DECLARE

APRIL 25-28, 2017

The Forum is an uncommon blend of theological and practical exploration of ministry with young people. The theme for this year’s Forum is “Declare!” We will explore the prophetic voice vital to the church’s work with young people.

SPEAKERS

ANDREW ROOT

LECTURER


AMANDA DRURY

LECTURER


GREG ELLISON

LECTURER


ERIC MATHIS

THEOLOGIAN IN RESIDENCE

GEORGETTE LEDGISTER

THEOLOGIAN IN RESIDENCE

CHARLENE HAN POWELL

PREACHER


MEGAN DEWALD

FACULTY

GERALD C. LIU

FACULTY

JEFF DUNN-RANKIN

THEOLOGIAN IN RESIDENCE


MIKE LANGFORD

THEOLOGIAN IN RESIDENCE

ELIZABETH TAMEZ MÉNDEZ

FACULTY

BRIAN RUSSO

FACULTY

FORUM SCHEDULE

1:30 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.
REGISTRATION
STUART HALL


3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
OPENING WORSHIP


4:15 p.m.- 5:45 p.m.
ELECTIVE A


6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
DINNER
MACKAY DINING


7:15 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
LECTURE

8:45 a.m.- 9:30 a.m. p.m.
WORSHIP


9:45 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.
EXTENDED SEMINAR


11:00 a.m. 1:30 a.m.
BREAK


11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
LECTURE


12:30 p.m.- 1:30 p.m.
LUNCH


1:30 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.
ELECTIVE B


3:00 p.m.
FREE TIME


After Free Time
DINNER ON YOUR OWN


8:45 a.m.- 9:30 a.m.
WORSHIP


9:45 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.
EXTENDED SEMINAR


11:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
BREAK


11:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
ELECTIVE C


1:00 p.m.- 2:30 p.m.
LUNCH


2:30 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.
ELECTIVE D


4:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
FREE TIME


6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
DINNER
MACKAY DINING


7:15 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.
LECTURE


8:45 a.m.- 9:45 a.m.
WORSHIP


9:45 a.m.- 10:15 a.m.
BREAK


10:15 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.
EXTENDED SEMINAR


11:45 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
CLOSING WORSHIP


STANDARD

$349

FREE hotel shuttle to campus –
no rental car needed


Meals and snacks included


A world class seminary

REGISTER NOW
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL

$319

FREE hotel shuttle to campus –
no rental car needed


Meals and snacks included


Rate Limited to 20 participants

SOLD OUT
SUPER EARLY BIRD

$299

FREE hotel shuttle to campus –
no rental car needed


Meals and snacks included


Rate Limited to 20 participants

SOLD OUT

FIND US

64 Mercer St., Princeton, NJ 08540

[email protected]

609.497.7914

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Andrew Root

Andrew Root
Photo by Courtney Perry

Lecture: “What is the Theological Turn in Youth Ministry?”

What exactly does it mean to make a theological turn in youth ministry?  It is turning away from a technological perspective that sees youth ministry providing solutions or as a means to a goal, but it doesn’t necessarily mean turning to “theology.”  Rather, the theological turn in youth ministry turns to the “theological.”  It seeks for the act of God in the lives and concrete experience of young people.  Learning lessons from Dietrich Bonhoeffer we will explore why and how this turn matters immensely.

 

Lecture: “Taking Einstein to Youth Ministry: Faith, Science, and the Faith Formation of Young People”

Increasingly, the scientific story about a massively expanding, fourteen-billion-year-old universe with black holes and supernovas, has made belief in a personal God who answers prayers much more difficult. Science, it seems, engages with what we can see, touch, and measure, while Christian faith asks us to believe in what ancient texts tell us about an immeasurable spiritual experience. How should Christians engage the relationship between faith and science? What does youth ministry have to do with Einstein and Darwin? In this presentation Andrew Root will explore an important conversation about the relationship between youth ministry, faith, and scientific theories.


Andrew Root, PhD (Princeton Theological Seminary) is the Olson Baalson Associate Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary. He is the Principle Leader of 1.2-million-dollar John Templeton grant called Science for Youth Ministry.  Most recently he has written Christopraxis: A Practical Theology of the Cross (Fortress, 2014) and Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker (Baker, 2014).  He has also written The Relational Pastor (IVP, 2013) as well as a four book series with Zondervan called A Theological Journey Through Youth Ministry (titles include Taking Theology to Youth Ministry, Taking the Cross to Youth Ministry, Unpacking Scripture in Youth Ministry, and Unlocking Mission and Eschatology in Youth Ministry).  In 2012 his book The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry (with Kenda Creasy Dean, IVP, 2011) was Christianity Today Book of Merit.  He has written a number of other books on ministry and theology such as The Children of Divorce: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being (Baker Academic, 2010), The Promise of Despair (Abingdon, 2010), Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation (IVP, 2007) and Relationships Unfiltered (Zondervan/YS, 2009).  Andy has worked in congregations, parachurch ministries, and social service programs. He lives in St. Paul with his wife Kara, two children, Owen and Maisy, and their two dogs. When not reading, writing, or teaching, Andy spends far too much time watching TV and movies.

