Rooted: A Conference of Grace, Rest and Gospel Centeredness

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Rooted is the type of conference that even we employees get excited about. It doesn’t feel like work. Why? Because we get to sit in the pews with an exceptional group of student leaders and have the gospel poured into us by incredible speakers (as well as by our fellow attendees). We make new friends, we learn, and we shed the crushing weight of the pressure we’ve placed on our own shoulders.

If you’re looking for a conference that tells you all of the things you “should” be doing in your ministry, you won’t find that at Rooted. If you’re looking to be inspired by a self-salvation type of Christianity, you won’t find that at Rooted. If you’re looking for tips on how to throw a great lock-in, you won’t find that at Rooted either. You will, however, find rest for your weary and striving soul. You will meet other student leaders who are also in the trenches, exhausted, and desperately in need of the relief and freedom that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can truly offer. Join us this year in San Diego, October 6-8.

Here are some testimonials from a few of our past conference attendees:

Rooted 2015 was a wonderful experience, from beginning to end. I was so encouraged by each speaker, each conference leader, and each attendee I met personally. The atmosphere of the entire conference was, as Scotty Smith said, “refreshing.” As someone attending the conference alone, a youth ministry volunteer with no real ministry “credentials”… it could have been very easy for me to feel small and alone. But I didn’t…First and foremost, it was the attitude of everyone associated with the conference. Because the focus of Rooted is so clearly on the gospel, no one was elevated as spiritual or ministry “giants.” Every person at the conference had equal opportunity to give, to receive, to rejoice, to grieve failures, to share advice, and to humbly ask for help.

-Darcy Difino, Lombard, Illinois

For the first five years of Youth Ministry in Washington, I felt as if I was alone on an island. I was unable to find or connect with like-minded Youth Pastors who loved the Gospel and God’s Word to the degree that they would center their ministry around them. Much of the Youth Ministry culture I saw gave center stage to lesser things. But at Rooted I found a group of humble servants who hit well the mark God puts before us; to let the Gospel be the power unto salvation (Rom 1:16) and that faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Rom 10:17). I long to fellowship with those who operate ministry in light of these truths, and am thankful for my family at Rooted. For me, Rooted isn’t just a blog or a conference. It is a retreat for rest, a reunion of likeminded friends, and a rally point for soldiers to renew our strength in the Lord. This conference is an oasis amid an often desolate landscape… Not only is the Lord using Rooted to sustain us, but also to draw many to more into the joy and empowerment available to us as we do ministry God’s way.

-David Brashler, Vancouver, Washington

Rooted has been one of the best surprises in my career as a Youth Director, since entering the position 5 years ago. I stumbled across a webpage banner that said something about ‘A Theological Youth Ministry Conference.’ This was not a phrase I’d heard yet, among all the youth ministry oriented organizations. I took a chance and signed up to attend. I arrived at the conference with a perspective on youth ministry that had previously made me feel weird, boring, and isolated—and this lead to an overall discouragement. What I found at the Rooted conference was not only unique to my experiences with other youth conferences, but was also unique to any experience I’ve had in Christian leadership community. Cameron Cole’s leadership style and grace-filled philosophy of ministry permeated the entire climate of the conference. We were sincerely welcomed, much like entering someone’s home. We were spoken to seriously, as servants and ministers of the Gospel. We were prayed for and genuinely engaged about the state of our spiritual health and the realities of discouragement in ministry. That first Rooted conference in Birmingham, AL offered me great healing. The leadership at Rooted really does believe that there is no other way to minister to youth than to share the gospel of Jesus Christ—and they offered great teaching and small group sessions that explored how this can be effectively worked toward in our own ministry contexts. In short, they ministered to us with the Word, with worship, and with their own stories, and then they created space for us to learn how to do this with our students back home. The many shared meals, laughs, and lengthy talks before and after the conference have meant more to me than I can express. This will be my fourth year attending the Conference, and I plan on many more.

-Kyle Whitehead, Daytona, Florida

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