Extended Seminars

Extended seminars are three-day courses, 75 minutes each day. Participants should select one extended seminar.

 

Searching for Issachar:  How Missional Entrepreneurship Can Turn Hair-Brained Ideas into Sustainable Ministry – Mark DeVries and Kenda Creasy Dean 

Young adults bent on committing themselves to "something that matters" are more apt to turn to TOMS Shoes than the church.  Millenials' entrepreneurial spirit is widely touted, but the world's first missional entrepreneurs may have been the early Christians, whose innovations contributed to the common good.  As contemporary churches wrestle with rapid cultural changes that have influenced institutional giving patterns, we are radically re-imagining how youth ministries--and Christian ministry in general--are to be funded.  Is it possible for next-generation leaders to follow in the footsteps of Issachar, who "knew the times and understood what should be done" (1 Chronicles 12:32)?  Can congregations learn to faithfully "hack the giant hairball," borrowing business principles for mission, without losing our souls…or our shirts? 

 

“I won’t let you choke; on that noose around your neck”: Mumford, SBNR, and Grace-Bearing Institutions – Jason Byassee

This course will start with the band Mumford & Sons and the way they are speaking successfully to this generation of young people. Marcus Mumford comes from charismatic Christians in Britain, yet is suspicious of religious institutions – a phenomenon about which Lillian Daniel has  written. But, what if institutions can be grace-bearing? What if they bear goods in the world that enable youth ministry rather than inhibit it? We will draw on Christian Scripture and tradition to make that argument and speak to practical issues around navigating ministry in our fragmented churches today.

 

Do You Hear What I Hear? Testimony Which Can Be Heard – Christian Andrews

The world needs Christians who can speak with integrity and clarity about what God has done in Christ, but recognize that religious jargon does not work. When we rely on insider language, young people who are increasingly unfamiliar with the Christian story simply cannot hear what we say. Yet the Scriptures contain untapped resources for testimony. This exploration of poetic and metaphorical images of redemption will provide the material for a more faithful and effective approach to speaking about God. Seminar participants will practice talking about their own experiences of God’s deliverance in order to be better equipped as witnesses to God’s redemption, speaking about what they have heard in a way that can be heard.

 

Tell the Story! – Reginald Blount

Romans 10:14 (MSG) states “How can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them?” How do we tell the life-giving Gospel Story to young people in a way that is compelling and captures their imagination and trust? This seminar will explore ways adult youth leaders and the church can be a transformative witness of the good news to a new generation.

 

Speechless: How Testimonies Shape and Inform a Teenager's Faith – Amanda Drury

There’s an old Franciscan saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” As Christians, we tend to like this saying because it keeps us actively engaged in the world. We get to physically, tangibly show people our love of God. We also like this saying because it lets us off the hook. It leaves us with the impression, “If I just act like a person of faith, then I don’t have to actually talk about my faith.”

I hate to say it, but words are necessary. Various studies across the United States show that teenagers (and adults) are less and less articulate about their faith, despite being active participants in local churches. When someone has a hard time talking about something, that person often has a hard time believing that thing is true. If we can't talk about our faith, we will have a hard time taking our faith seriously. When we talk about our faith, we become more faithful people.