"The Children of Divorce: Interpreting the Experience of Divorce for Youth Ministry and the Church"
Dr. Andy Root will deliver a lecture entitled, "The Children of Divorce: Interpreting the Experience of Divorce for Youth Ministry and the Church." This presentation will explore the impact of divorce on young people. Usually (both in the church and culture) we have seen divorce as a painful occurrence that can nevertheless be overcome if the young person can be taught to think correctly about the divorce of his or her parents (“it isn’t your fault!”). Yet, such a perspective tends to distract us from larger realities. Divorce at it core thrusts young people into questioning their very existence, “if I exist because of the relationship of these two people, who I am, and how can I be in the world, if they are no longer together?” This presentation will examine this all too common cultural reality from a philosophical and theological perspective, seeing what difference this makes for our ministries.
"Participating with God: Missional Practices for Youth Ministry"
Dr. David White delivers a lecture entitled, "Participating with God: Missional Practices for Youth Ministry." Mission encounters are a staple in youth ministry and constitute an essential practice of Christian faith. This lecture will briefly survey the theological significance of mission, reveal the historical and developmental significance of missional activities for adolescents, and will suggest best practices for missional youth ministry.
"Youth Ministry and Technology"
Dr. Rodger Nishioka delivers a lecture entitled, "Youth Ministry and Technology." 25 years ago we pretty much thought the only creature on the face of the earth that could legitimately create a “website” was a spider. Six years ago we thought the only creature that could “tweet” was a bird. Now we know differently. There is no such thing as “high tech” with youth ministry. Technology is the norm. It is the standard. So how do we do youth ministry in this technological age? Do we just join them on Twitter and Instagram? What about friending them on Facebook? What about the emerging trend of technology sabbaths? This session will focus on the opportunities and dilemmas surrounding technology and youth ministry. Together, we will explore basic guidelines and best practices around technology for our ministry with youth and their families.
"Sustainable Youth Ministry"
Rev. Mark DeVries delivers a lecture entitled, "Sustainable Youth Ministry." In the world of youth ministry, there are a handful of constant factors that thrive over the long haul. This seminar introduces participants to those factors and offers a strategic design for instilling these foundational patterns into the fabric of any youth ministry, regardless of its model. Mark DeVries identifies patterns that persistently show up in “stuck” ministries and introduces proven principles for moving beyond stuck-ness and progressing toward a ministry characterized by strategic forward motion. Sustainable youth ministries are led by successful systems leaders. Transformation of traditional person-centered/ program-centered ministries requires leaders who are equipped to make the leap from a short-term, patchwork ministry to one that promises staying power long after the current leadership team has moved on.
"Exploring the Bible with Contemporary Youth"
Dr. Yolanda Smith delivers a lecture entitled, "Exploring the Bible with Contemporary Youth." Many things capture the minds and imaginations of today’s youth—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, virtual games, flickr, tumblr, and so much more. In a media and technologically savvy world, how can today’s youth find time to explore the Word of God? This workshop will explore multiple ways of teaching the Bible with contemporary youth. Attention will be given to the nature of youth, creative approaching to teaching the Bible, and equipping youth to engage the text in a way that is meaningful and transformative in their lives.
"Keep It Real: Demands and Promises of Ministry with Black Youth"
Dr. Anne E. Streaty Wimberly delivers a lecture entitled, "Keep It Real: Demands and Promises of Ministry with Black Youth." Assuring relevant and transforming ministry with today’s youth is one of the most important and difficult tasks of the Christian church. To accomplish this task with black youth, leaders must convey the promise of Christian living in tandem with working to counter negative messages these youth receive from a dominant and often racially unfriendly culture, personal crises, and generational separation. Dr. Wimberly will explore youth ministry leaders’ imperative attention to 3 Cs of urban youth ministry – Context, Critical Content, and Connection – that enables these leaders to ‘keep it real.’
"Tending the Sacred Souls of Teenage Girls"
Dr. Evelyn Parker delivers a lecture entitled, "Tending the Sacred Souls of Teenage Girls." Lives of young adolescent girls are plagued with struggles of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism and many other –isms. How does an adolescent girl foster her personal spirituality in the face of such beasts? Dr. Parker proposes that there are four essential components for nurturing a wholesome spirituality in adolescent girls: realization, resistance, resilience, and ritual. These four concepts and the practical ways in which they can be applied to the lives of young girls to help foster that strong sense of spirituality will be the cornerstone of this session.
