Saturday, January 26, 2019
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
Breakout Session Descriptions
Led by April Diaz, Keynote Speaker
We all work way too hard and love teenagers way too much to see them walk away from faith and the church after high school. And yet many teenagers do exactly that. Making lifelong faith stick in teenagers’ lives is possible with five significant shifts. This power-packed breakout will offer proven research and practical ideas for every context of ministry.
Redefining the Role of the Youth Worker
Led by April Diaz, Keynote Speaker
What if the church viewed the role of youth workers as youth ministry champions who integrate teenagers into the whole church? This is crucial for developing lifelong faith. An integrated youth ministry involves a vision that extends well beyond the seven years of middle school and high school. Join us as we discuss three ways to redefine our role as youth workers.
Ministry with LGBTQ Teenagers
Led by Mark Oestreicher
What do I do when a teenager comes out to me? How do I respond in a way that’s helpful rather than creating additional problems? Will you find all the answers in this session? No. Instead, you’ll hear some basic practices and guidelines to help you walk with students, rather than scaring them away.
Understanding the Teenage Brain
Led by Mark Oestreicher
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.
Creative Tips for Teaching Students
Led by Frank Gil, Pastor of Student Ministries at epikos Church and host of the Fifteen Minutes with Frank podcast
Teaching the Bible in student ministry is a unique challenge. Whether you’re a rookie youth worker or a youth ministry veteran, we can all use some help to creatively speak into the lives of teens. Stop by Frank’s breakout session to get some tips on how to teach the unchanging truths of Scripture in the ever-evolving world our students live in.
Alongside Teenagers: The practice of incarnational youth ministry
Led by Drew Hill, author of Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel
How do we build meaningful relationships with teenagers? How do we build trust with them? How do we move from acquaintances to a place where we’ve earned the right to share the gospel? This seminar will offer practical application and biblical truths that flesh out the complexities of relational youth ministry. Together, we’ll explore what it looks like to not only share the love of Jesus with teenagers, but to share our very lives with them as well.
Controlling the Chaos
Led by Chris Handrick, Madison Metro Young Life Area 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.
Walking with Students in Crisis
Led by Michelle Owen, Licensed Professional Counselor and former youth worker
Do you have students who struggle with depression or anxiety? Have you ever felt at a loss for what to do or say when a student comes to you with a crisis? In this breakout, we will discuss indicators that a student may be struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm, or suicidal ideation. Michelle will also offer practical steps for how to handle crisis situations and walk alongside a student who is dealing with mental health challenges.
Leading a Small Group 1.0
Led by Jimmy Bero, Associate Director of Blackhawk Fitchburg Student Ministries
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.
Leading a Small Group 2.0
Led by Katie Kenig, middle school volunteer at Blackhawk Church
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.
How to Reach Students Through Storytelling
Led by Jimmy Bero, Associate Director of Blackhawk Fitchburg Student Ministries
So often when we share the gospel, we give a “presentation” of how the whole Christian thing works. But a good story is not a presentation, it’s an invitation. What if we focused on sharing the gospel through storytelling? This breakout is all about how to incorporate storytelling into your ministry from small group to large group to camp and beyond.
Recruiting and Developing Leaders
Led by Lief Erickson, Pastor of Student Ministries at Blackhawk Church
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
Multicultural Youth Ministry: Getting Started
Led by Charles Yu, Pastor of Multicultural Ministry & Theology, and Ben Knox, Pastor of Middle School Ministry at Blackhawk Church
Of course we welcome students from all ethnicities and cultures to our weekly gatherings & camps. But, do we allow the students to bring all of who they are to the table, or do we implicitly ask the minority students to fit into the majority culture? Join the conversation as we wrestle with the practical challenges of pursuing God’s multicultural vision for his church.
Walking With Students Through the Post-High School Transition
Led by Michael Knapstad, Pastor of College-Age Ministry and Lynne Benik, Associate Pastor of College-Age Ministry at Blackhawk Church
The transition a student makes out of high school is an extremely important one. Having a caring leader who is invested in the student during this time is essential to the success of this transition. In this breakout, you’ll gain tangible tools, as well as hear from current college students on how to walk with a student through this transition.
Middle School Student Panel: Understanding Youth Culture from a Student’s Perspective
Moderated by Kristin Baker, Ministry Assistant of Middle School Ministry at Blackhawk Church
Being a middle school student is hard. It can be a (beautifully) awkward stage of life where everything is changing, and you are trying to understand who you are and how you fit in. Whether we have blocked those years from our memory or remember them fondly, there is always something that can be learned about the world our students live in. Come to this breakout and hear from middle school 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
Moderated by Emily Bostrom, Associate Director of Brader Way High School Ministry
High school culture is constantly changing. Students have always dealt with the pressures from their friends and families. While we may be able to relate from our own experience, this generation of students is confronted with a unique set of challenges. Come to this breakout and hear from high school students themselves about the pressures they face and the things that they love.
Worship and Prayer Experience
Led by 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.
