October 2, 2009
Office of Church Relations
WENHAM, MA—1 in 4 American teens are at high risk of not maturing into healthy adulthood, according to the U.S. Government. Unfortunately, many Christian youth programs overlook this critical group.
The youth ministry community of New England will therefore gather at Gordon College’s 8th annual Symposium on Youth Ministry to discuss how to minister effectively to today’s youth. The symposium—which is free and open to the public—will be Thursday, November 5, from 9:00 a.m-3:00 p.m. in the MacDonald lecture hall of Gordon College’s Ken Olsen Science Building (Exit 17 from Highway 128). Dr. Scott Larson, adjunct professor of Christian Ministries at Gordon and president of juvenile justice resource center Straight Ahead Ministries, will be the keynote speaker for the day. Pastors, youth pastors, youth workers, and staff who have a passion for teenagers and juvenile justice are invited to attend as Larson addresses how to keep “high risk” teens from slipping through the cracks.
“It’s energizing to see the youth ministry community of New England come together in one room,” said Bob Whittet, associate professor of Christian ministries and director of church relations at Gordon. “It’s encouraging for youth workers to know that they’re part of something bigger, a community that’s equally concerned about these issue.” All attending will also have an opportunity to visit and network with one another over a complimentary lunch between Larson’s sessions.
According to Larson, the day will largely focus on how youth ministers can more effectively reach out to teens, “whether they are already in existing church programs or feel like they would never step in the door of a church." Larson will share several teaching methods from his newest book, The Resilience Revolution, and help those who attending better understand youth today and how our youth ministry programs can be strengthened to address the needs of today’s youth.
“Most youth programs tend to focus more on content and behavior change,” said Larson, “but by so doing, they can often miss the deeper character transformation that can come by walking through difficulties, conflicts and crises together, and using those experiences as means for character change."
According to Whittet, one of Gordon’s goals is to be a resource to the Christian community of New England. “To host and be able to equip youth leaders as our guests is our way of saying thank you for all they do in the lives of youth,” Whittet said.
To register, please complete the registration form on the Symposium registration page. For more information, contact the Office of Church Relations, 978.867.4363.