"The Next Generation: Practicing Youth Ministry in the Global City"
Dr. Mark R. Gornik, Dr. Janice A. McLean Farrell, and Dean Maria Liu Wong deliver a lecture entitled, "The Next Generation: Practicing Youth Ministry in the Global City." This session will examine the practices of youth ministry in the global city, especially among African, Asian, West Indian, and Latin America churches. As new and globally linked churches in the United States are established, the transmission of faith between generations is a primary concern for parents and church leaders. Given this concern and the context of urban life, what are the opportunities and challenges for youth ministry in the city? This session will be based on the findings and ongoing activities of the Next Generation Project conducted by City Seminary of New York.
"Mining Potential in Latino Youth: Lessons Learned From Serving Youth in an Urban, Cultural Context"
Pastors Rebecca and Jorge Gonzales will deliver a lecture entitled, "Mining Potential in Latino Youth: Lessons Learned From Serving Youth in an Urban, Cultural Context." Regardless of the economic, cultural, and language barriers our youth face, they have the God-given potential to succeed in life. A listening heart, unconditional love, and safe-spaces instill confidence that transforms. We’ll share stories from our life’s work – “nuggets” found in the midst of poverty, abuse, violence and apathy.
"Cut Dead but Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men"
Dr. Gregory C. Ellison, III delivers a lecture entitled, "Cut Dead but Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men." To cut dead means to refuse to acknowledge another with the intent to punish. Dr. Ellison says this is the plight of many African American young men. They are stigmatized with limited opportunity, silenced, rarely seen, and made vulnerable by a lack of sustained introspection. In this lecture, we will explore ways in which caregivers can sow seeds of life into the minds of young African American men that can lead to a flourishing life.
"Parents, the REAL Pastors: The Absolute Centrality of Parenting in Passion on Religious Faith and Practice to the Next Generation"
Professor Christian Smith delivers this year's Yale Divinity School Ensign Lecture, entitled, "Parents, the REAL Pastors: The Absolute Centrality of Parenting in Passing on Religious Faith and Practice to the Next Generation."
"The Youth Minister as [Cultural] Diagnostician"
The Rev. Dr. David C. Mahan delivers a lecture entitled, "The Youth Minister as [Cultural] Diagnostician." The difficulties of connecting young people with faith requires every minister to become an able diagnostician of contemporary culture. With the glut of generational profiles, however, we often strain to figure out how to make that connection with the individuals in our churches and ministries. This talk will offer a different model, called “Faultlines,” that will help us not only to make faith relevant, but resonant with young people today.
"Awareness, Prevention and Empowerment: A Discussion on the Role of Ministry & Teenage Substance Abuse"
Tim Walsh delivers a lecture entitled, "Awareness, Prevention and Empowerment: A Discussion on the Role of Ministry & Teenage Substance Abuse." In a time when substance abuse is being declared an “epidemic,” let us gather to learn more about the facts, the fallacies, and most importantly, the role youth ministry plays as a part of the solution.
"Engaging Music in Youth Ministry"
Dr. Matt Croasmun delivers a lecture entitled, "Engaging Music in Youth Ministry." Music is an important component of the lives of our youth and of our congregations. And yet, music is often a point of disconnect for youth in our churches. Matt Croasmun describes practical ways that music can become a powerful nexus of connection through corporate worship, songwriting, and mentorship. The lecture will involve examples of music created in a modest, local youth ministry, as well as opportunities to engage together in musical worship.
"Rigorous, Reasonable, and Real: Youth Ministry"
The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel delivers a lecture entitled, "Rigorous, Reasonable, and Real: Youth Ministry." With the rise of the “nones” and the “spiritual but not religious,” it often seems that the church is answering questions no one is asking. Many churches are still defining themselves in terms of what they are not (“We’re not like those other Christians who….”) in a world where people don’t know or care who those “other Christians” are. In an age of individualism and personal choice, how do we do youth ministry in community, within a tradition older and larger than ourselves? How do we make a claim for religious community that is respectful of other paths but compelling enough to warrant a young person’s time and attention?
