The Gospel Coalition's outstanding National Conference took place this week in Orlando, Florida. As usual it featured a host of top speakers, superb music from Keith and Kristyn Getty and a plethora of breakout sessions. But this time, there was something brand new: a focus on youth work.
The Good Book Company sponsored two workshops, the first looking at Jesus' mission to the next generation led by Dave Wright and Tim Hawkins, and the second thinking about how to build a youth ministry based "on Jesus rather than jokes" with Nate Morgan Locke and Josh Cousineau. Several hundred youth workers attended the sessions which inspired a host of conversations, many delegates staying on afterwards to discuss their particular situations with the speakers.
On the final day, The Good Book Company put on a Youth work panel, moderated by Tim Challies and including all of the previous day's speakers. The session covered topics as varied as youth ministry philosophy, time management and the most important foundation of all work with young people: making- and keeping - the gospel central. Tim Hawkins said "Youth ministry is an area that is often overlooked and under-resourced, so it was fantastic to be able to encourage these guys and think together about keeping our youth ministries centered on Jesus."
Both Tim Hawkins and Nate Morgan Locke are staying in the US with speaking engagements and training events lined up across the country. As well as training, Nate is introducing the new look line up for Christianity Explored's youth range which launched at the conference. "It's great to be able to spend time with my counterparts in the US" said Nate, "and our prayer at Christianity Explored, is that these new-look youth resources will be a great blessing to the church as they reach out to a new generation."