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Sessions

New at SYLC this year, among the 20+ breakouts to choose from, we are introducing four mega-breakouts following our first main session!

Deep Discipleship: A 5 Step Process For Discipleship (Mega-Session)

Doug Franklin, Leader Treks

Join Doug as he takes an intentional look at the “why” and the “how” behind discipleship. Learn practical tips and tricks for building meaningful relationships, sharing personal stories, asking intentional questions, helping students make life applications, and holding students accountable. Even if you’ve never been discipled yourself, you’ll learn guiding principles that can be applied to your own discipleship relationships or taught to other volunteers on your team.

The Importance and Impact of Social Media (Mega-Session)

Chris Martin, Moody Publishers
Is social media really that big of a deal? How do we lead students when they spend more time on social media than they do doing anything else? Let’s talk about the impact of social media and how to minister amid its many effects on our lives and the lives of our students.

Girls Ministry Essentials (Mega-Session)

Amy-Jo Girardier, Brentwood Baptist Church
While the great philosopher Cyndi Lauper made a compelling argument in her time, it’s become apparent that girls may just want to have fun, but they NEED a whole lot more for their emotional, physical, and spiritual growth. We’ll take a look at some of the essentials of ministering to girls and delve into three specific areas girls truly NEED.

Lost Boys? Becoming a Youth Ministry that Helps Guys Thrive. (Mega-Session)

Andy Blanks, YM360
Look around you. Studies show that young men are falling behind in dozens of cultural metrics. Worse, they’re falling behind in their faith. But this doesn’t have to be the case. This interactive workshop will help equip and empower you to build a youth ministry where your teenage guys aren’t left behind.

Discipleship Sessions

Girls Ministry Essentials (Mega-Session)

Amy-Jo Girardier, Brentwood Baptist Church
While the great philosopher Cyndi Lauper made a compelling argument in her time, it’s become apparent that girls may just want to have fun, but they NEED a whole lot more for their emotional, physical, and spiritual growth. We’ll take a look at some of the essentials of ministering to girls and delve into three specific areas girls truly NEED.

Deep Discipleship: A 5 Step Process For Discipleship (Mega-Session)

Doug Franklin, Leader Treks

Join Doug as he takes an intentional look at the “why” and the “how” behind discipleship. Learn practical tips and tricks for building meaningful relationships, sharing personal stories, asking intentional questions, helping students make life applications, and holding students accountable. Even if you’ve never been discipled yourself, you’ll learn guiding principles that can be applied to your own discipleship relationships or taught to other volunteers on your team.

How to help your students fall in love with Jesus

Robert Row, seeJesus
Answering this question is vital to our calling to make disciples who make disciples. For years as a Youth Pastor, I sought to achieve this goal through a myriad of techniques, topics, and studies, all worthwhile endeavors. But six years ago, I realized I had missed the core of our faith, the Person of Jesus. In this session, I want to introduce you to what we mean by seeing Jesus and how that can transform not only you but your students, and your entire ministry. Spending time getting to know Jesus as a Person makes faith sticky. Imagine what the Church of Jesus Christ would be like 5-10 years from now if it was filled with your former students who are in love with Jesus for who he is and not simply for what he has done.

Middle Schoolers!

Chris Trent, Georgia Baptist Mission Board
Middle schoolers! You’ve got to love their energy! Or do you? Let’s talk about how to leverage the middle school students in your youth group to create a GREAT youth ministry culture now and in the future. We’ll discuss middle school ministry in all different youth group size contexts and how to impact them as they’re making some of the biggest decisions of their lives.

Girl Talk, a Panel

Camille Ward (Signal Presbyterian), Courtney Caroland (Elbow Tree Counseling), Ruth Dammann (Mile Straight Baptist), Ciara Frakes (Ridgedale Baptist), Mary Elizabeth Burton (One Hundred Years)
In this session, we’ll tackle what every youth leader needs to know about caring for teen girls in today’s cultural climate. We’ll discuss issues such as identity, relationship, mental health and wellness. Bring your questions and concerns to our panel discussion and we’ll work together to encourage and equip one another for the ministry God has called us to. A list of resources related to the topics we discuss will be offered to you. Our panel of youth leaders have all been serving students in various capacities from full time ministry to long time volunteer roles to professional counselors.

