YLT Leadership Training Events

Keeping the Heart: Proverbs 4:23

Rev. Joe Novenson - Evening Speaker
Senior Teaching Pastor - Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church
Lookout Mountain, TN

John Flavel wrote in the 1600's 'The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion is to keep the heart with God.' I am looking forward to gathering with you all at YLT as we look to God's word together to address the fight, the all out fight, to 'keep the heart with God.' We'll consider questions like: How does the inner person slip away? How do we recover from incremental collapse and soul paralyzingly emptiness? Thank you for inviting me to be with you again. I look forward to our time together in Nashville. May God bless you all.
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Joe Novenson has served as senior pastor at LMPC since 1996. He received his bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Rider College in 1974 and his Master of Divinity in 1978 from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Prior to coming to LMPC, Joe served at churches in Lexington, South Carolina and Augusta, Georgia. In addition to his role at LMPC, Joe serves on the board of Covenant Theological Seminary and spends much time speaking and sharing around the country. Joe and his wife Barb have three children and three grandchildren.


God's Word for Our Broken World

Dr. Ed Welch - Special Speaker
Counselor & Faculty Member - CCEF
Glenside, PA

Anxiety, anger and shame--these are universal problems. They are regular features of daily life for ourselves and those we serve. We will consider first how the Word speaks to our own hearts on these matters and then how we can offer the Word to others. We want to see how Scripture speaks more deeply than we might expect. We will also take a less common problem--such as depression--and appreciate how Scripture reaches even into today's complex problems and gives insightful pastoral direction. Along with Joe Novenson, I am looking forward to learning together.
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Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D. is a counselor and faculty member at CCEF. He earned a Ph.D. in counseling (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah and has a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. Ed has been counseling for over thirty years and has written many books and articles on biblical counseling, including When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Blame It on the Brain?; Depression; Running Scared; Shame Interrupted; and Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love. He and his wife, Sheri, have two married daughters and eight grandchildren. In his spare time, Ed enjoys spending time with his wife and extended family and playing his guitar.


Maximizing Your Gifts for Ministry

Joe Deegan - Worship Leader
Singer/Song Writer
Houston, TX

Anyone who’s spent any time in ministry has, at some point, asked themselves this question: "Is this really what I’m called to do?” It’s easy to think of God’s calling for our lives as an intricate maze…if we make one wrong turn, we’ll never get back on track. To put it bluntly, we tend to think that God has a “Plan A” for our lives, and if we miss it, he shifts us over to “Plan B, C, D,” and so forth. But what if figuring out God’s calling was less like studying a cryptogram and more like looking into a mirror? What if God’s calling was more about recognizing the talents and desires that he’s given us and working to maximize those gifts for his glory? To be clear, I do not wish to minimize or demystify the enormous calling that God has placed on  each of our lives. I would, however, like to use this class to explore the purpose of individual gifts and talents in the grand scheme of ministry and of God’s kingdom. 
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Joe grew up in the small town of Tuscumbia, AL near the banks of the Tennessee River. He started playing guitar when he was 15 on a cheap, old fender he borrowed from a friend. A year later, he started banging around the old piano that sat in his living room. He fell in love with both and quickly discovered he had more of an interest in music than he realized. 
Joe found ways to play for churches and gatherings and friends throughout high school and college until he moved to Houston, TX to work as a youth pastor at Christ the King Presbyterian Church. He has since found a home in Houston with his wife Leah and his three kids Ellie, Sam, and Will, and he is now pursuing a full-time career in music. 
Joe wrote and recorded his debut album in March of 2015 called "The Risen King," an eleven song project that tells the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Joe's second album "Cover and Title Page" is now available too.  


Philosophy of Ministry Overview
Gospel Centered Teaching

Richie Sessions
RUF Campus Minister
Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN

Teaching the Bible often feels overwhelming.  Think of all that we face in trying to communicate to students:  ancient stories from foreign cultures (weird), short attention spans (bored), the glitter of social media (irrelevant), our limited time and resources...oh and we're are broken people with tons of insecurity. Whew.   This seminar is a chance to step and look at what the Bible is really about and how to communicate in a way that is faithful, relevant and authentically your own.
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Richie is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas. He and Laura met in college and were married in 2000. He graduated from Belmont University and attended Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. In 2004 he graduated from RTS with an Masters of Divinity. He ministered as the Associate Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, MS from 2004-2007 before becoming the Assistant Pastor to Young Adults at Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2009, Richie was called to be the Senior Pastor at IPC where he served until 2015. In 2015 Richie was called to RUF at Vanderbilt. Richie and Laura have three children, Mamie, Griffin, and Margaret.


Going Deeper in the POM

Les Newsom
RUF Area Coordinator
Oxford, MS

Les is a native of Memphis, TN and graduated from The University of Memphis in the 1991. He earned a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson graduating in 1994. In the Fall of '94, Les moved back to Memphis to start the ministry of RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) at The University of Memphis. He soon met and married Ginger Hubbard, a Jackson, MS native and Graduate of Ole Miss with her Masters in Mathematics. After five years in Memphis, Les was called to The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in the Fall of ’99. In the summer of 2011, Les accepted a position as Area Coordinator of RUF Midsouth, covering campuses in Alabama, Mississippi, West Tennessee and Arkansas. Les and Ginger are the proud parents of three beautiful children: Anna Grace, '99, Caroline, '01, and Luke, '04.


