Workshops

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Stay tuned. More workshops will be added as they are confirmed.

* YM- Youth Ministry Track; P- Parenting Track


Youth Culture and 21st Century Idolatry *YM/P
Speaker: Walt Mueller
Because parents and youth workers are in effect cross-cultural missionaries, it’s necessary to know the cultural context of our children and teens if we are going to effectively bring Gospel light to bear on cultural darkness.  In this seminar, Walt will help you understand the how Idolatry of self has taken root and grown in today’s youth culture and how it’s de-forming our kids. We will look at practical strategies for exposing and pushing back on the idolatry of self as we nurture today’s children and teens.

Walking Backward to Bethlehem: How Christ Permeates the Old Testament *YM/P
Speaker: Chad Bird
Imagine walking into a movie during the last five minutes and expecting to make sense of the story? That’s what it’s like when we read or teach the New Testament without a grasp of the Old Testament story. But how can we make sense of floods, fights, and philandering kings? In this workshop, Chad Bird will explore how Christ himself explained himself from the Old Testament, how to unpack these old stories for youths today, and why walking backward to Bethlehem is the only way to stay on your feet during the journey.

Night Driving: Welcoming Home Prodigal Sons and Daughters *YM/P
Speaker: Chad Bird
Several years ago, Chad Bird walked into parents’ home after wrecking everything in his life. He was a disgraced, depressed, hopeless man. But he was greeted with open arms and unconditional love—and that made all the difference. Like many other children, like the prodigal son himself, he was aching for forgiveness and a fresh start. Eventually, he wrote his book, Night Driving, which relates his story; offers hope for those who have strayed; and gives guidance to parents, teachers, and ministers on how to welcome home those who find themselves yearning for grace.

Preaching to Gen Z: How to Communicate the Gospel Effectively *YM
Speaker: Chris Li
If the gospel is the good news of Jesus has the power to save and sanctify, then preaching is one of our greatest tasks. Whether formally in the pulpit or informally through conversation, youth leaders are called to preach the gospel faithfully to every generation. The gospel doesn’t change but each generation does. Our youth groups are filled with Gen Z and they are different than Millennials, so how can we communicate the gospel effectively? This workshop will seek to help give practical tools to preach to Gen Z.

Short Term Missions with Long Term Perspective *YM
Speaker: Philip Walkley
There is currently much debate in the church over the value and validity of short term missions. And while for decades, short term mission trips played a key role in the discipleship process for many student ministries, now many in youth ministry have more questions than answers when it comes to short term missions. In this workshop we will look at many of the common questions raised about short term missions. We will analyze different models and consider the long term effects (both positive and negative) of short term missions. And we will discuss how this conversation relates to equipping students to respond to the gospel call to make disciples and care for the marginalized. If you have ever taken or considered taking students on short term mission trips, this workshop will be a helpful resource for you.

Ministering to Our Children While in the Ministry *P
Speaker: Katie Polski
Statistics show that many pastor’s kids rebel from the faith. Why is this the case? What are the difficulties unique to children growing up in the home of a pastor or ministry leader, and how can we best nurture our children amidst these challenges? What are the distinct blessings?

Three Ways Churches of All Sizes can Move Towards Intergenerational Integration *YM
Speaker: Davis Lacey
In this workshop, church planter and former youth pastor Davis Lacey shares how his new church ministers to the relatively small number of teenagers in their midst. Because of size and resource constraints, they don’t yet have a “youth group.” But through the roadmap of easy steps which will be shared in this workshop, the body of Christ as a whole has heeded the call to minister to the church’s teens. Leaders in churches of all stages, sizes, and budgets will find practical encouragement on how to make progress in seeing teenagers involved in every facet of the life of the church. Leaders will be reminded that, by connecting them to Christ-followers of every age and stage of life, many teenagers who might have otherwise left the church will catch a vision of what it means to walk with Jesus over the course of a lifetime – and will be better equipped to do so themselves.

How a Young Youth Pastor Can Effectively Minister to Parents: A Process and Practice *YM
Speaker: Cameron Cole
If you are a youth pastor without teenager of your own, or even one without a spouse or kids at all, you still can be a great asset in equipping parents. In this workshop, Cameron Cole will talk about the evolution of his ministry to parents in his own church. He will help youth pastors identify the tools they inherently have through their job; talk about ways to build credibility; and suggest practical means by which any youth pastor can equip parents to disciple their kids.

Crisis and Trauma: Learning to Love in Hard Places *YM/P
Speaker: Liz Edrington
Often, our students and families (and we!) have invisible wounds that color many of the ways they interact in community. In this workshop, we’re going to consider what it can look like to care for folds who have trauma as a part of their story in both immediate (crisis) and long-term ways.

Discipling in the Epidemic of Loneliness *YM/P
Speakers: Anna Meade Harris and Liz Edrington 
Researchers claim our culture is experiencing an epidemic of loneliness. Changes in the structure of the family, greater mobility and transience, and the rise of social media have ironically left millions feeling less connected and more cut off from warm fellowship and deep connection. In this workshop, Anna Meade Harris and Liz Edrington will share how the God of all comfort ministers to us in loneliness. By learning to spot the lies that keep us lonely, youth pastors and parents will find encouragement in our ever-present God and discover how to help teens do the same.

Seeing Jesus in She-Bears, Mutilated Concubines, and Talking Donkeys *YM/P
Speakers: Seth Stewart 
Jesus told his disciples that all of Scripture finds its ultimate meaning in him. But how do we preach Jesus as the climax of the text and practical solution to our teenagers’ problems when our Bible seems strange, foreign, violent, and weird? How do we do that responsibly? How do we do that without getting weird ourselves? Most importantly, how do we do that in a way where our students walk away worshiping the goodness of Jesus, even when the story is about a talking donkey.

Equipping Volunteers to Make Disciples *YM
Speaker: Syler Thomas 
We all know that volunteers are the lifeblood of our ministries. Without them, it just becomes the “youth pastor” show. But often, when we have them, we don’t really know what to do with them. If we don’t equip them well, they’ll be frustrated and student discipleship will be stifled. Drawing on concepts in his latest book, Syler will give you everything you need to recruit, equip, and mobilize your volunteers to be evangelists, teachers, and shepherds.

The Important Skill Your Students Need: How to Love God Through Studying His Word
Speaker: Chelsea Erickson
Are students in your ministry merely hearing the Bible taught to them, or are they actively learning how to study it themselves? Teaching students how to study and apply the Bible is a primary part of our calling as youth ministers, but it’s one we can all too easily neglect! Using the basics of Inductive Bible Study, this workshop will demonstrate how to help students slow down to observe, interpret, and apply the text, making gospel connections as they go. The workshop will also provide recommendations for implementing this kind of collaborative Bible study with both high school and middle school students.
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