The Presbyterian Youth Workers Association (PYWA) is preparing to celebrate its 10-year anniversary by going “To The Hills.” The national gathering of youth ministry leaders will be held at Zephyr Point Conference Center, which sits on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Oct. 12-16, 2016.
“I love the idea of being in such an intimate setting with such a diverse group of leaders,” says the Rev. Jeremy Wilhelmi, associate pastor for youth ministries at Salisbury Presbyterian Church in Midlothian, Va. “There’s such wide-range of workshop topics. It has something for everyone.”
Featured speakers at “To The Hills” are Columbia Theological Seminary Professor Rodger Nishioka, 30-year youth minister and youth worker veteran Stephani Caro, and renowned youth specialist Mark Yaconelli. The gathering’s workshops include:
- Everything you need to know about emerging adulthood
- Creating a place of welcome
- Cultivating service with youth and young adults
- Faithfully talking to youth about sex
- The adolescent brain and youth ministry
- The language of youth ministry
- The rhythm of spiritual practices
- Thriving youth ministries in smaller churches
PYWA moderator Brian Kuhn says relatively few people understand what it’s like to walk with young people as they discover Christ for the first time, to be there with them as they question whether God really loves them and to struggle with them when they don’t like themselves very much.
“That’s why I’m counting down the days until it begins,” he says. “When we gather as community it will be with people who understand us, who have been there. I recommend ‘To The Hills’ to all youth workers.”
PYWA Director Britton Varn, who coordinates youth ministry for the Presbytery of Arkansas, adds, “There’s nothing comparable to gathering with others who are in the same boat as you. No-one gets it like they do.”
A registration link, schedule, workshops and other information can be found at the "To The Hills" web page.