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
Learning Labs 1
INSPIRE FAITH BY YOUR EXAMPLE
One of the greatest gifts that we can offer students is an up-close look at our faith journey. As youth leaders, this means that we need to pay attention to our personal growth and tend to our spiritual health. In this seminar, we are going to point the spotlight internally on our own lives to see where we need to continue to grow. We will unpack some sustainable rhythms for nurturing our faith journey, and discuss the difference between being authentic and over sharing with students.
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!
I AM A DISCIPLE: 10 Ways to Build, Train, Evaluate, and Release Effective, Transformational Disciples of Jesus for Life.
If you find discipleship hard enough with all the other millions of things you do as a youth worker, then this learning lab is for you. This lab is designed to help youth workers build a holistic approach to discipleship and to discuss very practical ways to achieve transformational disciples of Jesus for life. This lab is meant to encourage you, challenge you, and inspire you as you invest in students.
THE SMALL GROUP
Small groups have such incredible potential in youth ministry. This is where relational youth work connects with discipleship and where we so often see the lights go on for kids. How do we create groups that give this goal the best opportunity to be realized? Jon will bring years of small group experience into a breakout where you get to ask for ideas, as well as hear creative solutions to the million things that can go wrong.
Description coming soon.
Andy Harringron & Laura Solberg
Learning Labs 2
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.
Description coming soon.
[Community Youth Workers]Presenter
Description comng soon.
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.
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 3
COMMUNICATING TRUTH LIKE IT MATTERS
We all know that part of effective discipleship is effective communication. We want our students to not simply hear truth but understand it, apply it, be inspired by it. We want truth to matter. But how do we communicate in such a way that actually makes a difference? In our seminar, we will look at 10 principles that can help us communicate truth more effectively, whether from the front of the room, in small groups, or 1 on 1.
WALKING DIFFICULT YOUTH TOWARDS JESUS
When outbursts, attitude and other obvious struggles are present in youth, those behaviours can dominate our focus with the youth. The relationship we build with them seems more like we are a behaviour manager or problem solver then a youth missionary. In this session we'll explore some practical tools to both recognize where the youth is at AND guide them towards the beautiful saving grace of Jesus Christ! We can do both and we can do both well! Let's learn, grow and troubleshoot this topic together!
[Community Youth Workers]Brandie Bradshaw
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
DISCOVERING NEW FORMS OF EVANGELISM
We live in a very different world than our grandparents. Somehow, Christianity is no longer at the center of society but has now moved to the fringe. As missionaries in this world, it’s our job to know the culture while maintaining strong ties to the kingdom. Let's look at re-envisioning our approach to student evangelism in a post-christian world and discover how this can look.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY DISCIPLESHIP IS EFFECTIVE?
What is discipleship? If you ask 10 people you might get 10 different answers. Since discipleship is hard to define if can be even more difficult to assess whether we are being effective in discipling young people. This seminar will help you to develop a definition and theology of discipleship while providing practical tools to better evaluate whether your discipleship is meeting the desired outcomes.
Description coming soon.