I have to be 100% honest: when I first heard about this campference, I dismissed the idea of attending. I had no desire to go to a women’s conference. I’ve been to several “women-only” events in the past and tend to find myself a bit judgmental of them. They sometimes lean heavily on crafts, quiche, and talking about how great it is to be woman rather than a man. I have walked away from several feeling hungry physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Over the years I’ve appreciated youth worker gatherings. Not only because they are fuel to my brain, but also because they’re fuel for my soul because of the relationships I have made with other regular attendees. These gatherings have turned into a meeting place of friends.
Yet, even though I love the camaraderie, the rest of the conference I catch myself trying to prove my credentials. I’d causally drop my professional position or years I have been in youth ministry as a sort of status when introducing myself. I secretly had a feeling that I need to prove to people why I belong there. No one ever asked for my resume. It sometimes was the pressure of hearing someone else’s experience level. Sometimes it was feeling out-numbered being one of the few females in the room. Other times it was just rooted in pressure I put on myself both professionally and personally.
Recently though, I was doing some soul inventory. I had a longing for something but could not quite figure out what it was. It wasn’t until I found myself praying aloud, “God, I need a place where I can just BE.” I desired a place I was not trying to prove myself.
At that moment, this campference re-entered my mind. I went back to the website and read the description of this event: “We may not know your name – yet – but we know you. We get you. That’s because you’re one of us. You’re a woman in youth ministry and so are we.”
That’s it! That is what I need!
I NEED A PLACE TO JUST BE.
This April I am looking forward to entering a community to just BE. I am looking forward to a place where I will not have to justify who I am. I will not bring up if or how long I went to school. I will not preface a conversation with how many years of experience I have. I will just be.
Why? Because I am already gotten. I am already understood. I am already one of them.
Christina Robertson is currently the associate middle school pastor at a church in Southern California and has had a heart to serve middle school students for a number of years. She is married and has three girls.