2021 Speakers & Classes


DAILY: Soul Care

EARLY MORNING DEVO: Tues.-Thur. – 8:00AM
ROOM: Oceanview

TEXTUAL: Ephesians

ROOM: Coquina B
Patrick Mead
Patrick and Kami have been married over 34 years and have two grown children as well as three grandchildren. Patrick is the son of missionaries and has lived and worked in many countries. Trained as a scientist, he continues teaching special courses at state universities and to law enforcement groups. His passion is seeking for truth and then delivering it in a spirit of joy and good will. He enjoys shooting, reading, and the occasional game of golf. Kami is an interior designer with a special emphasis on residential applications. She is also a figure skater and loves to spend time with her grandsons.

TUESDAY, January 5, 2021

Sexuality, Identity, and Ministry

Ministry to teens with diverse understandings of identity and what the Bible says about who we are is perhaps the greatest challenge of church in our century. We’ll break down the essentials of human identity, Biblical sexuality, and practical ministry for LGBTQ+ students and their families.

WORKSHOP: Tuesday, 9-12:00 PM
ROOM: Ponce de Leon

Adam Mearse
Dr. Adam Mearse spent over 20 years in youth ministry before moving into formal education as a secondary school theology teacher and principal. He is the author of We Need to Talk – Creating Space for Healthy Conversation About Sexuality . Adam helps churches, schools, and families engage in important and challenging conversations regarding sexuality and Christian witness. He is the proud husband of Christina and father to three children who think he talks about sexuality too much. 

The End of Youth Ministry

After half a century of advice books on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of youth ministry, Root is the first practical theologian to seriously tackle the ‘why’ of youth ministry–why even do youth ministry in the first place? Using a Kierkegaardian fable as his foil, Root explores deficient ways we justify youth ministry, and then dives headlong into joy as the reason it matters. Root has made a career out of challenging the youth ministry industry, but this is his most important youth ministry book to date. The end of youth ministry? Hardly. This is where it starts.

WORKSHOP: Tuesday, 9-12:00 PM
ROOM: Coquina B&C

Andrew Root
Andrew Root (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is the Carrie Olson Baalson professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. A former Young Life staff worker, he has served in churches and social service agencies as a youth outreach associate and a gang prevention counselor.
Dr. Andrew Root is the Carrie Olson Baalson Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary, USA. He writes and researches in areas of theology, ministry, culture and younger generations.  His most recent books are The Pastor in a Secular Age: Ministry to People Who No Longer Need God (Baker, 2019), Faith Formation in a Secular Age (Baker, 2017), and Exploding Stars, Dead Dinosaurs, and Zombies: Youth Ministry in the Age of Science (Fortress Press, 2018).

The Creatives

After half a century of advice books on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of youth ministry, Root is the first practical theologian to seriously tackle the ‘why’ of youth ministry–why even do youth ministry in the first place? Using a Kierkegaardian fable as his foil, Root explores deficient ways we justify youth ministry, and then dives headlong into joy as the reason it matters. Root has made a career out of challenging the youth ministry industry, but this is his most important youth ministry book to date. The end of youth ministry? Hardly. This is where it starts.

WORKSHOP: Tuesday, 9-12:00 PM
ROOM: Oceanview
Todd Lloyd, David Knox, David Skidmore, Greyson Tucker

Growing Young – Helping Young People Discover & Love Your Church

Okay, we get it!  Teenagers are walking out of church after graduation.  What if, Instead of focusing on the problem, we focus on why teenagers are coming back and staying engaged?  The Growing Young research continues to explore and provide practical answers to that question.  In this workshop, a practical overview of  the Growing Young research and implications for youth ministry practice will be provided.  I know, I got the book and can read it myself.  What’s new about this workshop?  We will unveil the results and talk about the implications for youth ministry practice arising out of the recent research project conducted by the Fuller Youth Institute and Lubbock Christian University on how churches of Christ are doing in regards to the Growing Young competencies.   This class will help us think critically and give language to help us talk about the future of youth ministry practice in our Faith tribe and provide a practical path forward.

WORKSHOP: Tuesday, 9-12:00 PM
ROOM: Coquina G & H
David Fraze

Making a Big Impact in a Small Church

Description is “In this class, we will discuss ways to navigate the challenges that small church youth ministers face and the benefits that come with working with a small youth group.

CLASS: Tuesday, 2-3:00 PM
ROOM: Oceanview
George Galindo
George is a ACU grad and current Student Minister at New Beginnings Church in Houston,Tx. He loves working with teenagers and loves beating them in competitions even more. His favorite part of Youth Ministry is seeing God work through his teens. He resides in Houston with his beautiful wife Stephanie, his newborn Caleb, and his two crazy dogs.