7 Best Practices for Teaching Teenagers the Bible

Jake Rasmussen, YM360
Leading students closer to God is what being a youth worker is all about. What’s the most effective way to do this? By teaching students the Bible! The Bible is God’s main way of making Himself and His ways known and your students need sound Bible teaching now more than ever.

The 7 Best Practices For Teaching Teenagers the Bible offers you seven ultra-practical and deeply meaningful “practices” you can use to help teach the Bible in a transformative and dynamic way.

Practical Sessions

Lost Boys? Becoming a Youth Ministry that Helps Guys Thrive. (Mega-Session)

Andy Blanks, YM360
Look around you. Studies show that young men are falling behind in dozens of cultural metrics. Worse, they’re falling behind in their faith. But this doesn’t have to be the case. This interactive workshop will help equip and empower you to build a youth ministry where your teenage guys aren’t left behind.

Reaching a Generation

Hung Thach, Cru High School Los Angeles
The pandemic accelerated the reality that reaching young people will need to go beyond the four walls of a church. With the disruption of youth engagement in the church and coupled with over a million young people leaving the church every year (Pinetops Foundation research) we must urgently and radically change how and where we do ministry. Instead of just a come and see model of ministry we must go and be His love and witness to youth wherever they are.

In this session we will discuss practical principles and strategies that engage teenagers with the Gospel message and look at ways we can reimagine how we connect students to Jesus.

Tough Kids 101

Liz Edrington, Northshore Fellowship
Have you ever had “that kid” who you just can’t seem to get through to, who you just don’t understand? What do we do with those kids who constantly disrupt youth group by making themselves the center of attention or kids who never seem to “make the right choice”? In this workshop, we’ll consider some of the potential underlying factors of our tough kids in youth ministry and explore some of the potential options for loving and serving these kids (and their families) well.

Developing Students as Leaders

Doug Franklin, Leader Treks
The Leadership Pathway is a tool designed to help you answer the question, “How do I develop leaders in my ministry?” Join Doug Franklin from LeaderTreks as he teaches through this simple, practical, and straightforward approach to leadership development that can help you train and equip student leaders, moving them from participant to leader. You’ll learn five steps that include: Invite, Discover, Equip, Risk, and Sharpen.

Busy Isn’t Working: How To Help Students In A Hustle Culture

Zac Workun, Lifeway Students
The spiritual rhythm required to rest, serve, teach and lead a tired, anxious and apathetic generation. A necessary conversation for the exhausted youth minister, over-scheduled small group leader and overextended volunteer.

Connecting the Generations

Tony Souder, One Hundred Years
Every generation needs every generation. God has designed his family, the church, to experience the generational benefits of being in vital relationship with each other. Research over the last 20 years reveals that intergenerational relationships are a foundational factor in helping young people flourish in both faith and life. With this in mind: How is your church doing in creating life-giving intergenerational relationships? Is every young person in your ministry experiencing the goodness of these relationships? Considering the importance of these relationships for each emerging generation, how can we make this a non-negotiable part of our ministries? This session will explore how churches and families can be intentional in helping young people have the Christ-centered adult relationships they need to flourish in faith and life for a lifetime.

Faith-ing Outside the Lines

JaMichael Jordan, Mt. Canaan Baptist Church
Have you ever had the desire to do urban ministry, but unsure how or where to start? Ministering and serving effectively in environments that are unfamiliar can be a challenge. However, it is possible. When Jesus gave the disciples the great commission to spread the gospel to all the nations it was his intent for each disciple to leave their comfort zone and cross barriers for the sake of spreading the gospel. In this session, you will learn valuable information as well as practical skills and strategies that will help you and your church effectively minister in the urban community.

Next Level Student Leadership: Empowering Youth IN Ministry

Dave Coryell, Christian Endeavor
Approaches to student leadership that are common practice, and may be in use in your youth group, are good but incomplete. This workshop highlights shortfalls of these modern approaches and provides a path for empowering youth and your entire ministry to find the “Next Level!”

Cultural Sessions

The Importance and Impact of Social Media (Mega-Session)

Chris Martin, Moody Publishers
Is social media really that big of a deal? How do we lead students when they spend more time on social media than they do doing anything else? Let’s talk about the impact of social media and how to minister amid its many effects on our lives and the lives of our students.

Sex, Sin and a Youth Worker’s Role

Ryan Dunlap, Conflictish
Sex and sexuality have become a defining issue for this generation of youth. While youth ministry leaders serve an important role in shaping and imparting biblical truth to youth through these coming of age conversations, many are holding their collective breath – and tongue. In this session, we will help you find your voice and discover some practical ways to talk about and respond to conversations ranging from sexual intimacy to sexual abuse.

