The Matrix conference is under threat

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On the 9th or 10th of April there will be a crunch meeting to work out whether the Matrix conference* has a future. There is a distinct lack of people/organisations with organisational time available and the wherewithall to underwrite the conference or to buy a guaranteed number of places.
This is incredibly frustrating and an outworking of the fact that most Christian youthwork posts are locally funded with no central funding or organisation, and with only some sort of networked support. I’ll be talking to the network of Diocesan Youth Advisers to see if there is anything we can collectively do.
But a question?
Is Matrix important? Are there other get-togethers that bring together employed practitioners in this way?
Is it time to consider an entirely different model?
…… and if the Matrix is important, how do we make it happen?
*IMHO The Matrix conference is/was the BEST and most useful bringing together of employed Christian Youth Workers

13 Replies to “The Matrix conference is under threat”

  1. like all things, these type of conferences require a lot of time/money to get going. Have the organisations who previously stood in the gap lowered their priorities, in terms of making the conference happen, or is it that individuals who drove it have moved on?

  2. Nooooooooooooooooooo!
    They can’t! Having been to Youthwork the conference last year, as a full timer we REALLY need to keep the Matrix, especially in 2009 the year of the child.

  3. The problem (or part of it I suspect) is that there are too many conferences vying for our time (and money). I chose not to go to Soulnet, because I’d already done Youthwork and a Scripture Union holiday leaders conference and am signed up for a Baptist Youth Workers retreat and a Minister’s conference (even if I’m not a REAL Minister 🙂 ).
    Maybe Matrix isn’t scratching where enough people are itching. Given the choice, I’d rather go somewhere I could take my volunteers (which is Youthwork for all its limitations for full-timers), or somewhere to relax (probably Soulnet, even though I’ve never been yet).

  4. I have not been to Youthwork but have had reports about it, i would take my volunteers if they wanted to go. Soulnet is great in terms of a chance to relax a bit, again can take volunteers, I would probably go again. Matrix, having been to two i would not want to miss one, sometimes we need to be fed ourselves and not just be taking the volunteers, Matrix does this, the networking is also much better that Soulnet, i got to know people at Matrix that i am still in touch with, i didn’t not get to know anybody new at Soulnet as the opportunities to just sit around a chat weren’t there.
    Is it possible for us to get involved and help keep Matrix alive?

  5. Ah right, I wondered when this might come up, it is interesting that a number of comemnts I heard during and maybe even after the last Matrix, spoke of the need for something for CYM students, and those who have graduated and gone into full time employmnet.
    I would suggest that Matrix offers something that many other conferences suggesting they are for youth workers don’t.
    1: Chance for those in full time youth work minstry, and leadership to meet and conect, and discuss issues.
    2: The chance for indepth challenging teaching, that is thought provoking at a level that those in full time yothw rok or leadership should be at.
    3: The ability to have a meaningful, relevant retreat, (no comments please youth blog about whether we have advanced enough), tat is aimed, geered and directed, and even maybe presented by those, who know what is needed and wanted by those who are turning up.
    Maybe there are too many conferences, youthwork the conference, soulnet, lift, and various other organisational get togethers that most organisations have. But most of these are either relevant to the group of churches that you belong too, or relevant to you as an organisation, the one thing that Matrix offered was that it was independant, of all organisational bias, and any Church grouping direction.
    wow,long post this one, sory folks.
    All that I know is, that as someone who has no real attachment or connecton to an organisation, or group of Churches, and someone who enjoys being challenged, and provoked in my work, the Matrix did it all, but hey, maybe I am just one.

  6. Noooo!
    Save the matrix save the matrix (All join in – it’s a chant.)
    I only went to one, as I was on maternity leave last year, but it was great and has had a lasting impact. I really enjoyed Youthwork and it was great to go with volunteers, but Matrix is also v important to stimulate, upset,challenge and chat.
    It must survive, it simply must! I’ll set up a FAcebook group.
    If all else fails, we could have it at my house. Could be a bit of a squeeze.

  7. I’m going to put my head above parapet here and say Matrix was ……..OK
    They always had a good main speaker – Campolo etc crumbs I would go to the opening of an envelope if he was doing it!
    There was always good times to network but hey ho you can do networking anywhere!
    The seminars were……….. forgetable?
    As with most things to do with Christian Youth work in this country if it is put together by committee (most conferences apart from Soul net) and a group of agencies then distinctiveness is lost and that, sadly is where matrix AND youthwork has gone. A few different agencies working together, trying to sell there resources and not wanting to upset other partners, providers or punters. Hence soul net is distinctive and ‘successful’? it is pulled together by one organisation, disticntveness is in it and it works.
    Sadly in these days of differring priorities on funds (dont let any of the organisational partners say they have no money – they do they just dont spend it on youth) unless organisations put funding for such events up front they wont survive

  8. Having been to Soul Net and Matrix, I would have to say, I’m afraid that, I way preferred Soul Net! Sorry folks. This is because there was way more time for personal meeting with God and chilling out with others. I, however, acknowledge that this is a very personal viewpoint and others may differ! I dont think I would go to another Matrix conference as I didnt really get anything out of it. Speakers were alright but sometimes a bit too theological and waffly. I need to hear straight to the point stuff! On retreats and conferences I think it is good to be challenged slightly but more important to be encouraged and affirmed through Bible teaching! We dont need to be told how to do our jobs, we need to be taught methods of how to stick with them when the going gets tough! That’s what I think anyway! Bring on the next Soul Net! So sorry Matrix people! Let’s agree to disagree!

  9. Is there such a thing in the church as people taking brand loyalty?
    Putting aspirations aside I think you always need to ask the question “why i am going to this conference?”
    More often than not we end up signing up to the brand that best suits us. There’s nothing wrong in that… we just need to accept that there is more than one way to “conference” as Christian youth worker.
    I wonder if the style divide in conferences can be seen as those which seek to equip a person and others that seek to equip a profession? Both are vital…
    One last thought – too many conferences can drain the budget!

  10. What makes “matrix” distinctive? The Good Book Youth work conference was very clearly aimed at “bible centred” youth workers (whatever that means) . . . I always thought Matrix was aimed at “professionals” (whatever THAT means) and was a bit more academic . . . I agree with those who have said is something to equip or sell stuff (Youthwork the Conference and Children’s Ministry Conference being examples of the latter) . . . also, publicity? I know about the Matrix, but then it’s my job to know this stuff . . .
    We need something for salaried youth workers that enables people from all churchmanships to come together and learn from one another – Spring Harvest, Good Book, New Wine, CofE, Methodist, you name it . . . won’t do it – Churches Together is also “Churches Not Together” as it reflects certain flavours of churchmanship but not others, our agendas seem to be our undoing.

  11. My reflection on Ali’s comments would be, do we need a conference that appeals to everybody? Different people have different needs at different times. Our agendas may be our undoing, but they are also what makes each conference distinctive.
    If all but one conference shut up shop, so that we could all go to the same place at the same time, most of us would probably stay at home, because the resulting conference still wouldn’t scratch where the majority itch.
    As it is, we have a variety of options to choose from, so hopefully most of us can find what we need somewhere. Those conferences that are less numerically successful either need to market themselves better, charge more, or manage on a smaller budget.

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