Ministering to Teenagers with Special Needs

In this class we will provide practical answers to the following questions: What are special needs? How can I minister to families of teenagers with special needs? How can I equip my ministry to be more inclusive?

CLASS: Tuesday, 2-3:00 PM
ROOM: Ponce de Leon
Hanna Thrasher
I graduated from Harding University with a degree in Special Education (K-12) in 2018. From there, I immediately began working at Highland in Memphis, TN as a youth minister. I am passionate about the church embracing and involving those with different abilities so that they will experience the love of Christ.

Helping your spouse (and you) love ministry

Being the spouse of a minister creates a unique roll for everyone. Wether you are 100% in for all things youth ministry or on the opposite end of the spectrum there are ways we as spouses can help our ministers love what they do. Let’s learn together the importance of being the supportive sounding board that they need!

CLASS: Tuesday, 2-3:00 PM
ROOM: Coquina C
Courtney Mankin
Courtney is the wife of Joseph Mankin, who has been serving as a youth minister at Hillsboro Church for almost 15 years. She has been working at an K-8 school since 2005. Together she and her husband have 2 children (Noland and Corlee) and have many years of experience doing ministry together.
Stephanie Forrester
 Stephanie has supported and worked alongside her husband Robbie in student ministry for the last 19 years at the Brentwood Hills Church of Christ in Nashville, TN. A Nashville native, she worked at her home church as a summer intern and an interim youth minister at Otter Creek. The couple has a 16-year old son named Tyler and an 11-year old daughter named Tinsley.  Stephanie graduated from Lipscomb University with a major in English.  She works both as a family travel advisor and a new construction home designer. She has a healthy obsession with all things travel, especially Disney. The Hogwarts sorting hat also put her in the Hufflepuff House!.


CLASS: Tuesday, 2-3:00 PM
ROOM: Coquina G
Patrick Chappell
Patrick Chappell has served as a minister for Otter Creek’s College and Young Adults since 2011.
Patrick has spent many years ministering – interning at Mayfair Church of Christ in Huntsville, AL, Harpeth Hills Church of Christ and Otter Creek Church, as well as the Connect Team leader at Ethos Church in Downtown Nashville. Among the various ways Patrick creates curiosity and connection, he hosts the “Patrick Podcast.”

How to Win in Your Local Community

What do you WANT your ministry to be known for? What is it ACTUALLY known for? In this class, we’ll take a deeper dive into clarifying your vision for local outreach as well as looking at applicable steps you can take to win in your local schools and the neighborhood around your church.

WORKSHOP: Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 PM
ROOM: Ponce de Leon
Josh Hardcastle
Josh is the High School Minister at the Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene, TX. He also is the Character Coach for the Abilene High Football team. Josh loves to be out in the community and involved with the neighbors around Southern Hills. His passion is to partner with and equip parents and small group leaders in leading the next generation into a deeper relationship with Jesus.

WEDNESDAY, January 6, 2021

Race, Unity, Privilege

CLASS: Wednesday, 11-12:00 PM
ROOM: Overview
B. Chris Simpson
B.Chris is passionate about racial healing and multiculturalism. He works and lives in Memphis, Tennessee where he ministers to the Holmes Road Church of Christ, a multicultural congregation. He is also the founder of UnpopularMe a ministry offering speaking services and church consultation on racial unity, youth/young adult outreach and confronting cultural issues.
Travis Harris

Elders…from Enemy to Ally!

Thesis: Elders. They’re intimidating, they’re old and cranky, they are stuck in their ways and they don’t understand what you do! Sometimes, they seem like your biggest enemy! In this class we will talk about how to win them over and help them to become your greatest ally!

CLASS: Wednesday, 11-12PM
ROOM: Coquina C
Steve Awtrey
Steve Awtrey grew up in St. Louis and spent 25 years as a youth minister in his home town. He is an elder with the McKnight Crossings church of Christ, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Missouri and Illinois, and has been the Executive Director of Christian Family Services for the past 13 years.


Media 101:

Not sure where to begin or feeling stuck in a communication rut? Come join us for a collaborative discussion of the use of media in youth ministry and church engagement. 

CLASS: Wednesday, 11-12PM
ROOM: Coquina G
James & Whitney Lane
James & Whitney serve at the Church of Christ in Green Hills .

Organized Youth Ministers – Mythical Beings?

