EATONTOWN – Youth leaders, young adults, youth groups and those invested in the Next Generation of GNJ are invited to learn how to create space in churches and gatherings for students to lead. On Feb. 10, Monmouth Grace UMC will host Unleash, the 2nd annual IGNITE Leaders Day.
Exploring what 21st century leadership looks like, the day-long event will feature a wide-range of presenters, speakers, and workshops.
Eric Drew, Director of Worship and IGNITE Team Leader will be leading a workshop called “Worship with Next Gen Disciples.”
“Research has shown that half of young people have written and recorded their own song,” said Drew. “Next generations of disciples are incredibly creative. However, engaging them in worship services and worship planning in our churches has been a challenge.”
The workshop will explore how to engage next generation disciples to add energy and freshness to worship.
Erik “Skitch” Matson, Discipleship Pastor at Princeton UMC and Wesley Foundation Director at Princeton University will lead a youth track session on God’s calling.
“If you are a young person in our society, there’s a lot of people calling you to be a lot of different things; telling you what you should do,” said Matson. “Parents, teachers, coaches, friends, and pastors want you to be someone. But who is God calling you to be?”
The two-part track seminar will explore that question by searching scriptures and asking questions about how to view societal expectations.
Matson continued, “We’ll learn to discuss God’s calling in our lives and begin looking for ways to live out that calling at home, our churches, and our communities.”
As an advocate for people with disabilities, Erin Raffety will lead a session entitled: From Inclusion to Discipleship. Raffety, a lecturer in Youth, Church, and Culture at the Department of Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, serves as the Associate Pastor for Outreach and Education at Grace Presbyterian Church in Kendall Park.
“So often approaches to ministry for people and youth with disabilities focus on the importance of inclusion without recognizing the many gifts for ministry and promise of discipleship they already bring to those around them,” said Raffety. “How do we grapple with the very real, practical, structural and systemic barriers to inclusion for youth with disabilities? How do we move beyond the limits that approaches like inclusion place on youth with disabilities’ opportunities to lead, contribute, and grow in the church?”
Raffety seeks to review practical approaches to ministry for youth with disabilities, explore case studies and real life challenges, and equip participants with pursuing models and strategies for empowering youth with disabilities toward leadership and discipleship.
In addition to Raffety, Justin Forbes will debut as the event’s keynote. Having spent 12 years working for the Young Life organization, and serving locally in his church, Forbes brings a broad base of experience across different types of youth ministry to include urban, multicultural, suburban, special needs, and college ministries. He serves as the director of the youth ministry program at Flagler College and is a University of Aberdeen PhD candidate. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary, Forbes co-founded Kindred Youth Ministry, a youth ministry resource organization.
Kermit Moss, Senior Pastor of Manhattan Bible Church will be leading a session on Christ Formation and City Youth. Moss, Interim Director for the Center for Black Church Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, has included Hip Hop, theology, and urban youth in his research.
“Youth living in urban centers encounter a variety of experiences, both positive and negative, which shape how they make meaning of their reality, view themselves and conceive God,” said Moss. His seminar examines the continued process by which being conformed to the image of Jesus, transformed by the Holy Spirit, and bearing witness to God’s grace by living out the gospel in the world. Attention will be paid to theological, spiritual, moral, and identity formation as related to urban youth.
A veteran youth worker and Associate Pastor of First UMC of Toms River, Wesley Ellis joins the event to share his experience and wisdom. Having written and presented on topics of adolescence, joy, friendship, and thinking theologically about youth ministry, Ellis writes for the Institute for Youth Ministry and Princeton Theological Seminary and for Kindred Youth Ministry.
The event will be held Feb. 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Monmouth Grace UMC in Eatontown for a cost of $5 for students and $15 for adults. Visit www.ignitenj.org to register before Feb 1. An entry fee of $30 will be offered the day of.