Keynote Speaker: Justin Forbes
Having spent 12 years working for the Young Life organization, and serving locally in his church, Justin brings a broad base of experience across different types of youth ministry to include urban, multicultural, suburban, special needs, and college ministries. He serves as the director of the Youth Ministry program at Flagler College and is a University of Aberdeen PhD candidate. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary, Justin is the co-founder of Kindred Youth Ministry, a youth ministry resource organization, and is a proud foster parent.
An advocate for people with disabilities, Erin Raffety is a Lecturer in Youth, Church, and Culture in the Department of Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. She serves as the Associate Pastor for Outreach and Education at Grace Presbyterian Church in Kendall Park, NJ and earned her MDiv from Princeton Seminary and PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Princeton University. Her book, Families We Need is based on ethnographic research in China with foster families raising children with disabilities. Her current research and writing considers intersections of anthropology, disability studies, and ministry.
Session: From Inclusion to Discipleship
So often approaches to ministry for people and youth with disabilities focus on the importance of inclusion without recognizing the gifts for ministry and promise of discipleship they already bring to those around them. How do we grapple with the very real, practical, structural and systemic barriers to inclusion for youth with disabilities? How do we move beyond the limits that approaches like inclusion place on youth with disabilities’ opportunities to lead, contribute, and grow in the church? Review practical approaches to ministry for youth with disabilities, explore case studies and real life challenges, and equip yourself with pursuing your own models and strategies for empowering youth with disabilities toward leadership and discipleship; facilitating spiritual formation across the body of Christ.
Senior pastor of Manhattan Bible Church, a multicultural church located in the Inwood section of Manhattan (NYC), Kermit Moss is the Interim Director for the Center for Black Church Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary where he is presently a fourth year PhD student. His research interests include Hip Hop, theology, and urban youth.
Session: Christ Formation and City Youth
Youth living in urban centers encounter a variety of experiences (both positive and negative) which shape how they make meaning of their reality, view themselves, and conceive God. This seminar examines Christ formation and urban youth; the continued process by which being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, transformed by the Holy Spirit, and bearing witness to God’s grace by living out the gospel in the world. Attention will be paid to theological, spiritual, moral, and identity formation as related to urban youth.
A veteran youth worker and Associate Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Toms River, NJ, Wes Ellis was born and raised in California and has lived in New Jersey since 2012. Currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Aberdeen, Wes occasionally blogs for the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary and for Kindred Youth Ministry. He has written and presented on the topics of adolescence, joy, friendship, and thinking theologically about youth ministry.
Erik “Skitch” Matson
Skitch is a native Californian whose interests include intergenerational ministry, the connections between spirituality and art, hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, and the great outdoors. He currently serves as the Discipleship Pastor at Princeton UMC and as the Wesley Foundation Director at Princeton University.
Youth Track Session: Who’s God Calling You to Be?
If you are a young person in our society, there are a lot of people calling you to be a lot of different things and telling you what you should do. Your parents, teachers, coaches, friends, and pastors want you to be someone. While everyone wants you to do and be something, who is God actually calling you to be? This two-part Youth Track Seminar will explore that question. By searching scriptures and asking questions about how we should view all the expectations around us, we’ll learn to discern God’s calling in our lives and begin looking for ways to live out God’s calling at home, our churches, and communities.
A worship leader, songwriter and coach, Eric Drew is passionate about bridging the rich traditions of the church into new generations, spaces, and sounds. In 2017 Eric released his first full-length album of worship music, Center of It All. He is inspired by custom-built guitars, local coffee shops, books on leadership, and his beautiful wife and twin girls.
Worship with Next Gen Disciples
Research has shown that half of young people have written and recorded their own song. Next generations of disciples are incredibly creative. However, engaging them in worship services and worship planning in our churches has been a challenge. How can you engage next generation disciples to add energy and freshness to worship? Come to find out more.
Rev. Charles Perez was born and raised in Newark, NJ. He earned a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from Bloomfield College and went on to Drew Theological Seminary to earn a Masters of Divinity. Presently, Perez is a Provisional Elder in GNJ serving as Senior Pastor at First UMC in Dover, N.J., and the Associate Pastor at Morristown UMC for the Hispanic ministry Nueva Esperanza.
Making Disciples of Young People Through Their Language & Culture
Get a better understanding of the mindset of our young people in how they connect with God and how we can make space and opportunities for them to continue in their relationship. It is a discovery and a journey in understanding how our young people become the church of today, where they can be who they are within their language and culture.