"Nurturing the Emotional Lives of Adolescents: Identifying and Ministering to Youth at Risk for Depression"
Dr. Nadja Reilly and Kate Hyde deliver a lecture entitled,"Nurturing the Emotional Lives of Adolescents: Identifying and Ministering to Youth at Risk for Depression." Approximately 1 out of 5 adolescents will struggle with depression before the age of 24. Youth ministers are critical sources of early identification and support for adolescents dealing with mental illness. During this lecture, participants will learn about adolescent depression, how to identify symptoms, and how to access services. We will also discuss how to foster open communication and healthy coping in support of a flourishing life.
"The Church's Role in Reaching Disconnected Black Youth"
Dr. Anne E. Streaty Wimberly delivers a lecture entitled, "The Church’s Role in Reaching Disconnected Black Youth." This session will include an overview of meanings assigned to the term “disconnected youth,” also called “unchurched youth,” and will highlight profiles of disconnected youth, internal and external relational challenges churches face in reaching these youth, and examples of effective ministry paradigms that build bridges of connection between these youth and churches. The lecture will draw on preliminary data uncovered in the Youth Hope-Builders Academy (YHBA) research project entitled “Building Bridges of Hope: The Church’s Role in Reaching Disconnected Youth.”
"Live, Love, Learn...Lead: Sustainable Leadership for Youth Ministry"
Rev. Skip Masback delivers a lecture entitled, "Live, Love, Learn...Lead: Sustainable Leadership for Youth Ministry."
"Discerning and Communicating Vision and Mission"
Rev. Skip Masback delivers a lecture entitled, "Discerning and Communicating Vision and Mission"
"The Elephant in the Room: Conversations about Race with Youth"
Dr. Evelyn Parker delivers a lecture entitled, "The Elephant in the Room: Conversations about Race with Youth." What’s on a youth pastor’s list of tough topics to talk about with teenagers? Teen suicide? Sex? Violence in dating relationships? While pastors struggle to find words for these tough topics with teens, occasionally race and racism surface when youth speak about interracial dating, hate crimes at schools, and growing up biracial. What is the tacit message about the church, the congregation, and its leaders when a youth pastor avoids talking with teens about race? What are best practices that maintain ecclesial and communal integrity? This lecture will focus on ecclesial, anthropological, and practical ways to tackle the tough topic of race with youth.
"Inside Jokes in an Outside World: Helping Adolescents Lead Joyful Lives Through the Practice of Testimony"
Dr. Amanda Drury and Rev. Matthew Beck deliver a lecture entitled, “Inside Jokes in an Outside World: Helping Adolescents Lead Joyful Lives Through the Practice of Testimony.” They speak on the importance of Testimony: cultivating community and individual flourishing through telling our stories and listening to the stories of others.
"Resilience & Joy: Helping Adolescents Bounce Back in the Face of Adversity"
Dr. Rodger Nishioka and Rev. Dominique Robinson deliver a lecture entitled, “Resilience & Joy: Helping Adolescents Bounce Back in the Face of Adversity.” They speak on Resilience: nurturing attitudes, practices, and virtues, which facilitate recovery from - even flourishing in the midst of - mistakes and misfortunes.
"Youth, Christian Worship and Joy: Deeper Soundings"
Dr. Frederick Edie and Ms. Alaina Kleinbeck deliver a lecture entitled, “Youth, Christian Worship and Joy: Deeper Soundings.” They speak on Worship: forming individuals through Eucharist, song, praise, and other liturgical practices through which they connect with transcendent reality.
"The Fire That Burns at the Heart of Creation: Joy and Beauty as Foundations for Youth Ministry"
Dr. David White and Rev. John Leedy deliver a lecture entitled, “The Fire that Burns at the Heart of Creation: Joy and Beauty as Foundations for Youth Ministry.” They speak on Beauty: inspiring engagement with the transcendent through attention to and creation of beauty; illuminating the beautiful in the ordinary.
"The Courage to Hope: Empowering Adolescent Joy Amidst the Challenges of Life"
Dr. Anne E. Streaty Wimberly and Dr. Sarah F. Farmer deliver a lecture entitled, “The Courage to Hope: Empowering Adolescent Joy Amidst the Challenges of Life.” They speak on Hope: grounding a sense of the possibility and reality of joy and flourishing in the midst of the challenges of this life, as well as in the life to come.