April pastored in the local church for nearly 20 years. She was on staff at Newsong Church (Orange County, CA) where she had six different pastoral roles in 10 years – from youth ministry to executive pastor. Prior to Newsong, she was involved in Willow Creek Community Church’s youth ministry for seven years. For the last several years she’s coached, trained, and taught internationally. She is most passionate about coming alongside leaders who are influencing on the margins of culture. Because April loves teenagers, she loves partnering with Stuff You Can Use and Fuller Youth Institute.
Her first book, Redefining the Role of the Youth Worker: A Manifesto for Integration, is a compelling vision for the church’s role with teenagers.
Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent three fabulous kiddos.
web: aprildiaz.com | twitter: @aprilldiaz
Back by popular demand
Mark Oestreicher (blog) has been involved in church ministry his whole life, particularly with teenagers and youth workers. Marko 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.
Marko has authored or contributed to more than 60 books, including the much-talked-about Youth Ministry 3.0. 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.
Kristin has been in ministry for the last three years and has a passion for getting to know middle schoolers, families, and volunteers on a deeper level than just a passing, “Hi, how are you?”. She spends her days working in Middle School Ministry at Blackhawk Church, laughing with and raising her 13-year-old son, crocheting, reading, and spending time with her husband, Jay.
Lynne has lived in Madison most of her life and loves the city. She graduated from Edgewood College where she studied sociology and human services. You’ll probably see her in a coffee shop with a mocha in hand and chatting it up with strangers. Lynne is an extroverted city girl married to a country boy from northern Wisconsin. They live in Madison with their black lab puppy, Vivvy.
Jimmy has been working with students for about 10 years and is currently the Associate Director of Blackhawk Fitchburg Student Ministries. 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 and have meaningful conversations that point to Jesus.
Emily Bostrom works at Blackhawk Church as the Associate Director of Brader Way High School Ministry – a title that means she gets to spend her days with some of the coolest high schoolers on the planet. A Minnesota native, she told everyone who’d listen she’d leave the Land of Cheeseheads after her time studying psychology and religious studies at UW-Madison. God had other plans, and four years later she joyfully calls Madison home. You can find Emily drinking iced coffee (yes, even in winter), plotting her next way to travel outside of the country, or trying to convince everyone she meets that goldendoodles are the greatest dogs ever.
Lief oversees Student Ministries at Blackhawk Church and has been in youth ministry for 17 years. 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. 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.
Frank is the Student Ministries Pastor at epikos Church in Milwaukee. He has a podcast called 15 Minutes with Frank where he talks about what he does in his youth group each week. Frank is a regular contributor to the ministry resource site Download Youth Ministry. He is Cuban, has a beard, and really enjoys Popeyes’ chicken.
Chris was born and raised in the greater Madison community, graduated from Edgewood College and has spent six years on staff with Young Life currently as the Madison Metro Director. He’s passionate about adolescent development, giving youth Christ-like mentors, and understanding a multi-ethnic ministry world. He loves putting himself in the lives of teens for lunch, sporting events and even quinceañeras!
Drew Hill is the author of Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel. He is also a pastor in Greensboro, NC and serves on the mission-wide leadership team for Young Life. Drew received his BA in Communications from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master of Divinity from Denver Seminary. He is married to Natalie and they have three children: Honey, Hutch, and Macy Heart. You can visit his websites at YoungLifeLeaders.org and AlongsideTeenagers.com.
Michael grew up in Seattle, went to Fuller Theological Seminary in Southern California where he received a Master of Divinity, and recently moved to Madison from San Francisco. When he’s not visiting one of the many coffee shops in town, you’ll find Michael either running, cycling, aspiring to be a dog owner, or connecting with college students.
Katie has been a middle school volunteer for 11 years, four of which she spent on staff at Blackhawk Church. She is the mom of two adorable kids – 5 years and 1.5 years old. Katie is a fan of reading, hiking, learning, singing and the Brewers.
Ben is the Pastor of Middle School Ministries at Blackhawk Church. He has served in ministry for 17 years across a variety of cultural contexts & age groups. After studies at Denver Seminary and a season as a youth pastor in Madrid, he and his wife Meggan happily returned to Madison in 2013 to put down roots. They have two kids, Andrew and Abby.
Michelle is a licensed professional counselor specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. After graduating from Denver Seminary with a Masters in Community and School Counseling, she moved to the east coast to practice counseling and later started her own practice in Madison, Wisconsin. While she enjoys working with all age groups, she especially values working with adolescent clients. Michelle has spent 15 years volunteering in student ministries at various churches across the country. She is passionate about discipling young women, having meaningful conversations about life and the Bible, and the relationships that are built during youth retreats and small group time.
Charles is the Pastor of Multicultural Ministry & Theology at Blackhawk Church. Before coming on staff, Charles enjoyed a teaching ministry with InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministries as a Campus Theologian. In 2011, he received a PhD in Hebrew and Semitics from UW-Madison. Charles and his wife, Serena, have two daughters, Kirstin and Nikki.