Lectures & Special Guests

(Offered during four time slots; 60 minutes each; all participate)

Please see our schedule to get a sense for how each day flows, and don’t forget to reach out to our leaders individually if you want some one-on-one time to discuss your ministry and/or its areas of expertise!


Movement to Movements: Young, Active, and Faithful
Leadership:  Dr. Almeda Wright

Description: Movement, particularly increased movement, has been a hallmark of adolescence—this includes more autonomy to go on one’s own, to walk home with friends, to drive, to relying less on one’s parents/guardians. In this lecture, we explore the connections between this increased movement in adolescence, alongside the connections of movement (and embodiment) to movements for social change and justice.

We look both at the significance of moving for these movements, such as why marches, die-ins, walk-outs, etc. are important embodied practices of social change movements and how adolescents have led the charge in recent (and not so recent) movements. We also look at how young people are embodying their faith and justice commitments in these movements.

Location: Stuart Hall, Room 6


“No Leaders Here”:  The Justice Movements of Ordinary, Everyday Leaders
Leadership:  Dr. Almeda Wright

Description: The second lecture continues exploring embodied faith in the interconnections of faith, movement and social change movements. Looking at 20th century social change movements, we explore under-acknowledged exemplars of faith and social change: community leaders and teachers. In particular, this lecture makes connections between the type of leadership development that was essential to the Citizenship Education program of the Civil Rights movement and the work of empowering youth and young adults to faithfully respond to the calls to work for change. Figures like Septima Clark initially seem to be an unlikely inspiration for youth workers; however, she like many other 20th century African American women teachers, embodied an unwavering faith in God, in their cause, and in themselves that pushed them to continue working for justice in spite of efforts to thwart them.

Location: Stuart Hall, Room 6


Who Has Time for Joy?
Leadership:  Rev. Mike Mather

Description: In 1991, I was running summer programs and after school programs at our predominantly white, mainline church situated in an urban neighborhood of color.  In the last nine months of that year, I did nine funerals for young men under the age of 25. These young men had lived in the four block radius around our church. Those funerals re-wrote the script of my ministry, and re-framed the questions I was asking. The title for this lecture comes from a Danez Smith poem that asks: Do we (really) have time for joy? I think we do. But ministry reminds us that it’s hard to do the work we are called to unless we are facing honestly what is before us – the injustice, the bodies, and the mission of the church. Who has time for joy? It’s the right question.

Location: Stuart Hall, Room 6

LECTURE 4: Friday, April 26, 8:45 AM

What if the mightiest word is love?
Leadership:  Rev. Mike Mather

Description: A South African friend told me they had a church-joke in the 1980s. He said, “There are two possible solutions to our crisis here. One is realistic, and one is miraculous. One solution is that God will come down and sort us all out. That’s the realistic solution. The miraculous solution is that we will sit down and talk with our enemies.” Sitting down and talking with our enemies is an act of living as if the Gospel is true. This is also why we once told our Associate Pastor for Children, Youth, and Families, “If you start a youth group you’re fired.” If the mightiest word is love, it would cause us to re-think and re-structure what we do and how we do it. It would change the way we live, move, and breathe. It would change the way we do youth ministry.

Location: Stuart Hall, Room 6

Special Guest Performance: Thursday, April 25, 8:45PM

“This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song”
: Audrey Assad

Description: What does it mean to wrestle with changing faith? How do we reckon faithfully with doubt, trauma, and the joys and sorrows of the world? Join us in a conversation and performance with singer/songwriter Audrey Assad, facilitated by author and Princeton Theological Seminary student, Jeff Chu. This portion of the Forum on Youth Ministry is sponsored by an on-campus collaboration between the Princeton Seminary Student Government Association, the Center for Theology, Women, and Gender, and the Institute for Youth Ministry.

Location:  Miller Chapel