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Amanda Drury


Lecture: “Moralistic Therapeutic Pietism”

We’ve seen the studies about teenagers unable to articulate their faith commitments. While the majority of churched teenagers might fall into this speechless category, there are those who, for better or worse seem to be quite comfortable declaring their faith both at church and in the general public. Given the current political climate, what does God-talk look like that is both faithful and generous? How might we empower our teenagers to own and articulate their faith in way that brings life and joy as opposed to fear and division?

 

Extended Seminar Title: “Saying is Believing”

“Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” More and more, Friends, our words are becoming necessary. Various studies across the United States show that both teenagers, and adults for that matter, are less and less articulate about their faith. They are active participants at their local churches, but when they are asked to speak of their faith, they are speechless. This seminar is designed to help empower youth leaders to engage their teenagers in organic God-talk in an authentic manner.


Amanda Drury (PhD Princeton Theological Seminary) has been in youth ministry for about fifteen years. She serves as Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Indiana Wesleyan University where she lives with her husband and three children. She is the author of Saying is Believing: The Necessity of Testimony in Adolescent Spiritual Formation, and is currently serving as director of Examen, a summer theological institute for high school students, and The Brain Kitchen, a non-profit organization in Marion, Indiana serving children with after-school mentoring and cooking classes in a trauma-informed environment.

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Gregory C. Ellison II

Gregory C. Ellison II (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is the founder of Fearless Dialogues, a non-profit grassroots initiative committed to creating spaces for unlikely partners to engage in hard, heartfelt conversations that see gifts in others, hear value in each others’ stories, and work for change and transformation in self and other. In three years, Fearless Dialogues has traveled to over twenty cities domestically and internationally and gathered nearly 7,000 unlikely partners at churches, corporations, community based organizations and schools. Ellison is a product of the Atlanta Public School System and a proud alumnus of Frederick Douglass High School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University, where he was inducted into the Emory College Hall of Fame; the first black male bestowed with that honor. Gregory received his Master of Divinity degree and Ph.D. in Pastoral Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is currently an associate professor of pastoral care and counseling at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. Awards received include: Person of the Year (2010-2011) and Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award. An ordained Baptist minister, Greg has served on the ministerial staffs at both Methodist and Presbyterian churches.

Ellison’s research focuses on caring with marginalized populations, pastoral care as social activism, and 20th and 21st century mysticism. He is the author of Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men, and has two books in progress with Westminster John Knox Press – Fearless Dialogues: The Civil Rights Movement of the 21st Century and Anchored in the Current: The Eternal Wisdom of Howard Thurman in a Changing World. Gregory cherishes most the strong convictions he holds toward family, fraternity brothers (of Kappa Alpha Psi) and friends. He is married to Antoinette Greenaway-Ellison and is the proud father of Elisha Alexander, Gregory III, and Anaya.

 

 

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Jeff Dunn-Rankin

 

Extended Seminar: Certificate in Youth and Theology Program Training

Each year at the Forum on Youth Ministry, Jeff works with the cohort members of our Certificate in Youth and Theology Program to help brainstorm and bring to fruition a project in their ministry contexts. Jeff also trains and resources the coaches (provided by Ministry Architects) for this program. If you are interested in participating in a program that sharpens your theological reflection, bridges you to relationships with others who share your vocation, and connects you to your own personal coach through Ministry Architects, consider applying today!


Jeff Dunn-Rankin is the Vice President of Consulting at Ministry Architects. He is also the Director of Family Ministry at Christ United Methodist Church in Venice, Florida, where he also served as the Youth Director for 16 years. He has consulted with large and small youth and children’s ministries from California to Florida and is a frequent speaker at events from the Group/Simply Convention to KidMin.

Jeff is a regular columnist for Group Magazine, and has co-written three books with Mark DeVries: Before You Hire a Youth Pastor, The Indispensable Youth Pastor, and Training on the Go (volume 2) (Group Publishing).

Before beginning church ministry, Jeff was managing editor of the Charlotte Sun newspaper. Jeff is a graduate of the Sewanee: The University of the South and has a Masters in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. He  lives in Venice, Florida, with his wife Mary Lou, and they have two grown children.

 

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Megan DeWald

The Resurrection of Youth Ministry: Discovering New Life in Old Places

Churches are losing members, money, and motivation. In their efforts to stay alive, they exhaust their financial and human resources. And fearing their death, they treat youth ministries as experimental life support, which might yield the magical cure that could prolong their existence.

