From a beautiful rendition of “Reckless Love” by worship leader Caitlyn Deviney to an energetic session on mental health by Licensed Clinical Social Worker LaVante’ Dorsey, this year’s Youth Ministry Summit on February 8 was a hit among teens and adults alike. About 50 participants from local churches joined at Aldersgate UMC for a day of learning, inspiration and community through workshops and learning tracks for Youth Ministry, Children’s Ministry, Young Adult Ministry and Camping and Retreat Ministry.
To act as an ice breaker for the event, the team led a cup game known as “up-cups.” One team’s objective was to turn all the cups face up. The other team’s goal was to turn the cups downward facing.
Youth leaders and volunteers were then treated to engaging workshop presentations and a dynamic plenary speaker, Mike Park. The theme, “Growing Young” helped leaders and churches of all sizes engage the next generation of disciples and “grow young.”
“Youth leaders were challenged to reimagine their tasks when it comes to youth ministry,” said Youth Program Coordinator Kerwin Webb, who also led the workshop, “Start a Youth Group.”
It’s not a matter of new programs or a rock star youth pastor, but really it’s about the culture of the church. We must recognize the importance of the work and create spaces for youth and young people to learn, grow and develop in their knowledge of God and their own faith.”
He added, “Practical, specific workshops followed, allowing participants to focus their learnings around what is best for their church and community.”
From “Planning Sunday School for Less than 15 Kids” and “Wrestling with Rest” to “Get Great Children’s Ministry Volunteers” and “Children’s Spirituality Through Wonder,” guests were treated to some valuable advice from professionals who are committed to helping youth connect to God.
Prior to joining Hope West Side, a new church plant on the Upper West Side in New York City, Park led student ministries for 12 years in California and New York in various cultural, ethnic and socio-economic contexts. He is also a coach and speaker for the Fuller Youth Institute and a student ministry advisor with Slingshot Group.
For more information on all the programs Next Generation Ministries offers, visit gnjnextgen.org/.