookeville and Crossville area, I couldn’t pick up either, if I did it was spotty or mixed with another station. For Air1 in Nashville, TN tune to 92.5 and for K-Love in Nashville, TN tune to 97.1.
Photo Bomb Glasses
One thing I wished I remembered, even though I was a volunteer was my photo bomb sunglasses (2016 year, I remembered them the 2017 YEC) that I take with me on youth trips with my youth. The other youth from other churches love those, they always like hey get in our picture, but being an user and looking around, where I was standing, I could have easily photo bombed these kids pictures and I bet that would have made a memorable picture for them.
My Daughter Volunteered too!
My daughter even enjoyed being a YEC Volunteer! We both are looking forward to next year and being a YEC Volunteer again and I plan to do this annually. I believe it is well worth it, I Felt extremely blessed watching these youth. As most of you know I feel led to work with youth and this is one avenue in which to help. I may look into other type of events like this near me and see about volunteering at them too.
Not about you!
As you are a YEC Volunteer or any other type of event like this remember it is not about you, it is all about Him! No job is too small nor is any job too big. All these jobs are equal and just as important as the other.
Also make sure you are prayed up before you serve on any mission trip or volunteer event like this. Pray for yourself, pray for other volunteers and workers and even pray for those in attendance. There is power in prayer!
Amber, my mom and I volunteered at the 2017 YEC. We got two t-shirts. One that said YEC Volunteer and the other Oikos not the greek yogurt. It even snowed during this event! We had a good 1-2 inches maybe by time the youth started to arrive.
I got to fist bump and high-five thousands of youth! Some even gave a side hug! One group was doing photo bomb challenges and I brought my photo bomb sunglasses and they loved it. That led me to accidentally photo-bombing the SkitGuys. This year as greeter, I didn’t get to see any of the event. I was outside the lobby area greeting people and checking to make sure they had their wrist bands.
I even ran into half-beard youth pastor, they remembered me from prior year and was doing a video and had me in thier video!
The next YEC, 2018, is March 9-10, 2018. My wife and I, along with my daughter and mom will be volunteering.
Want to learn more about YEC, Youth Evangelism Conference visit yectn.org
#YEC #YEC2016 #YEC2017 #YEC2018
My name is Steve Patterson and I am saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. I have been blogging at Courageous Christian Father since 2012, however, I have been blogging since around 2004. I listen to nothing but Christian Music. I work as a graphic designer.