Designed to Equip, Energize & Connect
Saturday, January 20, 2018
The Blackhawk Youth Leader Conference has been designed with teams in mind. Our hope is that churches bring youth ministry staff & volunteers so that you can connect with one another and connect with other youth ministry teams in the area.
8:30 am – Check-In
9 am – General Session
10:45 am – Breakout 1
12 pm – Lunch
1 pm – Breakout 2
2:30 pm – Breakout 3
4 pm – Closing session
Registration for this event is now closed however walk-ins are welcome. Please note that walk-ins may have limited options for lunch and breakout sessions.
Breakout Session Descriptions
It’s often tough to understand why teenagers do what they do. One moment they’re calm and rational, but the next they’re agitated and emotional. One day they’re making incredibly wise choices, but the next they’re making disastrous mistakes. Yesterday they earned your trust, but today it seems they’ve lost it once again. Why such inconsistency? Credit their brains. This breakout will offer youth leaders a unique look into what exactly is going on in the teenage brain.
Leading a Small Group 1.0 – Jimmy Bero, Director of Student Ministries at Blackhawk Fitchburg
This breakout seeks to uncover the heart of why small group matters and the philosophy of how to create space for students to belong and have meaningful conversations regardless of what they believe about Jesus or the bible.*Offered last year
Leading a Small Group 2.0 – Jimmy Bero, Director of Student Ministries at Blackhawk Fitchburg
This breakout builds on the foundation of Leading A Small Group 1.0 by giving you hands on, practical ideas to incorporate into your small group community. From journals to games, you will leave with a list of activities to facilitate community and conversations.
The Prevalence of Abusive Relationships Among Teenagers: Equipping our Students to Recognize and Respond to Dating Abuse – Elsa Gumm
Participants will discuss best practices for supporting survivors of domestic violence and dating abuse, with a focus on adult and teenage leaders within church-centered youth groups. The new Teen Allies for Healthy Relationships ministry of The Church at Christ Memorial (Fitchburg, Wisconsin) is a partnership of youth groups, faith communities, and service providers in the Madison area working to empower teenagers to respond appropriately and with compassion when they encounter dating abuse, which affects 1 in 3 teens. Be a part of the conversation and help cultivate safe, nurturing environments for our youth.
Worship & Prayer Experience – Worship Arts team from Blackhawk Church
Need a break from the non-stop busyness of ministry? Think you will want to push pause after a few hours of scribbling notes, and talking about ministry during the conference? Step into this intentionally created time of meaningful music, engaging prayer activities, and meditative space to just be in the presence of God. This is sure to be the [anti]breakout session that your heart is longing for.
Controlling the Chaos – Chris Handrick, Young Life Madison Metro Director
Ever feel like your small group is out of control? Are you worried that some nights you will never get to the content? There are times when we need to decide whether to manage, channel, or just embrace the craziness in our groups. This breakout will offer practical strategies for managing the most rowdy and challenging (and loveable!) students.
Recruiting and Developing Leaders – Lief Erickson, Blackhawk Student Ministries
We can be more efficient and effective in reaching our ministry goals by leaning into a team of gifted and passionate leaders. Sometimes the hardest part is finding them, and once we have, equipping them for long-term ministry. Whether you are a paid ministry leader or a volunteer you can play a role in recruiting and developing teams of volunteer leaders. In this breakout we hope to provide practical ideas for “making the ask” and helping leaders thrive.
Facilitating Group Games and Activities – Anthony Suy, Fifth and Sixth Grade Ministry Coordinator and Middle School Volunteer
Running low on resources or fresh ideas for group activities? Join us in discovering strategies of facilitating group games and team building exercises! This session offers practical tools for ensuring your group activity is a meaningful and fun experience. We hope that you will gain a renewed confidence in your ability to coach, teach, and connect with students through various large group games.
Responding to Students in Crisis – Sandra Malone, Director of Care Development at Blackhawk Church
This breakout will help leaders determine when a student’s need classifies as an emergency, crisis, or urgent. Youth leaders often face competing priorities between maintaining student’s trust and considering their well-being. This breakout will help leaders understand what their pastoral role is and is not in these challenging circumstances.