"Social Media: What You Need to Know (Part I)"
Dr. Angela Gorrell delivesr a lecture entitled, “Social Media: What You Need to Know (Part I): Addressing the Negative Effects of Social Media with Youth Struggling with Bullying, Marginalization, Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem.”
"Social Media: What You Need to Know (Part II)"
Dr. Angela Gorrell delivers a lecture entitled, “Social Media: What You Need to Know (Part II): Using the Positive Potential of Social Media to Engage and Build Community with Youth Struggling with Isolation and Alienation.”
"Burnout in the Gap: Youth Ministry in the Midst of Adversity"
Dr. Sarah F. Farmer and Dr. Angela Gorrell deliver a lecture entitled, “Burnout in the Gap: Youth Ministry in the Midst of Adversity.”
"Youth on Lockdown: Ministry to Youth on the Pipeline to Prison"
Dr. Sarah F. Farmer delivers a lecture entitled,”Youth on Lockdown: Ministry to Youth on the Pipeline to Prison.”
"Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts: Using Art to Heal the Effects of Trauma"
Dr. Sarah F. Farmer delivers a lecture entitled,”Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts: Using Art to Heal the Effects of Trauma.”
"Joy on Purpose"
Joy vs. Happiness. Given that feelings of happiness are fleeting and the complexities of youth culture today, joy does not happen on accident. Dr. Pamela King and Dr. Steven Argue contend it occurs on purpose. Joy is dependent on knowing what matters most in life and making a meaningful contribution to something beyond the self. Purpose is forged through encountering God’s grace and discovering one’s role in God’s ongoing work in this world. Stories define us. When we know our story and our role in the story—we discover our purpose. God’s ongoing story of creation, redemption and perfection is the ultimate story. Drawing on their backgrounds in ministry, theology, psychology, and education, Pam and Steve, offer insights and practical suggestions for enabling youth ministers to nurture a sense of purpose through discovering one’s place in God’s story. Faith lived on purpose is flourishing.
"The Joy of Untamed Friendship: Rescuing Youth Ministry from The Little Prince"
Youth ministers have long placed the practice of friendship at the center of youth ministry. But what makes our relationships with young people in church any different from their relationships anywhere else? In this session, Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean and Mr. Wesley Ellis dive headlong into the practice of holy friendship with teenagers, and whether being “tamed” by another is what Jesus had in mind. Is joy the end goal of friendship in youth ministry? Are church relationships “special”? Is this dangerous territory—or precisely the terrain we are on?
"Sing for the Joy of the City"
In this presentation, Mark Gornik and Miriam Acevedo discuss the role of “singing the sacred story” in learning and transmitting Christian faith across generations and cultures. To make their case for the sacred story of Christian Faith through the practice of singing, as well as reading Scripture, praying, dancing and testifying in a church community, they will share stories from New York City and of the Taizé Community in Europe.
"Gritty Sabbath Rest: Shaping a Keystone Habit for Adolescent Faith & Joy"
When our experience of joy is tethered to an identity-centering relationship with Jesus Christ its promise is assured by Christ’s resurrection. Learning how to live more fully in the presence of Jesus helps us to experience resilient joy, inextinguishable in the face of untimely or chronic adversity. As Brother Lawrence taught in the 17th century, joy from the ever present Christ is accessible even amidst life’s tedious tasks, like washing dishes. Today’s fast-paced lifestyles may exacerbate the natural challenge of capacity limitations but they need not hijack the promised joy of Christ’s indwelling presence in our lives. Learning to live with Jesus is joyfully transformational, but it takes deliberate practice. Gritty Sabbath rest, shaped as a keystone habit that works for spiritually unsophisticated adolescents, may be just what we need to learn how to flourish with Jesus in joy.
"Holding Lightly: Cultivating Playfulness in Youth"
In this presentation, Dr. Courtney Goto and Lakisha Lockhart explore playfulness as holding lightly, a spiritual practice that is both purposeful and necessary for the faith and flourishing of adolescents. We investigate what playfulness means and how the practice can help young people cope with everyday challenges and reflect deeply on questions such as: who am I, what are my gifts and passions, who has God created me to be, and what is my purpose. We offer ways in which, we, as ministers and educators can provide adolescents spaces that not only allow for playfulness but welcome it.
