Seminars are being added regularly, so check back often for an updated list.
Forgiving, Without Forgetting: Metanoia and the Path to Reconciliation
We all know what the Bible teaches about forgiveness, yet more often than not, forgiving, let alone forgetting, seems like an impossible task. Eleven months into his first ordained call in youth ministry, Jason Brian Santos was forcibly fired, cut off from his community and left in a place of hatred for those who hurt him and his family. Set in the backdrop of this unfortunate narrative, this seminar explores an alternative understanding of Biblical forgiveness, ultimately arguing that humans don’t actually have the capacity to forgive. Following his path to reconciliation with those who fired him, Santos will explore how forgiveness is essentially a divine act experienced in and through metanoia, and is ultimately the missing link to healing and forgiveness in the face of adversity.
The Death of Youth Ministry: How Peer-Oriented Ministry is Killing the Church
For the last half-century, we’ve increasingly formed our children and youth through developmentally- appropriate, peer-oriented ministry programs. Recent research, however, suggests that we might have taken the ages and stages model of ministry a little too far. This seminar explores the history of that trend through generational studies and identify formation theories, ultimately arguing that our efforts are killing the church as we know it.
Jason Brian Santos is the Mission Coordinator for Christian Formation (Christian education, children, youth, college, young adult, camps and conference ministries) at the Presbyterian Mission Agency. He also serves as the National Director of UKirk Collegiate Ministries. He is an ordained teaching elder in the PCUSA and holds a Ph.D. in practical theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author of A Community Called Taizé (IVP, 2008) and Sustaining the Pilgrimage (IVP Academic, forthcoming). He currently resides in Louisville, KY with his wife, Shannon and his two sons, Judah and Silas (aka Tutu). In his spare time, he plays and designs board games.
When People are the Problem and the Solution—Leading in an Ever-Changing Culture
Ministry & culture seems to be changing at such a rapid pace that it is difficult to keep up with what’s coming next. For many of us, our students & ministries don’t look the same as they did years ago, and many of us are trying to figure out how to ‘fix’ our programs in order to keep up with the changing culture. Yet, we find that our solutions aren’t working, and we find ourselves dealing with similar challenges again and again. Using the work of Ronal Heifitz’s we will focus on principles of adaptive change to learn to lead change in our ministry contexts through utilizing adaptive solutions rather than technical ones.
Rev. Tina Itson is an ordained Deacon in the UMC who has served in youth ministry for about 17 years in contexts from the local church to non-profits and a few things in between. She has a passion for social justice, connecting with others through stories, discovering the ways that God is among us, and helping teenagers to find a place to belong and to matter.
The Cross, the Lynching Tree, and Youth Ministry
Toward a Progressive Sexual Ethic
The Golden Rule…If you could only include one topic in your curriculum, why this should be it!
Why a class on World Religions would be welcome in your Progressive Youth Ministry
Edwina Cowell is the Founder, Chief Visionary Officer and Co-creator of Spiritual Playdate, a global online interfaith curriculum and resource site developed for adults working with children ages 5-11. Edwina studied philosophy and theology at Felician College in Chicago and her dream to create a platform with which to teach love and religious acceptance came when she became a mother of two sons. Feeling frustrated that the old school methods were failing to engage parents and children in important spiritual conversations, she set out to create a new model and with the collaboration of youth leaders, faith educators and clergy from around the globe, Spiritual Playdate was born. Crafted to serve parents, teachers and youth sponsors from every walk of life Spiritual Playdate creates a space for exploration and discovery of personal truth for young and old, alike. Edwina is a passionate advocate for early childhood interfaith education and believes that the clearest path to future peace in a divided world begins with our children. Edwina speaks and presents on the importance of teaching faith inclusion to parents, progressive houses of worship, private schools and interfaith organizations. www.spiritualplaydate.com
How to Turn Students into Activists
Sometime the kids in your youth group seem like the most self-centered and self-obsessed beings on the planet. Other times they are engaged and enraged by what’s going on in the world around them. Encouraging and resourcing their activist impulses is a priority for all progressive pastors and youth workers. Learn from a veteran pastor and activist how to do just that.
Anthony Smith is a pastor and activist in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he is one of the keynote speakers at #PYM17.
Leading Youth in Spiritual Disciplines
Kids these days. They’re always on their devices, right? The rich treasury of spirituality in the church offers all of us — including students — the chance to unplug and go deep. With all of the tumult around us, there’s never been a time in which it’s more important to teach the spiritual disciplines.
Lauren Winner teaches at Duke Divinity School, pastors an Episcopal parish, has written several best-selling books, and is a keynote speaker at #PYM17.
Cancer Is Funny – Youth Group Edition!
Everyone has cancer — or at least everyone is touched by cancer, and that includes every kid in your youth group. Jason Micheli is a pastor who has buried parents who’ve died of cancer and kids who’ve died of cancer. And here’s a twist: He has cancer! Learn from him some things you should say, some you should never say, and how you can keep your faith even though cancer is hell.
Jason Micheli is the author of Cancer is Funny: Keeping Faith in Stage-Serious Chemo and a pastor at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria Virginia, where he lives with his wife and two sons.
Arm-in-Arm with Adolescent Girls
Teenage girls have incredible gifts for the church. They also struggle with very real challenges in their lives both in and outside the church. In this seminar we will look together at some of these gifts and challenges, and learn a method for aligning ourselves as youth workers with these girls in the fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, sizeism, and other things that threaten to keep girls from living into the freedom they are promised in Christ. This method is based, somewhat surprisingly, on a liberative reading of Paul’s theology.
Emily Peck-McClain teaches preaching, Christian formation, and worship at Eastern Mennonite Seminary
Keeping Stained-Glass Language in Youth Ministry: Why your progressive youth ministry needs to dive deep into the theology of the church
Kenda Creasy Dean’s work in Almost Christian demonstrates that one of the practices that makes Mormons and conservative evangelicals effective at retaining their youth beyond graduation is intentional, in depth catechesis during their tween and teenage years. Watering down theology does nothing to help connect students to Jesus Christ while at the same time discouraging students from being strongly rooted in the local church. We should not respond to the rise of the “nones” by giving youth less and less to disbelieve. We should instead be more deliberate in forming them to think Christianly in a post-Christian world.
Public Speaking & Vulnerability
Effective communication, especially with youth, requires a high level of authenticity and vulnerability. When you lead your youth group through public speaking, you stand before them primarily with your words and the expectation is that you will bring a message from God. This workshop will explore the vulnerability dynamic of public speaking, and will provide practical tips and insights on questions such as: When is it appropriate to share personal stories and when is it not? How do you preach/teach/communicate in your own voice without making it all about you?
Todd Maberry is the Senior Director of Admissions, Recruitment, and Student Finance at Duke Divinity School where he walks with current and future church leaders as they discern their vocation, helps them determine if theological education at Duke Divinity is a part of their calling, and then works with them to figure out how to fund their education.