POTENTIAL SPEAKING TOPICS
I’m available for presentations and workshops on a variety of topics related to spirituality, faith formation, and ministry with children and youth in a wide range of settings. These potential speaking topics offer a taste of what I can bring to your church or event. Have another idea for how I can participate in your event? I’m happy to customize and create new presentations.
Will Our Faith Have Children?
Nurturing the Spiritual Lives of Children and Youth
How do children and adolescents experience and understand God? How can parents, grandparents, and church leaders cultivate authentic faith in young people? In this ecumenical workshop, I explore these questions through engaging presentations and interactive conversations. You will learn about how young people express their spiritual lives, explore your own understandings of spirituality, and gain practical suggestions for nurturing faith in children and youth—in families and churches.
As congregations adopt intergenerational approaches for worship, preaching practices often continue to be aimed for adults alone. I'll explore the final frontier of intergenerational ministry: the pulpit. Together, we'll discuss what it means to preach an intergenerational gospel and what techniques for all-age preaching are being forged by some of the most creative practitioners across the globe. Participants will be challenged to rethink what it means to proclaim the gospel and inspired to experiment with intergenerational preaching in their own contexts.
Re-Imagining Faith Formation
In this presentation, I will share about my journey of learning and unlearning assumptions about what faith formation is and how it should be done. Rather than giving “how-to” solutions, I’ll guide participants in thinking about how they can re-imagine faith formation with people of all ages by exploring five assumptions that I’ve had to give up and five new ideas that have come to take the centre stage in my own efforts to help people live as disciples of Jesus.
Children's Ministry in the Way of Jesus
Drawing from my book of the same name, I’ll chart a new path forward in our efforts to cultivate spiritual vitality in children and youth. By identifying areas of concern and diving into the search for responses to challenges and opportunities facing the contemporary church, I will offer innovative ideas and thoughtful practices for doing ministry with young people in ways that help form them into disciples of Jesus. I will address topics like the role of doubts and questions in faith formation, creating spaces of radical hospitality, fostering intergenerational relationships, and nurturing a spirit of justice and activism among children and youth.
Nurturing a Spirit of Interculturalism with Children and Youth
Does interculturalism matter to ministry with children and youth? In this presentation I will invite participants to imagine how children’s and youth ministry can become a catalyst for nurturing a spirit of intercultural respect and mutuality among young people. Whether teaching a Sunday school class of only a few kids or leading a youth group that’s bursting at the seams, whether ministering at a church that’s monocultural or one that’s incredibly diverse, participants will be challenged and inspired to engage in thoughtful ministry that helps youth and children take up the torch for becoming an intercultural church.
Nurturing Children and Youth through Spiritual Styles
Young people know God. And they encounter God in diverse ways along the spiritual journey. Amidst this diversity, four distinct avenues for connecting with God emerge: through words, emotions, symbols, and action. These are four spiritual styles, a concept Joyce Bellous developed to describe approaches to spirituality and faith. By drawing from my first book, Children’s Ministry that Fits, in which I use spiritual styles to understand the spiritual lives of children, I will help participants move beyond one-size-fits-all approaches to spiritual formation and nurture the spiritual lives of young people in ways that are hospitable of each and every spiritual style.
Small But Mighty
The (Untapped) Formational Potential of Smaller Churches
Bigger isn’t always better. I will guide participants through a journey of rediscovery by unpacking assumptions about spiritual formation and exploring the benefits of being a small church. I’ll challenge folks to find the potential in even the smallest of congregations and outline several ways that not-so-big churches can play to their natural strengths in the spiritual formation of their community.
More Radical than We Realize
Intergenerational Faith Formation
“Intergenerational” has become a hot topic for folks involved in faith formation. But what does it really mean to foster relationships among people of various ages? What do we gain? What do we lose? In this workshop/presentation, we’ll explore just how countercultural it is to engage in intergenerational ministry and how it holds the power to manifest God’s kingdom on earth.