"Moved to Joy: Purpose, Awe & Wonder"
To live the life of a young person is to live a life in motion. Propelled by a frenzy of activities, the young people in our care long to be “moved” beyond their selves and situations. Every day, the lure of achievement and the spectacle of entertainment promise to elevate them to new levels of joy and importance. Meanwhile, Christian theology promises a different kind of movement—the movement of God towards us, revealed when we do the unthinkable in our culture of perpetual motion and “wait” upon the Lord.
"Nurturing Relationships that Truly Transform: Self-Empowering Love and Adolescent Joy"
In this presentation, Dr. Andrew Root and Mr. Christian Gonzalez explore how faith is passed on and what, if anything, this has to do with theology. We’ll ask specifically, what exactly does it mean to take a theological turn in youth ministry? Looking at the biblical theme of kenosis, we’ll turn away from a technological perspective that sees youth ministry as providing solutions, or faith-formation as getting the knowledge of theology in young people’s heads. Instead we will explore how faith-formation, theology, and ministry are held together, drawing particularly from the life and youth ministry of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, to see how youth workers today can be kenotic guides.
"Memory and Joy"
The lecture by Dr. Anne E. Streaty Wimberly and Dr. Almeda Wright provides historical material and pedagogical perspectives on nourishing youths’ joy by connecting them with the past in ways that foster truth-telling, communal and personal identity formation, agency, lament, and a vital life of faith and hope. The lecture draws on findings from research undertaken by the lecturers entitled “Finding Joy in Adolescence: African-American Stories from the Past for the Present.”
"Incubators for Joy"
Dr. Clark and Dr. Ketcham deliver a lecture entitled, “Incubators for Joy.” God created us to flourish. Yet family instability can rob many young people of joy-filled lives when unattended painful experiences give rise to sorrow-filled lives. We explain how family instability disrupts adolescent joy and empower youth ministers to care for hurting teenagers by creating communities that act as “incubators” for the joy God intends.
"Forging Fearless Communities: Seeing and Hearing to Overcome Fear"
The Rev. Dr. Ellison and Georgette Ledgister deliver a lecture entitled, “Forging Fearless Communities: Seeing and Hearing to Overcome Fear.” Fear undercuts one’s ability to fully experience or express joy by muting and rendering one invisible. This session explores the four fundamental fears that inform generational divides and acts of exclusion. Participants learn strategies to see every member of our communities of faith as whole persons.
Nurturing Joy: Supporting the Emotional Lives of Adolescents"
Dr. Reilly, Dr. Farmer & Ms. Hyde deliver a lecture entitled, “Nurturing Joy: Supporting the Emotional Lives of Adolescents.” Youth ministers are critical sources of early identification and support for adolescents dealing with mental illness. Participants learn about adolescent anxiety, depression, and suicidality along with concrete ways that a theological community might offer assistance.
"ReVisoning Teen Sexuality or Addressing Sexuality: Relational Joy and Embodied Flourishing"
Dr. Ott and Ms. Carter deliver a lecture entitled, “ReVisioning Teen Sexuality or Addressing Sexuality: Relational Joy and Embodied Flourishing.” Sexuality and relationships are a major aspect of teen development. Instead of embracing the joy that healthy, holistic and ethically and developmentally appropriate sexuality can manifest in our lives, many youth ministry programs treat any expression of sexuality as a risk to be suppressed. Together, we address why and how to integrate sexuality education throughout the faith formation experiences of teens.
"Joy in the Aftermath of Violence"
The Rev. Dr. Baker and Dr. Reyes deliver a lecture entitled, “Joy in the Aftermath of Violence.” Like the writers of Lamentations and Psalms, adolescents cry out to God and to the leaders of the community to deliver them from interpersonal and structural violence. Using an interdisciplinary framework to understand how violence affects youth psycho-spiritually, we offer practices that promote flourishing for youth pastors, community workers, and youth themselves.
"Trace My Hand: Joy and Belonging in Youth Ministry"
Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean and Mr. Justin Forbes deliver a lecture entitled, “Trace My Hand: Joy and Belonging in Youth Ministry.”
