In 2012, Marko and I started The Summit to help spark creativity, stir ideas, and push our friends in youth ministry to think in new ways.
Heading into our fourth year we wanted to make sure that we continued to press into that idea… that the event itself wasn’t itself becoming formulaic and that we’re continuing to spark creativity, new ideas, and push our friends in youth ministry to think in new ways.
So, we made an important shift for 2015, one we’re pretty excited about! Inspired by some of our favorite podcasts/radio programs like Invisibilia, The Moth, 99% Invisible, This American Life, and Serial we wondered, “What would happen if we co-created each session with someone we want to learn from? Could they help us all think in new ways?”
So that’s what we’ve done. When you look at The Summit website right now you’ll see that we’ve identified session curators who will act as co-creators for The Summit. Over the coming months we’ll be working with each of them to produce a session pressing into the theme of each session. (see session descriptions below)
As we go we’ll share with you more about that process– including what presenters/topics we’re adding into each session. (Each session will most likely end up with 5-6 presenters, as in previous years.)
Much of the actual format from the first three years will be the same. We’ll have Pre-Summit sessions all morning and afternoon on Friday offering extended learning/training opportunities. And we’ll have 3 main sessions Friday night and Saturday with a series of presenters followed by 3 Digging Deeper sessions. So we expect The Summit to feel brand new even though it’s our fourth year!
The 2015 Theme
Youth Ministry has ’em. In our collective “room,” that is. They’re wandering around, taking up space. We avoid these topics, either because we’re unsure how to respond, or we’re afraid of the implications connected to addressing them.
At The Summit this year, we’ll address three of the Elephants in the Room of youth ministry. And while we’ll still utilize the TED-talk format that has made The Summitso unique and valuable, we’re going to dive a little deeper on these three topics. Each one will be addressed from multiple angles, not in attempt to solve them; but with a desire to fully see them. Our hope is to provide a context for you to address these issues in your own context, your own theology, your own story.
Each of these sessions will be curated by a brilliant mind who will help us shape the dialogue. Here’s our session curators: Dan Kimball, on the elephant of Evangelism and Apologetics; and Charles Lee on the elephant of Immaturity and Transition in Youth Ministry; Ginny Olson on the elephant of ministry to LBGT teenagers; and closing with Jon Huckins on Elephants as Formation Instigators.
Session 1 (Friday Evening)
Elephant: Immaturity and Transition in Youth Ministry
Curator: Charles Lee
Charles, along with other presenters, will guide us in an exploration of the awkward topic of our collective immaturity. While misaligned values and unspoken expectations are normally the cause of conflict, we youth workers often seem to have difficulty seeing our own contribution to the problems. Not knowing how to deal with conflict, we too often move on, only to repeat the pattern. Together, let’s look at the plank in our own eye.
Session 2 (Saturday Morning)
Elephant: Evangelism and Apologetics
Curator: Dan Kimball
In an increasingly post-Christian world, how do we talk about Jesus and the gospel with those outside our youth room? While the age of pluralism has caused some to simply stop talking about Jesus and the gospel, others charge forward with 1980s approaches. Honestly, the issues are complex; and many of us find it easier to avoid altogether. Dan Kimball, along with other presenters, will bring a variety of perspectives and ideas to this Elephant in our collective room.
Session 3 (Saturday Afternoon)
Elephant: Ministry to LBGT Teenagers
Curator: Ginny Olson
We’re not out to change your theology (in either direction!). But let’s be honest enough to admit that we are not wildly succeeding at responding to and including gay teenagers (and those questioning their sexuality). And most of us will be totally lost when we have a transgender teen sign up for summer camp or a mission trip. We promise you: the presenters in this session will not all agree with each other. But our hope is that we’ll all learn and think in the midst of the dialogue about this massive youth ministry Elephant.
Session 4 (Saturday Late Afternoon/Early Evening)
Focus: Elephants as Formation Instigators
Presenter: Jon Huckins
This last session is a chance for us to worship together and wrap up the day with a broader perspective. Jon Huckins is an accomplished guide in the arena of peacemaking; but we’ve asked him to apply those insights to how we address the Elephants that exists in our churches.
Learn more about The Summit here