The good news is that the gospel of Jesus Christ does not demand immortality and it does not fear death. Rather, it promises resurrection! This elective course will celebrate this good news by examining stories of faithful communities that have journeyed through death and are experiencing new life. We will explore the ways these communities are engaging youth and young adults, and we will imagine the possibilities of resurrection in our ministry contexts.


Megan DeWald is the Assistant Director of the Institute for Youth Ministry, managing the Certificate in Youth and Theology Program and overseeing digital content. Prior to this, she served as the Site Coordinator of the PCUSA’s Young Adult Volunteer program in Nashville, Tennessee. A fifteen-year veteran of youth and young adult ministry, Megan has served a wide spectrum of contexts and traditions, and she credits this breadth of experience with cultivating her radically inclusive theology. Believing in the transformative power of story, Megan is also a writer, poet, social activist, and musician.

 

 

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Eric Mathis

Extended Seminar: When Teenagers Worship: Embodying Practices that Awaken Identity

Teenagers are often overlooked as worshipers in the body of Christ. Most of the time, 13-19 year olds are grouped with either children or adults where worship principles and practices are concerned, yet the process of spiritual formation is unique for teenagers where public and private worship are concerned.  This extended seminar will examine models of worship practices among teenagers in the United States, highlighting ways in which teenagers might be shaped in each model over time.  With multiple liturgical models as a backdrop, we will examine a telos, or end goal, for teenagers who worship: awakening an identity and forming habits they can embody in the world both now and in the future.

 

Elective: “A Youth Minister’s Guide to Worship”

Many youth ministers find themselves responsible for planning and implementing worship gatherings with teenagers on a regular basis. Yet, few youth ministers have formal training in worship planning and leadership. This elective course will outline basic principles and practices for worship planning and leadership in youth ministry, including time-saving tips and resources for youth ministers who desire thoughtful, intentional worship with teenagers but have limited time for worship planning and administration.


Eric L. Mathis, PhD, is Chair of Academic Studies, Assistant Professor of Church Music and Worship Leadership, and Director of Anima: The Center for Worship and the Arts at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. An ordained minister, Eric holds degrees in music and theology, the most recent of which is from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He co-authored “Leaning on the Word: Worship with Conservative Baptists in Northwest Argentina, mid-20th Century” with Lester Ruth, scheduled to be released in 2017 and is currently writing “About Worship,” a curriculum for teaching teenagers about worship in the church. A former youth minister, Eric enjoys reading, writing, speaking, and in general, being with groups of young people. He is married to Brittany. When they have spare time, you can find them cooking, reading, traveling, hanging out with teenagers from their church, or watching their latest obsession on Netflix.

 

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Georgette Ledgister

Extended Seminar: “Who’s on Whose Margins”

What is the role of the church in forming faithful young people who declare their truth in the face of injustice? Does this sacred task require the dismantling of existing structures and boundaries of power? How does the church equip youth to wield power justly in unjust systems? This three-day seminar explores the interplay of power, marginality and meaning-making. We will trouble common understandings of who is powerful and who is marginalized, and dislocate the loci of power in our communities to include historically silenced voices.

 

Elective: “Holy Activist and Wholly Other: Youth, Vocation and the Problem of Fit.”

 


Georgette Ledgister is a PhD Candidate in religion, and social and theological ethics at Emory University. A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, her research interests focus on the intersection of religion, violence and peacebuilding, and locating agency in conflict and postconflict contexts amongst the most vulnerable and marginalized of populations. Her dissertation research explores marriage as agency in practice amongst young women in the Mai-Mai resistance movement of the southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, to interrogate the traditionally passive roles attributed to young African women in contexts of conflict. She received her Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology in 2010, and is a candidate for ordination as an elder in the Methodist Church of Congo. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her spouse, André, and their daughter, Zuri.

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Charlene Han Powell

 

Elective: “How to Do Good Ministry Work”

The church is all about seeing ministry as a call, but we often forget that it is also a job.  We spend so much time seeing ourselves as servants of God that we forget we are also employees of the world.  You may be clear on the meaning and merits of ministry, but what about the mechanics of it?  How do you manage your time when you never seem to have enough of it?  How do you balance your budget when it isn’t enough?  How do you invest in your youth without sacrificing yourself?  How can you be prophetic and practical?  This seminar will explore how implementing good work habits can strengthen not only your ministry but your sense of call.  From managing staff to monitoring social media, we will delve into the nitty gritty aspects of what it means to not only serve the church but work in the church.


The Rev. Dr. Charlene Han Powell is the Associate Pastor for Education & Engagement at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. Charlene is a second-generation Korean American, honored daughter of immigrants Wha Lim Han and Dr. Hye Kyung Kim, devoted sister of Christine and Luis Perez, Cheryl Han and Sebastien Gagnon, beloved wife of Jordan Powell, and adoring mother of Amelie and Noa Han Powell. She holds a BA in religious studies from the University of California-San Diego, an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from New York Theological Seminary. Her passion is helping people understand and articulate their faith in our diverse, multicultural, multifaith world. When she is not at FAPC, there is a good chance you will find her in Central Park chasing after her girls, or catching up on one of her (many) TV shows. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @TheRevHanPowell.

