Cultivate Main Session Conversations

Main Session Conversations


At Cultivate 2020 we will explore how we can engage theology and innovation in our ministries to lead young people to lives that flourish. Each main session is centered around a realistic case study drawn from actual youth ministry experiences. Instead of listening to a keynote speaker’s “usual schtick,” our Dialogue Partners will lend their expertise and wisdom to addressing the real-live case study before we set you free to converse in small groups of youth workers to address the case study yourselves. In each session you’ll have opportunity to hear multiple solutions and approaches from other youth workers and experts in the room — ways of responding that will expand your own thoughts, theology and ways of responding.



Human Flourishing as a Root Metaphor for Youth Ministry

Speakers: Kenda Creasy Dean, William Parker, and David White

Youth ministry in the modern era has been guided by a variety of root metaphors (discipleship, friendship, family-based, adoption, relational, discernment, etc.) that enable us to see something true about the practice of youth ministry. What if youth ministry embraced “human flourishing” as a root metaphor? Could our youth ministries develop thriving young people amidst growing adolescent anxiety, as a result? What do we gain when we address wholeness in the life of a young person?

Moving from Consumption and Success to Human Flourishing

Speakers: Matt Overton and Kenda Creasy Dean

The modern world teaches us that consumption and achievement will yield happiness and fulfillment in life. While the consumption of things and people sometimes yields fun or momentary happiness, only rarely does consumption lead to a flourishing life. We are made to flourish but find ourselves grasping for momentary, incomplete, and sometimes, idolatrous fun.  How can we move young people towards a life of fulfillment in the midst of our consumer and achievement-driven culture? What does the “good life” look like through the lens of the Gospel in areas of wealth and in areas of poverty?

Engaging Theology and Innovation in Youth Ministry

Speakers: Kenda Creasy Dean, Andrew Zirschky, and Rev. Dietrich Kirk

The modern formula for youth ministry, which emphasizes gathering peer-based groups as the dominant model, needs updating. How can we rethink our ministries to lead toward the flourishing lives of adolescents rather than work toward simply improving our programs? What if we engaged practical theology and innovation to help create new models and approaches to ministering to teenagers that organically fit our congregational contexts?  

A Look at our own Youth Ministry Context

Speakers: Matt Overton, Jessica Holman, and Andrew Zirschky

Each generation of teenagers comes with its own unique challenges and gifts to society. Additionally, your community’s youth have their own specific needs, challenges, and resources.  What are they and what should youth ministry look like in light of your community’s needs, challenges and resources? Learning to uncover these and discovering why they are happening will allow you to imagine ministries that bring the Gospel into the practical lives of your teenagers. What if you could identify and maximize the unique gifts of those you serve and the resources in your surrounding community to lead people to meaningful work and lives that flourish, helping young people to explore their Christian vocation?

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