Getting Personal with the POM
Principles for Ministry

John Stone
RYM Youth Leader Advancement Coordinator
Knoxville, TN

John Stone was born in South Carolina and attended Clemson University, graduating in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education. John graduated in 1992 from Covenant Seminary. John is married to Marisa Tate who graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Arts in English. They have three wonderful children, Sarah 22, Katherine 19 and Mary Simpson 18. John was a campus minister for 11 years, 4 at Belhaven College (92-96) in Jackson Mississippi and for 7 years in Knoxville, TN at the University of Tennessee (96-03). John was the Assistant Coordinator (VP over ministry) for RUF for the last 15 years. In March, John left that job and is currently the RYM Youth Leader Advancment Coordinator, the part time Associate Pastor at Redeemer church in Knoxville and also the CEO of a small consulting firm. John and Marisa were married in 1992 and live in Knoxville, TN.


Integrating Gospel Sexuality into Student Ministry
Selecting/Writing Curriculum for Teaching Sexuality to Students

Cooper Pinson
Student Outreach Staff
Harvest USA

When I worked in student ministry, I constantly had questions regarding the best curriculum to use with my students. And, having sifted through many a small group study for The Student Outreach, I thought I would toss out some trends I’ve seen in curricula that desire to teach students about biblical sexuality.
There are numerous studies out there; some are good, and some are not so good. But at the end of this two-post series, I do want to offer you some resources that we have found profitable.
Some of us in youth ministry will even be lone-rangering it and putting together our own curriculum! So, whether you’re looking for a curriculum or about to create your own, let’s navigate some things we should be aware of and things we should look for when teaching our students about sex and sexuality.
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Having volunteered, interned, and been on staff, Cooper has served in various capacities in youth ministry and has a passion to help students live with sexual integrity as disciples of Christ. He serves as part of The Student Outreach staff at Harvest USA. Cooper, a Georgia native, graduated from Samford University, Birmingham, AL with a degree in History and a minor in Religion. He also has an MDiv with an emphasis in counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary, Glenside, PA, where he is currently a PhD student in Historical and Theological Studies. He and his wife, Katie, have one, beautiful daughter.


Failure is an Option: Learning from Our Mistakes in Youth Ministry

Matt Beham
Assistant Pastor of Youth Ministries
Redeemer Presbyterian Church - San Antonio, TX

I have had a note to myself hanging on my tack board (yes I have one of those) for a while which reads: "You are going to fail, so go for it." None of us wish to do poorly in ministry. We don't have a morbid desire to fail, but part of the difficulty of ministry is the reality that we have a dark calling. If Jesus' path was one of death and resurrection. so we should expect that ours is a path of dying to rise. Broad and easy is the path that leads to destruction, and narrow and difficult is that path that leads to life. In this class, we will talk about growing in courage as we engage our students and families, how we navigate mistakes - even sinful ones, and the hope we have in the great story of the Gospel that God is up to something in all of our strivings. 
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Matt Beham is the husband of Haley, a small town Texas girl, and the father of Elliotte, his three-year-old daughter with whom he is completely smitten. Haley and Matt have a baby boy on the way who is due on February 20. He is the Assistant Pastor of Youth Ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, where he has been working for the last nine years. His favorite place to turn off his iPhone is on the golf course.


Making the Most of 1:1 Ministry

Kurt Cooper
Minister to Youth
Trinity Presbyterian Church - Montgomery, AL

Kurt was born in Charleston, South Carolina, but calls Tupelo, Mississippi, his hometown. He is married to Marty, also from Tupelo, and they have two sons, Campbell and Grayson. Kurt received a B.A. in business administration from Mississippi State University, and his M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary.


Covenant Theology and the Implications for Youth and Family Ministry in the Church

Joey Stewart
RYM CEO
Signal Mountain, TN

Joey, a graduate of Ole Miss and RTS (Jackson, MS) spent several summers ministering to youth at Alpine Camp for Boys in Mentone, AL and Twin Lakes Camp in Florence, MS, before becoming the Director of Youth & Educational Ministries at FPC in Yazoo City, MS. He then served as the organizing and senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Cookeville, TN for 14 years before becoming the Executive Director RYM in 2007. Joey is married to Connie and together they have four children: Ashley, Joe, Hannah and Jennifer.


Shawn Stewart
World Outreach Coordinator of Mobilization
North Carolina

Shawn has served locally and overseas since 1981. He has spent his time training youth workers and leading teams to over 12 countries. A graduate of Wheaton College and Minnesota State University, Shawn’s current role with World Outreach involves tracking the application process for those who’ve been called to the field, coordinating new recruitment opportunities, expanding exposure to World Outreach, recruiting new global workers for Engage 2025, and personally securing funding through support-raising. He and his wife Lisa have 3 children and reside in North Carolina