1. In Dependence
Michael Hall | Director of Training | RYM | Charlottesville, VA
While for the first part of our lives we grow up mostly dependent upon our parents (or others) to meet our needs, as we get a little older we start reaching for independence. Something almost instinctive inside us longs for it and so much of our cultural and daily experience promotes it - independence. It’s in our history and part of what it means to “be an American”...for we celebrate our Declaration of Independence! To be sure, there is plenty of truth and health involved when you begin to grow into your own person and take responsibility for your life...your own thoughts, words, and deeds. However, as we do this we often begin to experience a great deal of stress and anxiety because we are all too aware of our weaknesses and limitations. In contrast, the Bible has a lot to say about our lives being marked with joy, peace, and purpose even though we are weak. Is it possible to become more independent and experience this joy and peace at the same time? Yes! Join us in this seminar as we consider how the quest for independence, without a proper understanding of what it means to be human, will actually restrict freedom, joy, and peace. For to be truly human we must remain dependent upon God through each and every day. Join us for some fun and encouraging content helping us better understand what it means to live in dependence!
Michael lives in Charlottesville, VA with his wife Kirby and their three kiddos - McKenzie (16), Carter, (15), and John Thomas (13). He’s served in youth ministry since 1996 in churches in SC, MO, and VA and is now the Director of Training with RYM. He was born and raised in Louisiana so he’s a big LSU fan, but he knows God loves him in a special way because he graduated from Ole Miss! He loves being with people, enjoying the outdoors, laughter, good books, good food, and because it deserves it’s own category, bacon.
2. The Story of My Life
Ashley Wilkinson | St. Louis, MO
Standing in the doorway to her new classroom her stomach tightens as the looks and whispers begin.... looking in the mirror all she can see are the flaws... sitting in church she wonders if the congregation would kick her out if they knew what she did last night... every day, everywhere, the voice whispers, “You are not enough; no one will love the real you; you are worthless.”
This story sound familiar? How often has this voice bullied you, whispering ceaselessly until you believed what it said? What if I told you that wasn’t the only story out there? That there was another voice, another narrative, more powerful, more beautiful more true than anything. Come join me as we learn to listen, and ask, “Which one is the story of my life?”
Ashley lives in St Louis MO with her husband Dave and new son Clark (why yes he is the cutest baby in the world thanks for noticing!). She graduated from Covenant Seminary in May 2017 and now works as a pediatric/adolescent counselor with some of the most fabulous people in the world at Generations Counseling in Cottleville. She loves sushi, The Greatest Showman, Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road album, and her firstborn pup Nemo. Ashley grew up going to RYM conferences and is very grateful for this opportunity to return “home”.
3. YouTube & Tacos
John Spencer | Director of Student Ministries | Kirk of the Hills | St. Louis, MO
The things that we consume tell us a lot about who we are because what we consume reveals what we are passionate about. We consume things because we have a desire for something. We feel hungry, so we eat, but what happens when you are starving? You don’t just eat, you feast. You have an uncontrollable feeling to eat and any food in sight is just an answer to fill the void within your stomach in hope that you never have that feeling of hunger again. However, to consume means much more than just the things that we eat, but it includes the things that we watch or listen to. The biggest problem with that is that we may consume something we regret or something we shouldn’t have because we are simply trying to fill our stomachs or minds with something we are craving and to avoid the feeling of hunger. Because of this, we develop a burning passion for things to satisfy our cravings.
This class will help define passion, desire, and consumption of all things. It will affirm that these emotions are given to us by God. These emotions can be and are meant for glorifying God by properly utilizing them in all that we do and how we pursue one another. We will also talk about how passion, desire, and consumption can be misused or mistaken as something that is wrong.
I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but attended Greenville College in Greenville, IL where I pursued a degree in Youth Ministry. There I participated on the Cross Country and Track team all four years. Since then, I have spent the past 10 years serving in youth ministry through various churches and ministries while coaching XC & Track at various High Schools. After graduating from Covenant Seminary, I began to serve as the Director of Student Ministry at Kirk of the Hills in St. Louis, MO where my wife (Carrie) and kids (Hannah, Eliza, & ?) wake up every day knowing that this is where God has called us. We love the Kirk, St. Louis, and everything about youth ministry.
4. The Ways of the Word
Making Sense of Scripture
Greg Meyer | Assistant Pastor of Youth | Covenant Presbyterian Church | St. Louis, MO
"You need to read your Bible!" How many times have you heard this or been given this advice?! While this is good counsel, oftentimes we struggle to read the Bible because it’s a hard book to read! The Bible is a collection of ancient books, from a different culture, spanning across history, and yet it is the very Word of God that reveals God to us, speaks to modern life, and is intended to change us from the inside-out. Jesus Himself emphasizes in Matthew 4:4 that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” But how do we learn to “eat” this word that is intended sustain and change us? How can the Bible become for you the life-changing book that it is - revealing God to you? We need help, and we need guides as we desire to learn the ways of the Word. This elective class hopes to provide exactly that: guidance in the ways of the Word as you, by the power of the Spirit, try to make sense of Scripture - so that you might “eat," be satisfied, and share with others the “good food” you have tasted.
Though an Air Force brat, Greg grew up primarily in Kennesaw, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. During the end of high school, he came to faith in Jesus through the influence of his Christian school and his mom. After high school, he attended and graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, with a degree in Industrial Engineering. After college, Greg worked as an engineer for the Air Force for two years. Greg is married to Mary Jane and they have two sons, Grey and Davis, as well as another baby on the way! Greg is a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary and has served in youth ministry in both Georgia and Mississippi before moving to St. Louis to serve as the Assistant Pastor of Youth at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Greg loves sports (basketball especially), playing guitar and percussion, discovering new music, cooking, reading, watching Netflix, going on family walks, and wrestling with his sons.
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