"God, Grace, Gifts & Gratitude"
Gratitude comes from the recognition that gifts are not rights, privileges, or accidental outcomes but emerge when the mind is turned toward contemplation of God's incomprehensible goodness. Dr. Robert Emmons and Mr. Marc Afshar talk about how youth ministry contexts can actualize gratitude’s role as a social glue that binds people together, boosting joy in settings where flourishing often remains a potentiality rather than a reality.
"How Your Church Can Grow Young"
Dr. Kara Powell and Mr. Mike Park deliver a lecture entitled, “How Your Church Can Grow Young.” Based on a landmark investigation on congregations who love and are loved by young people, this lecture will explore community’s relationship to joy, and offer a host of practical ideas to help our young people grow, and our church to “Grow Young”.
Dr. Allan Hugh Cole, Jr. and Rev. Dr. Philip Browning Helsel deliver a lecture entitled, “Mentoring Youth for Joy in Anxious Times.” The lecture focuses on the pervasiveness of anxiety in the lives of adolescents, reasons for this trend, and ways for supporting adolescents, appealing to the practice of mentoring as a conduit for resilience and joy. Dr. Cole is Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of Undergraduate Programs, and Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. Previously he served for eleven years on the faculty of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, TX, the last four as Academic Dean. Rev. Dr. Philip Browning Helsel, is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier and Rev. Ruben Ortiz deliver a lecture entitled, “Thriving Grace: Hope’s Agenda Setting.” While practical theology has defined thriving in the language of scholars, what does thriving mean for young people and youth pastors living in urban poverty as the reality of their lives? Beginning with the description of the context of urban poverty, its problems and effects on youth, we will bring into conversation the voices and disciplines of youth, ministers, professors, theorists of urban studies and theologians. Rev. Dr.Conde-Frazier is Academic Dean and Vice President of Education at Esperanza College of Eastern University. Rev. Ortiz has served in urban ministry for 30 years and is Director of National Programs at Esperanza.
Dr. James K. A. Smith and Dr. Kyle David Bennett deliver a lecture entitled, “Looking for Joy in All the Wrong Places: An Augustinian Guide to our Anxieties.” This lecture considers how the duplex of anxiety and anger—fostered and fomented by the rituals of distraction—are both generators and fruit of idolatries. But we will also consider what it might look like to overcome these inhibitors, to find rest and arrive home to joy. Dr. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College, where he holds the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview. Dr. Bennett is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Spirituality and Leadership Institute at Caldwell University.
"Paul's Not-So-Secret Secret: Belonging and Christian Freedom in the Midst of Affliction"
Dr. Michal Beth Dinkler and the Rev. Skip Masback deliver a lecture entitled, "Paul's Not-so-Secret Secret: Belonging and Christian Freedom in the Midst of Affliction." Maya Angelou said once in an interview, "You are only free when you realize you belong no place - you belong every place - no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great." Paul traced the Christian path to this freedom with a secret he blabbed from one end of the ancient world to the other. As he framed his secret in his letter to the Philippians: "I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (4:12-13). This lecture explores how our youth might claim this freedom Paul calls them to and offer youth workers practical suggestions for helping individuals and youth open their lives to "him who strengthens" us.
"Fake Joy: Substance Abuse and Young People's Thirst for Wholeness"
Dr. Joyce Mercer and Rev. Charles Edward Atkins, Jr. deliver a lecture entitled, “Fake Joy: Substance Abuse and Young People’s Thirst for Wholeness.” In this lecture, we look at substance abuse as offering false joy to youth. We share a strengths-based model for working with incarcerated youth that can be engaged with young people in other settings, that supports their genuine quest for joy against the seductive false joy of substance abuse. Dr. Mercer is a scholar-researcher, teacher, writer, retreat leader, and professor of Pastoral Care and Practical Theology at Yale Divinity School. Charles Edward Atkins, Jr.’s work focuses on religious practice in incarcerated communities. Charles is an ordained minister who currently works as a full-time Chaplain with the N.J. Department of Corrections at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility.
