Workshop Speakers:

The Great Leveler…the Fallen Idols of COVID in the Life of a Teen
Julie Sparkman 

Our kids live in a world that teaches from a young age that it is what they DO that sets them apart from the crowd.  And then, COVID hit.  From the star athlete to the academic award recipient, achievers have watched their platforms disintegrate, leaving them grappling with lost notoriety, identity and security.  This workshop explores how we might help kids see that their greatest losses may, in fact, be a divine rescue.

The Gospel and Justice: The Kingdom’s Call for a Good Work
Watson Jones

The goal of this workshop is to aid youth ministry pastors and workers to equip students to be Kingdom and Gospel Ambassadors who properly navigate the racial justice issues of the day. We will discuss a history of racism in America to gain an understanding of its effects in the present day. We will discuss a biblical and theological rationale for why Christians have a biblical mandate to be concerned about injustices and should move toward that end.

The Important Skill Your Students Need: How to Love God Through Studying His Word 
Chelsea Kingston 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.

Discipling in the Epidemic of Loneliness 
Anna Meade Harris and Liz Edrington 

Even before the pandemic hit, researches were claiming our culture is experiencing and epidemic of loneliness. Changes in the structure of the family, greater mobility and transience, and the rise of social media have left millions feeling less deeply-connected. Add to this the realities of quarantining and social distancing, and loneliness has become one of the major mental, emotional, and even physical health challenges of our present age. In this workshop, Anna Meade Harris and Liz Edrington will explore the dynamics of our current moment and share how the God of all comfort ministers both to us and to our students loneliness. 

The Youth Ministry Discipleship Opportunity that COVID-19 Has Brought 
Cameron Cole and Rebecca Lankford 

The COVID-19 crisis has posed challenges in youth ministry, but it has also create opportunities. This workshop will talk about the opportunity for greater one-on-one discipleship that the COVID-19 season brings. Two youth pastors will talk about the pivot they made to focus on helping students grow in their individual relationships with Christ when COVID-19 hit. Rebecca Lankford and Cameron Cole will offer practical direction on how to make the most of this opportunity and how to implement a mentoring and discipleship program that will lead students to greater life in Christ. 

Law and Gospel in Youth Ministry 
David Zahl 

There is perhaps no time in life more marked by the interplay between rebellion and conformity than adolescence. Some of us spend those years vying for the approval of parents, teachers, college admissions offices, while others run in the opposite direction, looking to upset whatever apple cart we find burdensome. Ministers of the gospel can find themselves in an awkward position, eager to help their students avoid legalistic burnout but anxious not to dampen their zeal or diminish the very real consequences of sin. In this session we’ll be exploring how the distinction between the Law and the Gospel – one of the primary themes of the Protestant Reformation – might serve as a resource as we negotiate this crucible of teenage life and faith.

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