Electives

(Offered during three time slots;  90 minutes each; select one for each time slot)
Please see our schedule to get a sense for how each day flows.

ELECTIVE A: Thursday, April 30, 1:30–3:00 pm

Becoming Eli: Hearing and Nurturing the Prophetic Voices of Young People

Leadership: Kelsey Lambright

Description: In the flurry of youth activities on our calendars, in the pressure to keep churchgoers engaged, and in the day-to-day of our personal lives, we often fail to hear the voices of our young people. We sometimes even forget to notice the Holy Spirit working through them. What might happen if we make room to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking through the voices of youth? What if some of the young people in our midst have prophetic voices calling our communities to more faithful witness? In this session, we will explore the beauty and risk of listening to God speak through our youth, as well as workshop some ways to listen well to the Holy Spirit in our contexts. As the Lead Researcher for the Institute for Youth Ministry’s current grant on innovation, I will also share some of the findings from our project, which partnered with twelve churches from around the country to listen to and work alongside their youth toward developing a new way of doing ministry.

Cultivating Prophetic Empathy: Art, Vulnerability, and Caring

Leadership: Marcus Hong

Description: In the 1940s, when Howard Thurman called upon Corrinne Williams to lead the music ministry at the experimental intercultural Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, she responded, “At such a critical time in the world, no one, least of all the artist, can afford the luxury of the side lines.” It feels like our present is no less a critical time. In the face of a rising tide of fear, anxiety, and hatred, how might we cultivate prophetic empathy — the kind of caring that speaks the truth in love? In this hands-on elective, we will explore the intersections of our bodies and our emotions, vulnerability and community, and how art — visual, poetic, musical — might enable us to cultivate this empathy in ourselves and in the youth we walk beside.

Pressed But Not Crushed: The Gospel, Youth Culture, and Spaces To Breathe

Leadership: Aqueelah Ligonde

Description: Every day young people deal with the pressures of navigating a fast-paced, ever-changing world around them. They are constantly bombarded with opinions, views, expectations, and projections of who they should be and how they should act. The pressures are heavy for youth leaders as well. This generation requires more than playing fun games, movie nights, and summer camps. Youth leaders must consider counseling, Sabbath, and self-care as “new” practices of youth ministry. What if youth ministry was an intentional space where we could unload the weight of the world? What if we could offer space to breathe-physically, emotionally, and spiritually? What if youth ministry reclaimed its rightful place as a space of renewal, hope, and life-giving connection (through God!) between all generations? In this elective we will explore research from the Institute for Youth Ministry’s current grant on innovation, looking for how to respond to these challenges we face, together.

ELECTIVE B: friday, may 1, 11:30–1:00 PM

Becoming Eli: Hearing and Nurturing the Prophetic Voices of Young People

Leadership: Kelsey Lambright

Description: In the flurry of youth activities on our calendars, in the pressure to keep churchgoers engaged, and in the day-to-day of our personal lives, we often fail to hear the voices of our young people. We sometimes even forget to notice the Holy Spirit working through them. What might happen if we make room to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking through the voices of youth? What if some of the young people in our midst have prophetic voices calling our communities to more faithful witness? In this session, we will explore the beauty and risk of listening to God speak through our youth, as well as workshop some ways to listen well to the Holy Spirit in our contexts. As the lead researcher for the Institute for Youth Ministry’s current grant on innovation, I will also share some of the findings from our project, which partnered with 12 churches from around the country to listen to and work alongside their youth toward developing a new way of doing ministry.

The Still, Small Voice: A Spirituality of Innovation

Leadership: Marcus Hong 

Description: If young and old are to dream dreams and see visions, they must make ready the soil of their hearts to receive what God has prepared. In this experiential elective, we will explore several spiritual practices that enable youth workers and their young people to till their spirits so that God might take root.

Discipleship by Design

Leadership: Seth Vopat

Description: So often discipleship praxis in our churches centers around a one hour gathering either on Sunday morning and/or some evening during the week. It includes an ice breaker, a game, prayer, and a conversation with a passage of scripture. What if there is another way to look at the long arc of discipleship with young people in our churches? When Jesus invited people into (and taught) discipleship, seldom was it centered in the Temple or the local synagogue. Rather it was rooted in the everyday lives of the people he encountered. In this elective we will explore research from the Institute for Youth Ministry’s current grant on innovation, and explore how design theory can offer us a different vision—maybe even transform the way we see discipleship with young people in our churches.

ELECTIVE C: friday, may 1, 2:30–4:00 PM

Discipleship by Design

Leadership: Seth Vopat

Description: So often discipleship praxis in our churches centers around a one hour gathering either on Sunday morning and/or some evening during the week. It includes an ice breaker, a game, prayer, and a conversation with a passage of scripture. What if there is another way to look at the long arc of discipleship with young people in our churches? When Jesus invited people into (and taught) discipleship, seldom was it centered in the temple or the local synagogue. Rather it was rooted in the everyday lives of the people he encountered. In this elective we will explore research from the Institute for Youth Ministry’s current grant on innovation, and explore how design theory can offer us a different vision—maybe even transform the way we see discipleship with young people in our churches.

The Still, Small Voice: A Spirituality of Innovation

Leadership: Marcus Hong 

Description: If young and old are to dream dreams and see visions, they must make ready the soil of their hearts to receive what God has prepared. In this experiential elective, we will explore several spiritual practices that enable youth workers and their young people to till their spirits so that God might take root.

Pressed But Not Crushed: The Gospel, Youth Culture, and Spaces To Breathe

Leadership: Aqueelah Ligonde

Description: Every day young people deal with the pressures of navigating a fast-paced, ever-changing world around them. They are constantly bombarded with opinions, views, expectations, and projections of who they should be and how they should act. The pressures are heavy for youth leaders as well. This generation requires more than playing fun games, movie nights, and summer camps. Youth leaders must consider counseling, Sabbath, and self-care as “new” practices of youth ministry. What if youth ministry was an intentional space where we could unload the weight of the world? What if we could offer space to breathe-physically, emotionally, and spiritually? What if youth ministry reclaimed its rightful place as a space of renewal, hope, and life-giving connection (through God!) between all generations? In this elective we will explore research from the Institute for Youth Ministry’s current grant on innovation, looking for how to respond to these challenges we face, together.

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