Critical Concerns Morning
Fri 9:00 - 10:15 am
A THEOLOGY OF DISCIPLE-MAKING
"Go and make disciples" were some of the last words that came out of Jesus’ mouth before he ascended to return to his Father. For almost 2000 years that mandate has shaped the mission of the church. For those of us who work with next generations the importance of understanding the meaning of those words could not be greater. In a culture where theological divisiveness, spiritual lethargy, moral compromise and “rich young ruler” values are attempting to undermine our faith communities our faith communities we need clarity on what the Scripture calls us to as contemporary disciple-makers. This opening session will lay a foundation drawn directly from the Scripture to remind us of what it is we are called to be – and out of that, what it is we are called to do.
Critical Concerns Mini Sessions
Fri 10:30 - 12:00 pm
What are Mini Sessions?
WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?
I discovered a handy trick to not need much faith in my ministry: make my problems smaller. I find youth ministry pretty manageable on my own if I don't shoot for viral discipleship. But when the high school down the street starts to grip my heart, when my own students feel too alone or apathetic to reach it, when the problems become unmanageable by my talent or resources, what then? So often I find a smaller, more realistic problem to distract myself with. I believe the Holy Spirit is calling the church to have bigger problems again. Let's talk about what those might be and what it's going to take to tackle them.
BE GOOD...LOOK GOOD...ALL GOOD?
We all know stories about the Christian leader who didn't stand against temptation and took a whole lot of disillusioned young people down with him. Not wanting to "be that guy" can be quite motivating as we strive toward leading well; but is it possible that behaving well for the sake of the ministry or even for the sake of the kids is actually far less than what God has in mind for us? Maybe there's something better than finding and applying strategies for sin avoidance as we seek to live holy lives together.
BIBLICAL YOUTH DISCIPLESHIP
How do we envision the word of God as central to our discipleship of today’s youth?
Is your youth ministry “Topical” or “Scripture based”? The answer to this question is so often thought of as an option, a badge, or even a tension for the youth worker today. How do we relate to kids if we just give them Bible verses, but how do we not use the Bible if we are serious about them knowing Jesus? In this talk, Jon will look at the role of scripture in today’s youth discipleship and how we can create the conversation and imagination around answering this differently than ever before.
Critical Concerns Afternoon
Fri 1:00 – 4:00 pm
CANADIAN DISCIPLESHIP RESEARCH: Results & Interactive ResponseMarv Penner
PART 1: DECONSTRUCTING AN ADOLESCENT DISCIPLE: How They Got There and How They Grow There
The greatest joy in the life of a youth worker is to see a young person who takes their spiritual journey seriously. These young disciples truly are an example to the church (I Timothy 4:12) in their passionate pursuit of spiritual maturity. This session will uncover the results of a Canadian research project that allowed exemplary young disciples to share their faith stories, their spiritual practices, and their lifestyle priorities. Their insights will give us a framework for rethinking the way we do youth ministry if disciple-making is our goal.
PART 2: DOING DISCIPLESHIP RIGHT: Best Practices From Across the Nation
The worst idea in youth ministry is to replicate the program of the church across the street, or across the country. The best idea is to learn all we can from programs that are achieving significant discipleship outcomes. Through a nationwide research project we have identified structures and strategies that are being used to help students love Jesus more in a wide range of ministry contexts & community settings. You probably can't do a countrywide trip to learn about all the good things that are happening in Canadian youth ministries – this will be the next best thing!
PART 3: DIGGING DEEPER - Contemporary Issues in Disciple Making
This closing session will give participants an opportunity to wrestle with some of the tough realities we face as disciple makers in the 21st century. Discussion groups will be formed around various themes that impact discipleship in our ministries. Hear the insights of others and contribute your voice as you deal with questions like…
- Is it discipleship if they are not Christians yet? Or is that evangelism? Or are they the same thing? Does it matter?
- How can I avoid being cast as a spiritual “subcontractor” by parents who are not investing spiritually in their own sons and daughters?
- How do we engage students in the life of "big church" when it feels so disconnected from their reality?
- If volunteers are living lives of spiritual compromise can effective discipleship occur?
- How can local churches, camps and community youth ministries work more closely together to help new young disciples engage with the larger faith community?
……and other important questions you will bring to the table.
Saturday AM Main SessionJason Ballard
Sat 10:45 - 11:45 am
HOW TO LEAD GREAT DISCUSSIONS WITH STUDENTS
As someone who invests in students, you lead conversations and discussions with them all the time. Sometimes in small groups. Sometimes one on one. Sometimes you know exactly what to say. Most times you don’t. Sometimes the conversation just works. Sometimes it completely bombs. But what if you knew when to speak, when to listen, how to make them talk, and how to make them stop? What if you could lead conversations that mattered–every time? Come discover practical tools that will help move your conversations from awkward to awesome.
WHEN YOUR HELPING HURTS YOUR KIDS: Knowing when to step in and when to step back
Great youth workers help kids navigate life. But is it possible that sometimes our helpfulness gets in the way of the invitations God has for them to mature through difficulties and to rely on him. Each situation for each young person deserves a decision about how to help best. We'll take a look at how to know when it's time to step in to a young person's dillema with them and when it's time to step back, and how to do that while still maintaining relationships.