Fear, Worry & Anxiety

Courtney Caroland, Elbow Tree
What do I do when one of my students is struggling with Anxiety? How should I respond? According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 in 3 teenagers from 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder. It is certainly on the rise, especially in a post-pandemic world. It’s not a matter of if you have a student with anxiety, but when you have a student with anxiety, how will you respond? You and the leaders in your ministry need practical tools, rooted in scripture, to help come alongside students and their families who are dealing with anxiety. This workshop will aim to give you an understanding of what anxiety is and will equip you with practical tools and resources for the mind, body, and heart to help those who are struggling with anxiety.

Creating a Sense of Belonging to Improve our Student’s Mental Health

Reggie Madison, First Things First
Isolation. Screens. Depression. Virtual Youth Groups. Online school. Shortened or eliminated sports seasons. With all the changes in students’ lives, the need for belonging remains. The return to the norm has not been a return to the norm for many of our students. They are suffering from loneliness and relationship dehydration like never before. This workshop will discuss how youth leaders can help families create a sense of belonging for their young people. We’ll also discuss ways to recognize signs of isolation and separation while providing strategies to help both their church and family support their students’ mental health.

Dealing with Life’s Greatest Difficulties and Focusing on Making Much of Jesus

Jay Barbier, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
We will learn how to make it through life’s toughest situations and talk through ways to minister to others as they endure hard times. Join Jay as we journey through his story and how Jesus helps you cope and gives you purpose in life’s storms.

Multi-Ethnic Church Partnerships

Dr Ternae Jordan, Sr (Mt Canaan Baptist), JaMichael Jordan (Mt Canaan Baptist), Dr Doug Plumlee (Ridgedale Baptist), Chris Frakes (Ridgedale Baptist), Billy Christol (Burning Bush Baptist)
Proximity breeds empathy and nothing creates that proximity quite like two churches of different ethnic backgrounds coming together for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In this breakout, hear from pastors who have joined together in the wake of the racial turmoil of 2020 to create Gospel-centered partnership between their churches in order to display the beauty of the Church. As Revelation 7 says, one day we will all gather around the throne of God to worship with one heart and many different cultures. Our prayer is that this discussion stirs your heart to consider how you might start that worship service now in your community.

Youth Leader Sessions

What’s the Plan?

Justin Wilson, Woodland Park Baptist
Do you ever get tired of sitting at your desk trying to figure out where to go next? What you next sermon series is going to be? Or even your next sermon? What if you had a map to follow? Or better yet, what if you could learn to make your own map? Join Justin as we consider principles that help create a long-term strategy and plan for leading and discipling students.

Equipping and Engaging Parents

Lorinda Roberts, Lee University
When you stepped into student ministry, you may have asked some of these questions: “Am I responsible for the parents too?” Or “What exactly does partnering with parents even mean?” Or “How do I equip parents who aren’t engaged in the life of the church, or their child?” In this session, we will discuss strategies for both engaging parents and equipping them as we journey together through the spiritual development with their child.

Help! My Desk is a Mess!

Chris Trent , Georgia Baptist Mission Board
In this breakout we’ll look at 3 major areas of how to get and stay organized in youth ministry. By the end of this session you will be better at email, calendars, and Task lists.

Ten Questions Every Youth Worker Must Answer To Effectively Meet Students Where They Are Versus Where We Want Them To Be

Kerry Ray, YM360
Do you ever wonder why it feels so difficult for you to gain any real traction with the students you are leading? It’s probably not breaking news to learn that teenagers are busier and more distracted than ever. By most estimates, a “regular attendee” is defined as a student who shows up around 1.7 times each month. On top of that, recent studies suggest that teenagers are dropping out of the church in record numbers, with 80% saying they’re doing so simply because they’ve lost interest or stopped seeing the church as necessary to their life. So what are you doing to address this when it comes to your students and your ministry context? Do you recognize and account for the differences between Generation Z and Alpha in your approach to ministering to them? Have you examined, tweaked, or started to strategize new ways to meet this generation of students where there are rather than where you want them to be? In this session, we’ll ask ten thought-provoking questions and identify some practical steps every youth worker or small group leader can take to address these issues, cut through the noise, re-evaluate our approach, and effectively meet students where they are versus where we want them to be.