"Compassion-Based Approaches for Facilitating Difficult Conversations about Race and Racial Identity"
In this lecture, Dr. Frank Rogers, Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter and Dr. Seth Schoen describe the good life as both grounded empowerment in one’s racial identity, and relationships across racial identities of mutual respect, understanding, and commitment to a world where flourishing is not denied anyone by virtue of race. This lecture will introduce practices that are designed to facilitate compassion-based approaches to difficult conversations around race.
"Eight bowls, Four weeks, One RADICAL World"
In this lecture, Drs. Hooker and Corrie argue that peace, reconciliation, and, by extension, joy and the good life are communal achievements and not individual pursuits or possessions.
“Forgiveness and Joy”
Professor Miroslav Volf and Mr. Paul Gorrrell deliver a lecture entitled, "Forgiveness and Joy." If you have seriously wronged someone, it is a joyous thing to be told: “It’s OK. I don’t count it against you!” But is there joy in offering apology and in restoring a measure of what your wrongdoing has taken away? And if you yourself have been wronged, is there joy in forgiving? Is not revenge – “sweet revenge” – more joyful than forgiveness?
Rev. Dr. Debora Jackson presents on Realizing Effectiveness and Well-being by Seeking Sanctuary. This is an important topic for all who serve within their context, especially youth workers. It has been said that youth ministry is “burned out ministry.” Youth workers are always eager to learn how to help young people cope with stress, depression, anxiety, etc. However, how are we as leaders and ministers coping and caring for ourselves?
Rev. Skip Masback delivers a lecture on, "Planning and Leading Retreats that Transform." Youth long for experiences that will take them outside of the cramped, everyday patterns of their daily lives and connect them with something larger than themselves, with the unconditional love of God and neighbor. In this session, we explore how the Christian tradition of pilgrimage can inform a vision of youth retreats that change lives.
Dr. Andrew Root delivers a lecture entitled, "Youth Ministry in an Era of Over-Parenting: Moving from the Thing to the Story."
Lecture synopsis: Youth workers know what it is to watch parents and youth participate in multiple other activities. Most families have limited time and space for youth ministry activities or youth group. Often parent(s) (and youth) express desire to participate, but say they have no time. A parent might even say, "Sorry we haven't gotten to youth group in the last six months, it's just that gymnastics is kind of her thing, it's really who she is." This can be frustrating for youth workers and some respond by contending that youth ministry needs to up the commitment level and move higher up the ranking of things. In this presentation we'll explore together why this approach can't work because the decisions parents and young people make exist inside very deep conceptions of what makes for a good life. In a time of limited time and unlimited options, youth ministry can't - and shouldn't - compete in ranking of important activities. Youth ministry should not be just another thing (like basketball, violin, or debate club). Instead, we should turn toward story to re-imagine what you ministry can be for. Dr. Root is Professor and Carrie Olson Baalson Chair of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary.
Dr. Mary Moschella delivers a lecture entitled, "Caring for Stories." Just what is pastoral care? Providing spiritual and emotional care for youth and for their families is a major part of a youth leader's job, but many youth workers don't have specific training in this area. How do you have a pastoral conversation with youth group members and/or their families? Active listening skills can enhance your ability to care for youth and the stories they share. Learn how to provide a safe and supportive environment for those entrusted to your care. We will also consider questions about referral: how do you know when to speak to a pastor or recommend the assistance of a health care professional? Dr. Moschella is the Roger J. Squire Professor of Divinity at Yale Divinity School.
Rev. Mark DeVries will deliver a lecture on, "Sustainable Youth and Children's Ministries." In the the world of youth and children's ministry, there are a handful of constant factors that allow ministries to thrive over the long haul. This workshop introduces children's workers, youth workers, and senior pastors to those patterns that notoriously keep ministries stuck and to systems and strategies most likely to result in culture change. The thorny challenge of building healthy and engaged volunteer teams will be used as a culture-change case study for participants to workshop. Rev. Mark DeVries is the Founder and President of Ministry Architects.
POSTPONED - Dr. Angela Gorrell, "Always On: Social Media and Working with Youth." In a time when people feel like they have to be always on, what can do we? Angela will share tips for leading constructive conversations about social media with young people and practical things you can do to help teenagers use social media in ways that nurture their well-being as well as express their Christian faith. Dr. Gorrell is Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Truett Seminary, Baylor University.
This event has been postponed. Additional information will be provided shortly.