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Gerald C. Liu

Elective: “Makerspace for Youth Ministry: Technology, Creativity & the Church”

What would it look like to equip young people to declare the good news in an age where sounds and screens seem to matter most for communication? This course introduces and explores the merits of creating a theological studio – an updated version of the Sunday school classroom, a creative ecclesial makerspace that introduces new technologies in music and film for contemporary theological expression.


Gerald C. Liu is Assistant Professor of Worship and Preaching at Princeton Theological Seminary. An ordained United Methodist Elder of the Mississippi Annual Conference, he also serves as a Minister in Residence at the Church of the Village, a United Methodist Congregation in Manhattan. He is the son of culturally Buddhist immigrants from Taiwan, and is currently working on a book project that theorizes about sounds as gifts from God.

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Brian Russo

Elective: “Connecting the Dots: Cultivating a Critical and Compassionate Faith in Young People.”

Sometimes we are afraid to allow our youth to ask the Big Questions. To engage their fears and their doubts. Sometimes we are quick to supply answers, and doctrines, to the mysteries of their lives such that we are prone to overlook and undercut a crucial stage of their spiritual formation, namely their questioning. What if we allowed our youth to navigate skepticism by meeting them there- in the tall shadows cast by science and secularization? This seminar will aim to move beyond merely engaging young peoples’ Big Questions, to exploring curriculums and practices for patterning young hearts to follow after the living example of Christ, and how that might manifest in a critical, yet authentic, statement of faith.


Brian Russo is the Director of Youth and Senior Adult Ministry at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. Brian received his M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2009 and holds a B.A. in Psychology from Seton Hall University, where he spent most of his time studying auto-biographical memory narratives. Brian began at PCCH as the Interim for Senior Adult Ministries, and shortly after was named the Director of Youth and Senior Adult Ministry. His main passion is helping young people navigate the many questions in their lives, specifically, though not limited to reconciling belief with doubt, faith with skepticism. Brian lives in Furlong, PA with his wife Anya, son Seth, and labradoodle Vincent. When he is not at PCCH, he enjoys photography, philosophy, and Radiohead, and has been swept up in the Golden Age of Television (Rectify, The Leftovers, Black Mirror… to name a few). You can find Brian on Facebook or his Instagram at b.d.russo.

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Elizabeth Tamez Méndez

Elizabeth Tamez Méndez is founder and executive director of Nueva Gereración3; an international organization dedicated to leadership training. She has 25 years of ministerial experience, is a specialist in youth development and Latino studies, and will soon conclude her Ph.D. in Leadership. Part of her work includes teaching youth development and youth ministry courses at Universities and Seminaries, while also writing material and curriculum. Elizabeth is an ordained Baptist minister.

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Mike Langford

 

Extended Seminar: “Disabling Youth: Youth Ministry Through the Lens of Ability”

Most understandings of disability tend to focus on people’s deficiencies as measured against social constructs of what is “human.” This then becomes buttressed theologically by faulty notions of “imago Dei.” But a theological understanding of disability can help prevent the marginalization that often occurs. By looking at a theologically-understood model of disability and how it can help us understand ourselves, the church, and our vocation better, this workshop will help us see how the answers we find there apply quite helpfully to youth ministry and the role of adolescents in the church and world.

 

Elective: “Eutheology: Youth Ministry as Home to Young Theologians”

If we understand “youth” not merely as developmental stage, but also as distinct culture, then the segregation of adolescents from the rest of the church takes on overtones of prejudicial exclusion. Viewing youth ministry through the lens of missional theology exposes the dangers of youth ministry as colonialism, and instead suggests our interaction with youth as an opportunity to discover the gospel together. This workshop will help us take seriously the theological activity of youth as legitimately (and necessary) contextual theology (“eutheology,” or “new theology”), no less than the theology of other cultures.


Mike Langford (PhD) is a teacher, thinker, writer, and speaker who wants to help the church bring rich theology, good ministry, and deep spirituality into discipleship living. He’s Associate Professor of Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry at Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, and Executive Director of Immerse Youth Discipleship Academy. Mike holds a PhD in systematic theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and is an ordained Presbyterian pastor. He and his wife, Kelly, live in the Seattle area with their four kids.

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LODGING

Clarion Palmer Hotel
3499 Route 1 South
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-452-2500

Sonesta ES Suites
4375 US Highway 1
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-951-0009

Please be sure you book under “Youth Ministry Forum” for reduced rates!
We provide shuttles to and from campus and the hotels for the duration of the event.