Middle School Student Panel: Understanding Youth Culture from a Student’s Perspective
What is it like to be a middle school student right now? We don’t know! We might think that we are cool but there is always something that can be learned about the world our students live in. Come to this breakout and hear from students themselves about the pressures they face and the things that they love.
High School Student Panel: Understanding Youth Culture from a Student’s Perspective
What is it like to be a high school student right now? We don’t know! We might think that we are cool but there is always something that can be learned about the world our students live in. Come to this breakout and hear from students themselves about the pressures they face and the things that they love.
author and youth ministry extraordinaire
Marko has been involved in church ministry his whole life, particularly with teenagers and youth workers. He has had a broad experience working in churches in roles ranging from junior high pastor to executive pastor. For 11 years, Marko was at Youth Specialties in San Diego, an organization that trains and equips church youth workers – the last eight of those years as president. Concurrently, Marko was also a part of the leadership team of Zondervan (Grand Rapids, Michigan).
Marko has authored or contributed to more than 60 books, including Youth Ministry 3.0 (one of our favorites at Blackhawk). Marko is a partner in The Youth Cartel, providing resources, training and coaching for church youth workers.
Marko doesn’t only travel around talking and writing about youth ministry; he continues in the trenches weekly, as a youth group leader himself. We are so excited to have him at YLC!
Director of Student Ministries at Blackhawk Fitchburg
Jimmy has been working with students for about 10 years and is currently on staff at Blackhawk Church as the Student Ministries Director at Blackhawk Fitchburg. Prior to Blackhawk, Jimmy was involved with Young Life in Madison and was a tutor with the Boys & Girls Club. He is passionate about creating safe and welcoming environments where teenagers from any background can belong and have meaningful conversations that point to Jesus.
Blackhawk Student Ministries
Lief oversees Student Ministries at Blackhawk Church and has been in youth ministry for 17 years, most of which serving with Blackhawk High School Ministries. He graduated from Denver Seminary with a degree in Youth & Family Ministry in 2008. In addition to belly drumming and the Green Bay Packers, Lief is passionate about developing leaders to reach students. Drawing his passion for student ministry from his own experience in high school, Lief desires to see more and more students transformed by the love of Jesus by creating a missional and invitational community. He believes equipping opportunities like YLC are crucial in preparing the hearts of youth leaders to pastor students effectively.
Staff and lifeServe Coordinator, The Church at Christ Memorial
Elsa is Staff and lifeServe Coordinator at The Church at Christ Memorial in Fitchburg, where she oversees human resources and connects fellow church members to community development opportunities. She works closely with other local advocates in prevention and education around the issue of domestic and dating abuse. Elsa earned her M.A. in Rhetoric from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008. She currently lives in Fitchburg with her husband and two daughters, and enjoys reading and practicing yoga.
Young Life Madison Metro Director
Chris currently serves as the Young Life Madison Metro Director. He is in his sixth year on staff and eighth overall with Young Life. While he didn’t see a future in ministry when he graduated from Edgewood College with a Bachelors in Business and Computer Science, the Lord has led him into unique relational opportunities with teenagers through Young Life. In addition to his staff role with YL, Chris serves as a substitute teacher and the varsity boys soccer coach for Verona Area High School. Chris is passionate about understanding the lives of teenagers, especially students of marginalized cultures.
Director of Care Development, Blackhawk Church
Sandra is the Director of Care Development and has been on staff at Blackhawk in the Care Ministry for 10 years. Sandra provides training to pastoral staff and volunteers on best practices, boundaries and confidentiality in an effort to equip people to care well for people and families that are hurting. Sandra received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Rehabilitation Counseling and is passionate about creating a faith community where people are able to integrate their faith into the hard and messy areas of life.
Fifth and Sixth Grade Ministry Coordinator and Middle School Volunteer
Anthony has been serving in youth ministry since 2012. His passion for community and youth ministry has led to him to his current position of coordinating the fifth and sixth grade ministry at Blackhawk Church. Anthony’s prior work experience consists of directing youth sports, leading sales teams and substitute teaching. One of his greatest joys in life is playing group games with kids.