Designed to Equip, Energize & Connect
Saturday, January 21 // 8:30 am-4:30 pm
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-4:30 pm
Registration is closed. Please contact Brianna Bero at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would still like to attend.
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
4:30 pm: Conference concludes
Nine reading strategies to help students engage with Scripture in new and innovative ways as we challenge them to become more thoughtful, careful, and studious readers of the Bible.
Mental Health Panel
In this breakout, a few mental health professionals will discuss and answer questions about responding to students with a variety of mental health challenges.
Mentoring Students with Purpose & Intentionality – Katie Mae Imhoff-Smith & Tony Piek
It can so easily feel that students see you, their ministry leader, as just one more piece of their disconnected busy schedule, so how do we move beyond that and provide a bridge of support extending across all aspects of a student’s life? This breakout will explore an intentional approach to building relationships with students that can assist leaders in building trust, and becoming an important part of a students’ support network.
Including and Shepherding Students with Social Challenges – Sharon Gartland OTD, OTR/L
Church youth groups are meant to be places for connection and spiritual growth for all students, but this can be more difficult for the teen with social challenges. This workshop provides training and education on how to include and support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other social challenges so that they can participate more successfully.
Leading a Small Group – Jimmy Bero
This breakout aims to provide perspective on why small groups matter so much, and practical ideas to make small group space safe and transformative.
Connecting Outside of Programming – Amber Janssen
We all know that ministry doesn’t just happen when students come to “our stuff”. We need to get out there to where students are, and connect with them on “their turf”. But with limited time and energy, how do we do it well without being overwhelmed?
Talking with students about sex – Ben Knox, Pastor of Middle School Ministries
We will address common pitfalls in talking with students about sex, and discuss alternatives, as we strive to shepherd students toward healthy relationships with God, self, and others.
Reflective Worship Experience – Blackhawk Worship Arts staff
Are you stressed or overwhelmed? Do you just need to be poured into? This un-breakout session is designed to feed your soul through worship and prayer, giving you a chance to breathe in the Spirit of God in the midst of your busy life.
Avoiding Burnout: Ministry for the Long-haul – Craig Gartland
Youth Ministry is hard. There are times when the schedule of youth ministry and the demands of relational energy with students can be overwhelming and hard to balance. It’s hard to know when to say no and how to sustain a healthy balance of ministry and personal life. In this breakout, we hope to provide practical examples for how to avoid burnout and create healthy margins that allow for long-term youth ministry.
We are excited to welcome Crystal Kirgiss, PhD, as our keynote speaker. Crystal serves as adjunct faculty at Purdue University where she teaches English and researches the history of adolescence. For 25 years, she has worked with students in church, parachurch, educational, and community settings. She is the author of many books for adults and students, most recently In Search of Adolescence: A New Look At an Old Idea which presents a broad historical survey of youth throughout the centuries. She regularly speaks to youth workers, parents, students, and congregations on a variety of topics. She lives in Indiana with her husband Mark, a veteran youth worker.
Jimmy has been working with students for almost ten years. Currently he is on staff at Blackhawk as the Student Ministries Director at Blackhawk Fitchburg. Before working on staff at 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.
Craig Garltand served with InterVarsity college ministry for over 20 years before beginning his role as Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Blackhawk Church in 2015.
Sharon G. Gartland, OTD, OTR/L
Sharon Gartland is an occupational therapist with more than thirty years of experience in pediatrics with an emphasis in developmental disabilities and has advanced training in sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and disability studies. She is a senior lecturer in the Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sharon is committed to family centered care and her practice is focused on supporting participation in daily life activities for both children and parents. Her research interests are in community participation in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and the impact of sensory processing difficulties on daily life skills.
Katie Mae Imhoff-Smith
Katie Mae is currently a teacher at Toki Middle School. She spent six years volunteering with Blackhawk middle school ministry, including a summer as an intern, and has volunteered with the high school ministry for two years. In her time as a middle school volunteer Katie Mae led many initiatives aimed at increasing individualized ministry for students. Over the last couple of years she has taken her passion for mentoring students within ministry and adapted that to fit within public schools. This passion led to the formation of her non-profit organization, Intentional Mentoring. This organization trains mentors who coach youth in a positive direction for their mind, body and soul by connecting the gaps between school, home, community, and other activities.
Amber is a history teacher at Madison Memorial High School, after a decade of serving as an area director with Young Life Ministry. For the last couple of years she has been training volunteers for Blackhawk High School Ministry, helping ministry leaders understand how to reach kids where they’re at.
Ben Knox is the pastor of Middle School Ministries at Blackhawk. Previously he was a youth pastor in Madrid, Spain. Over the past fifteen years, he has served in staff and volunteer roles with students ages 11-19 through church and parachurch ministries.
Tony is a health systems engineer for UW Health helping improve quality of care for patients and making the hospital run more effectively. He also has the opportunity to mentor a group of engineering students. He spent 10 years volunteering in the Blackhawk high school ministry in various roles including serving on the leadership team and helping start a mentoring program. He now serves as an elder at Blackhawk. Tony is passionate about mentoring and investing in the lives of young people.