[Community Youth Workers]
THANK HEAVEN FOR 10 OR 11: MAKING YOUR SMALL YOUTH GROUP A GREAT YOUTH GROUP
Don’t you just hate it when the instructions say “divide your group into teams of twelve.....” You’ve only got seven students in the whole bunch! It’s time to stop being intimidated by this fascination everyone seems to have with big, huge, colossal and immense. This seminar is a celebration of the small youth group. It will help you find ways to take advantage of your compact group and accomplish things in kid’s lives that could simply never happen with larger numbers. Hey, we understand that you’re doing all you can, that you can’t bring in David Crowder for the weekend and that your church doesn’t have a recreation centre with hot tubs and tennis courts..... but we know you love your kids and this seminar will give you practical tips on teaching, building community, worship, service and other activities that the big groups wish they could do – if only they had a few less kids!
PROGRAMMING STUCK IN A RUT
When it comes to camp ministry, some people say things like, “we focus on discipleship, not program”. The reality is, you can’t focus on discipleship without program. Programs facilitate discipleship. The question is, are we doing good programming or poor programming? The answer to that question has direct implications on whether we are doing good discipleship or poor discipleship. So what are key elements of good programming…that enable good discipleship?
YOUNG ADULTS: BEING WITH THEM AND FOR THEM - 5 Ways to Seek the Kingdom With 18-25 Year Olds
Walking with young adults is different than walking with teenagers. When we dig into the unique journey that current young adults are on, we realize that calling them to seek the Kingdom is different then it was 10 years ago. This session will focus on five key ways that have been found to help this age group grow in affection for and commitment to Jesus. Join us for a conversation about helping our 18-25 year old brothers and sisters keep their eyes on Jesus.
Learning Labs 2
1:00 - 2:00 pm
HOW TO BE A YOUTH LEADER FOR THE LONG HAUL
Effective youth ministry happens best a few years down the road. Our discipleship journey with students is best realized through trust and relationship, and therefore the desire of every youth pastor is to have leaders lock in for the long haul. In this seminar, you will be given tools for yourself, to apply to your own life and ministry and be inspired to invest in deeper and more life-long discipleship in youth ministry.
In this session we will discuss the incredible opportunities and advantages we have in rural Maritimes to connect with, and reach, unchurched and disadvantaged youth. Come hear about several success stories that are currently happening, and be part of a discussion on practical ideas on how to see community transformation right where you are.
[Community Youth Workers]David Sawler
About a year ago I started an note on my phone titled, ‘Great Leaders...’
Every time I saw great leadership in someone I noted it. I’m going to pick 10 of these notes for us to talk about and apply to our youth ministry contexts. At the heart of this conversation is Jesus. His example and His Spirit’s work in our lives, present an amazing invitation for each of us to become better and better leaders who serve others with sacrificial love.
[Veterans, Camp]Jason Ballard
10 CREATIVE WAYS YOU & YOUR TEAM CAN COMMUNICATE, LOVE & GROW
This will expose one of the #1 reasons teens aren’t seeing God’s love in your youth group. Is your youth group or team or church loving? Almost every group likes to describe themselves as friendly or loving, but we know many churches are not. I’m sure you’re doing a lot of things right, but this seminar is sure to challenge you with more ways to love both your team and guests that you are currently forgetting.
HOW UNITY BETWEEN MINISTRIES BENEFITS YOUR STUDENTS
Being unified with other ministries is a nice idea, but how does it aid in the actual discipleship of our own students? In this session we’ll address some of the misconceptions surrounding what unity truly is and how relationship with other ministers can greatly impact your local expression. Additionally we’ll be looking at some examples of God moving powerfully through initiatives across the country who’s primary distinctive's are communication between individual ministries.
Learning Labs 2
2:15 - 3:15 pm
LEAD SMALL: FIVE BIG IDEAS EVERY SMALL GROUP LEADER NEEDS TO KNOW
If you're a small group leader, you believe in the power of community. But what exactly do you do? What exactly is your job? It's possible that you may feel like your role falls somewhere between a parent and a friend, a coach and a teacher. Lead Small clarifies your responsibility as a small group leader by establishing five common actions of successful group leaders. Do something small for a big impact.
HOW HAS GOD BEEN SPEAKING TO YOU LATELY?
We cannot lead someone to a place we have not been. Building relationships starts with us and where we are. Am I sensitive to God and listening for His voice? As our relationships grows in tune with Jesus the natural outflow is that our other relationships will point to Christ. Let’s talk this through together.
[Community Youth Workers]Byron Toth
We know that Relationship and Discipleship belong together. Youth work is full of amazing opportunities to focus in on the relationship half but how do we intentionally create disciple opportunities in that context? In this breakout, we will look at how mentoring, teaching and prayer can thrive in those one on one and community experiences that take young people deeper into their relationship with Christ, understanding the gospel and their role in sharing it with their friends and community.
BUILDING EFFECTIVE, HEALTHY TEAMS
We all know summer can be hard on our staff. The hours are long, the sleep is short, and the issues are complex. How do help our staff stay focused, and healthy…or better yet, how do we help them grow, as individuals and as a team? In this seminar we will look at 6 elements that are essential for building long term effective camp teams.
THEOLOGICALLY SOUND YOUTH MINISTRY
In recent years there has been a push to get past the gimmicks and games that sometimes characterize youth ministry, and a desire to make sure that all we do with youth is on solid theological footing. This session will help you evaluate your youth ministry, and will send you home with some material for strengthening three key areas of your ministry to youth.