Intensive Learning Labs occur pre-event and dive deep into leading topics in youth ministry today. Each intensive is curated and presented by topic experts.

YS 101 Bootcamp: Core Training for Your Ministry

The 101 Bootcamp is ideal for those who are either new to ministry or looking to firm up the core foundational elements of youth ministry. This intensive will focus on core how-to’s regarding relationships (students, parents, leaders, congregation); events (outreach, discipleship, service/mission); communication (talks, studies, administration); and soul care/self-care. Participants will leave with key systems and strategies for long-term ministry success.

Continue the conversation! YS 101 Seminar Track

Growing Young: Helping Young People Discover and Love Your Church

You’ve probably heard ominous reports of the demise of faith: the disillusionment of young people, the aging of the church, the rise of the “nones.” But what if there are bright spots breaking through the clouds and revealing energized churches brimming with young people? The Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) spent three years studying congregations who were effectively capturing the hearts of young people ages 15-29. Looking at more than 250 diverse congregations, FYI uncovered six core commitments that the most effective churches held in common. This intensive will plumb the depths of those findings. You’ll leave with a host of doable ideas to help your church right now.

The Racial Reconciliation Experience

In our current society, whereby we continue to wrestle through controversy over affirmative action, illegal immigration and racial and religious fallout, there remains a bitter difference in our responses. People of color deal with the tension between memory and identity, while the mainstream would prefer to treat racial reconciliation as an unnecessary priority within a social media savvy culture. As believers, God enjoys our efforts to create opportunities for healing and restoration. As youth workers, we have an obligation to build pathways for teenagers to be a part of this same healing and restoration within their friend groups, schools, and communities.

The Racial Reconciliation Experience Intensive is built around a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum. We’ll meet at the convention center at 1 p.m. Thursday and will travel to the Civil Rights Museum together. As part of the tour, we’ll break up into small groups and engage in intentional discussions about how systemic racial issues impact our students and ministries today.

Continue the conversation! Racial Reconciliation Seminar Track

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

For many, the scientific story about a massively expanding, 14-billion-year-old universe with black holes and supernovas has made belief in a personal God difficult. Science seems to engage with what we can see, touch and measure, while the 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 seminar, Andrew Root of Luther Seminary will lead an important conversation about the relationship between youth ministry, faith and scientific theories.

LGBTQ Youth: Ministry Beneath the Surface

This intensive will examine ministry to LGBTQ students in terms of an iceberg metaphor. Most efforts in ministry focus on what is above the surface, while effective ministry to LGBTQ youth occurs beneath the surface. In this intensive we’ll identify common mistakes and ineffective behaviors and responses, and we’ll look at concrete and specific strategies for taking your ministry into areas of greater significance for LGBTQ youth.

Middle School Ministry

Whether you're brand new to middle school ministry or a seasoned veteran, it's easy to see that middle school ministry doesn't work quite like other ministries in the church. Together, we'll look at how the minds of young teens work, and we’ll discuss the keys to building an incredible middle school ministry.

Continue the conversation! Middle School Seminar Track

Building a Successful Marriage and Youth Ministry

Marriage isn't easy, and ministry is tough. And when the two are combined, it can make both even more difficult. Doug and Cathy Fields have spent their entire marriage in youth ministry and have lived to tell about it! This intensive will offer practical ideas for how to keep your marriage growing—even during times of ministry stress.