The majority of youth ministry students give credit for their decision to enter ministry to youth ministers themselves, according to Dr. Fredrick H. Shively, professor of religion and director of the Anderson University Center for Ministry Education (AUCME). As a way to offer support to youth ministers, Anderson University recently hosted a conference titled "Grit: Leadership Through Transition."
When AU began offering the youth ministries major and the youth leadership and development complimentary major, Shively wanted to find a way to promote these new additions. “As I thought about these two majors, I thought ‘people need to know what we have to offer,’” said Shively. “The driving forces in my mind were to let the church know that these things are available for youth leaders and to build a stronger relationship with the church.”
The primary purpose of the youth leader conference is to reach out to adult youth leaders by aiding and supporting them in their ministry. The conference provided opportunities for networking so that youth leaders can find resources and further their training and make connections with each other.
Leanne Torres, early connections coordinator for AU admissions, was instrumental in the planning for the conference. With six years of experience working in youth ministry, Torres worked to recruit the speakers, organize the schedule, and discuss topics for the conference.
“I worked to lay the foundation and get everything organized and planned," said Torres. "I then passed it on to Professor Shively to communicate with the rest of the team.” She continued her role as a planner during the conference, as well as a host.
In addition to Shively, Faulkner, and Torres, many faculty and community ministers were involved in planning for the inaugural conference. They made connections with several local congregations and organizations in order to prepare for a quality event.
The conference at AU featured two speakers, Doug Fields and Steve Gerali, while faculty members held workshops throughout the conference.
Doug Fields is a pastor, communicator, resource-provider, writer, and leadership mentor. He is the author of more than 50 books and is currently working with Simply Youth Ministry and Azusa Pacific University (HomeWord’s Center for Youth/Family). More information about Doug is available at www.dougfields.com.
Dr. Steve Gerali is a speaker, author, professor, clinical counselor, consultant, and mentor who is recognized around the world as an expert in the field of adolescence, mentoring, and youth ministry. Over the years Steve has challenged teenagers and those who touch the lives of teenagers to find wholeness, fulfillment, and a deeper relationship in Jesus Christ. He firmly believes that life change happens in the context of intentionally loving relationships with Christ and others. Steve and his wife, Jan, are "empty-nesters" and currently live in southern California.
— Joshua Mifflin is a senior from Anderson, Ind., majoring in communication arts and Spanish. Mifflin is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.