April L. Diaz – core team and speaker
April has pastored in the local church almost 20 years at two of the most influential churches in the country. She is most passionate about coming alongside leaders who are women, youth workers, or advocates for orphans. Currently, she’s the Director of Coaching for the Cartel and an associate in the youth department of Slingshot Group. She’s also heavily involved with the Fuller Youth Institute as an Advisory Council member, Sticky Faith Coach and Certified Trainer. 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. She’s still madly in love with her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent Judah, Addise, and Asher. You can follow her at http://www.aprildiaz.com/.
Rachel Blom – core team and speaker
Rachel fell in love with youth ministry at the end of the 20th century, let’s leave it at that. She has served in various youth ministry roles in three different countries ever since. Born in The Netherlands, she has also lived in Germany and now calls New York her home. Her core passions are writing and speaking and she does both with gusto. She’s the author of multiple books, including Storify: Speaking to Teenagers in a Post-Christian World (Youth Cartel 2015) and The Effective Youth Worker: Proven Strategies to Go from Surviving to Thriving (Youth Leaders Academy 2016). Rachel loves speaking to teens, youth leaders, or anyone else who will listen. In her free time she loves to go hiking. Also, she devours more books in a year than most people read in a lifetime. It’s not bragging if it’s a fact, right?
Brooklyn’s dream is to help teenagers help others. She’s the founder of The Justice Movement, a global organization that creates opportunities and resources that empower churches and youth to live compassionately together. Brooklyn has been involved in full time youth ministry for 16 years, authored books, contributes and communicates for Orange Leaders and Nazarene Youth International. She, her husband Coy, and daughters Kirra and Mya have a part of a new storytelling ministry in Lakeland, Florida. They love to make ice cream together, ride their bikes, and go to #WaltLindseyWorld as much as possible. Find Brooklyn online at: brooklynlindsey.com @brooklynlindsey, justicemovement.com @thejustmove, or somos.church @somoschurch.
Crystal Kirgiss – speaker
Crystal Kirgiss has worked with adolescents aged 12 – 22 for 30 years (go ahead and do the math). She is adjunct faculty at Purdue University where she researches the history of adolescence (indeed there is one…a long one). She is a Capernaum leader (Young Life’s ministry to teens with special needs) in her local area, a youth ministry trainer, a speaker for both students and adults, an avid Inklings fan (dead + British/Irish + author/apologist = bliss), a prolific book owner and book maker, a wannabe knitter, and a joyful hammocker (yes – she just verbbed that noun). Her most recent book, In Search of Adolescence (Youth Cartel, 2015) is about how adults of every century have been thinking and saying pretty much the same things about teenagers. She’s the author of many books and a contributor to many Bible editions. Also: she owns and rides a motorcycle (Yamaha V-Star Classic 650, black onyx tank with silver flames, fact). Also: Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai and Blueberry Flavored thingees – yeah, those.
Stephanie Caro – speaker and 1-on-1 consultant
Stephanie Caro has been involved in ministry to children, youth, and adults in the local church since…a long time. Her humorous, straightforward style keeps her busy presenting and coaching at conferences, training events, camps, mission trips, retreats, churches, etc. She is Senior Consultant for Ministry Architects, which allows her to help churches assess, vision, and formulate their ministry game plan. Her books, Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches and 99 Thoughts for the Smaller Church Youth Worker, were published by Group/Simply Youth Ministry. Her latest book, Smaller Church Youth Ministry: No Staff, No Money, No Problem, was published by Cokesbury in the fall of 2016. Her next book, Ten Solutions (to 10 Common Mistakes in Small Churches), comes out early 2017. Stephanie is a contributing author to several ministry resources like YouthWorker Journal in addition to her regular column “Smaller Church Youth Ministry” in Group Magazine. Check out Stephanie’s blog, part of the #1 read youth ministry blog network, youthministry.com from Simply Youth Ministry/Group Publishing. She also blogs for youthspecialties.com, Princeton Theological Seminary, and others. Stephanie and her husband, Steve, live in Houston, TX. Their 7 children are all grown!
Ashley Bohinc – speaker
Ashley has worked with students in educational, athletic, and ministry settings for the last 12 years. She is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating, developing leaders, middle school students and missions. Currently, she works for The ReThink Group as the XP3 Middle School CurriculumContent Director. She communicates regularly to ministry leaders, volunteers, students, and provides leadership and coaching for student missions. Additionally, she is the Co-Founder and USA Director of a ministry in Ethiopia, called Carry 117, which focuses on orphan prevention and family preservation through women empowerment.
For fun she likes to watch Friends, Gilmore Girls, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. She enjoys morning fires with a cup of black coffee in her hand, traveling, hiking, reading, new socks, clean sheets, and her Fairytale Friday Adventures. She wants to know who actually checks the signature when you sign for a credit card, and why adult coloring books have to have such small designs.
Irene Cho – speaker
Irene Cho serves as the Program Manager for the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI). She holds a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Pastoral and General Ministries from Talbot Theological Seminary and a BA in Christian Education from Biola University. At FYI Irene is the point person for the Urban Youth Ministry Certificate program and advisor for other programs. Having served24 years in youth ministry, Irene speaks all over the country at major national conferences such as Youth for Christ, CHIC, Youth Specialties, DC/LA, JAMA New Awakening, Urban Youth Workers Institute. She also speaks both nationally and internationally for youth retreats, has written various curriculums, and consults for many youth ministries. Her passion is for the misfits of the world and to bring the gospel message to those who seem to fall through the cracks. In her minimal spare time, Irene enjoys a great book, movie, or television show, hanging out with friends and former students, and her husband, and of course getting some sleep.
Elle Campbell – speaker
I like youth ministry (especially small groups and middle school ministry) and making things and smiling and coffee. I’m married to a cute boy named Kenny. We lived in Buffalo, NY for most of our lives and did middle school ministry there for a pretty long time. We also launched our youth ministry resource site Stuff You Can Use while we were there. But then, in 2014, we decided to take a big risk, leave our hometown, and move to Atlanta, GA to start a brand new adventure working with The ReThink Group.
Becki Visker – worship leader
Becki is currently a worship leader at Granger Community Church, in Granger, Indiana. She helps lead a team of 50+ volunteer musicians and artists that create and curate weekend arts. During services experience in worship for 6+ years, she found how important excellent artistry is in the church and how it can be used to transcend what “church” is supposed to look like. Her favorite outlets include blogging, drinking abnormal amounts of coffee, and being with people and her dog, Kona.through worship and other creative elements.
Charlie Conder – 1-on-1 coach
Charlie has worked with students for nearly 20 years in educational and ministry settings. For the last 10 years, Charlie has had the privilege of serving as the middle school youth minister in a thriving Methodist church within a tight community in the Metro Atlanta area. During her time in ministry, Charlie has coached adult volunteers to lead small groups of middle school teens, organized a large middle school ministry worship experience, and led a school-based ministry program. Charlie’s extensive experience with students and families along with her Advance Coaching Certification gives her a unique approach to ministry. Charlie lives with her wildly talented husband Eric and her sometimes snarky but always lovable teenage daughter.
Monica Childers – 1-on-1 coach
Monica is a ministry professional with well over two decades of combined ministry and business experience. Her BS in Organizational Communication alongside her seminary work, Certification in Youth Ministry, Christian Education, and professional coaching gives her a unique approach to coaching both ministry and business leaders.