Big Ideas In Youth Ministry: Fearless Dialogues

Big Ideas In Youth Ministry: Fearless Dialogues

August 28, 2019Fearless Dialogues is the theme of the Big Ideas in Youth Ministry Conference the Center for Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary November 5-7, 2019.

The conference kicks off Wednesday morning with Gregory C. Ellison II, Ph.D., the dynamic founder of Fearless Dialogues, leading a session to prepare participants to engage in the work that the movement models: “heartfelt conversations that see gifts in others, hear value in stories, and work for change and positive transformation in self and other.” The morning plenary session will continue over lunch to prepare to go deeper during the conference and back home.

Jason Brian Santos, Ph.D., mission coordinator for faith formation for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, will facilitate a second plenary, Generational Conversations, exploring the characteristics of current and emerging generations and implications for youth ministry.

“We must find ways to wrestle honesty, and in community, with the “big ideas” and difficult topics that face our young people today,” said Michelle Thomas Bush, chair of the conference planning team. “Youth ministry can equip us to engage in these conversations faithfully, with biblical and theological grounding.”

The conference agenda includes worship as well as workshops on the following topics, led by experienced youth ministry leaders:

Youth Ministry in an

Over-Programmed WorldChris Sarkowski

Owning Our Story as Leaders Sam Perkins

RacismAmy Kim Kyremes Park

Sexual Ethics Brittany Porch and Melanie Baum

In Harm’s Way: Suicide Michelle Thomas Bush

Queer Theology  – Shelley Donaldson

and Social Justice Advocacy Billy Honor

Two lunches and refreshments are provided with registration. An optional pre-conference social and supper on Tuesday evening will allow participants to connect and begin the critical conversations that will continue throughout the conference. Hosted at Sweet Melissa’s on the Square in Decatur, the menu will include a variety of small plates and heavy appetizers sufficient for supper, with some vegan and gluten-free options. The additional fee for this event is $20.

Click HERE to register for the conference. A detailed schedule will be posted after Labor Day. For more information about the Center for Lifelong Learning and their other courses and certificate programs, visit or email the CLL at

Columbia Theological Seminary “exists to educate and nurture faithful, imaginative, and effective leaders for the sake of the Church and the world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia offers six graduate degree programs and up to 60 courses and events each year as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL). The Center for Lifelong Learning offers three other certificate programs including training spiritual directors, two scholars programs, and a post-graduate Pastoral Excellence Program that is focused on clergy leadership development. Over 800 persons attended CLL’s programs last year. For more information, please visit

Program Contact:
Sarah Erickson
Director, Lifelong Learning

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