We’ve all seen the memes shared from social media pages (usually by your preacher) about unorganized & lazy Youth Ministers. The unfortunate news is that those jokes & memes are most times based on some reality, and we have earned those reputations. What we claim as flexibility is sometimes nothing more than procrastination & not knowing what to do next. But if you want to stay at your job (& in Youth Ministry) for a long time, you’ve got to find a way to get organized and be seen as someone that can be trusted to lead a group of students and parents and volunteers.
This class will be the “ying” to the “yang” of the Creativity Class. Being creative is essential to connecting with teens, but being organized will help you find the space & time to be creative. Planning out calendars, curriculum, and even organizing your office can help you find the time to recruit more volunteers, connect with a student one-on-one, and even enjoy the truly rare – a day off! Not to mention what it will do for the way your co-workers, parents, Elders, and your own family will appreciate the job you do and the way you serve the teens & families in your ministry.
Bring your questions about the areas you need to get organized in, the ideas that have worked for you, and we’ll share those with each other to help us all come up with some plans that will work for us & our ministries!

CLASS: Wednesday, 2-3PM
ROOM: Ponce de Leon
Josh Jones
Josh is married to Shiloh and they have two daughters – Addison is 11 (& will be joining the Youth Group this summer!) and Morgan is 8, and they all live in Denver, CO. He is the Youth & Family Minister at the University Church of Christ and has been there for 16 years. He is reluctantly leaning into the role of being one of the “old guys” in Youth Ministry, and he doesn’t plan to do any other job anytime soon.

My Kid Farted in the Prayer Circle: The Sometimes-Turbulent Adventure of Ministry with YOUR OWN Children in the Youth Group

I am blessed with three great kids. At one point, all three were in my youth group at the SAME time! Our experience has been incredibly positive, but we have certainly learned some lessons along the way. Join us in this session as we explore the blessings and challenges of ministry with your own children in the youth group.  

CLASS: Wednesday, 2-3PM
ROOM: Oceanview
Dave Blanchard
Dave lives in Central Pennsylvania where he serves the Watermarke Church of Bellefonte. If you need a friend in ministry or your church could benefit from some outside perspective, please contact Dave atwww.contemplativepragmatist.com.

Equipping Volunteers

You will get ideas on how to: Involve parents. Find volunteers. Convince them to serve teens. Train them. Encourage them. Love them. Keep them. Honor them.

CLASS: Wednesday, 2-3PM
ROOM: Coquina C
Buster Clemens
Buster has been married to Kim since 1982. Their 3 sons are grown and married. He has been a youth minister at Highland in Memphis since 1987. He serves with Donnie Stover and Hanna Thrasher. He attended Memphis and worked in sales for 5 years before becoming a youth minister. Buster directs Memphis Workcamp.

Adapt, react, readapt, apt…Youth Ministry During A Pandemic

Many of us have had events that we spent weeks planning that have been cancelled. The anxiety we’ve experienced in trying to be effective youth ministers while not being able to execute our traditional youth ministry programs is real. You aren’t alone. In this class, a panel of youth ministers in various contexts will share what we’ve learned and what we are still learning about doing youth ministry in a pandemic.

CLASS: Wednesday, 3:30-4:30 PM
ROOM: Ponce deLeon

Justin Taylor
Justin served two and half years at the Memorial Road Church of Christ, in Edmond, Oklahoma serving as a Minister in Residency. Shortly after his intensive residency, Justin and Sara placed their membership and began working with the Crosstown church of Christ in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he served as the youth and family minister for 5 years until joining the staff at Grapevine Church of Christ, In Grapevine Texas on March 22, 2015. Outside of the church service, he enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, and spending time with his family and friends.

Live Streaming Your Logo 

So you’ve got a logo but you’re not quite sure how to use it and now your church is online but your volunteers didn’t know live stream existed before 2020. Bring your design ideas, your marketing plans and your questions as we will do our best to help you and your teams! Please know that Adobe CC, Final Cut Pro and Pro Presenter will be used and demonstrated. 

CLASS: Wednesday, 3:30-4:30 PM
ROOM: Coquina C
Joseph Mankin
Joseph Mankin has served as the Youth Minister at Hillsboro Church of Christ since 2006. He is the creative director for the National Conference on Youth Ministries and was a Barna Research Lab representative for the churches of Christ. He has a degree in Graphic Design from Lipscomb University. He and his wife Courtney live in Nashville, TN with their two children. 

THURSDAY, January 7, 2021

30/60 (Long-tenured YM)

30+ years of youth ministry, knocking on the door of age 60. How does an old YM operate successfully in a world of 20 & 30 year olds? Where does their drive, creativity and energy come from? What was your experience working with your own kids in your youth group? Come and listen to the good, the bad and the ugly of long tenured youth ministry.

CLASS: Thursday, 11-12
ROOM: Oceanview
Rick Odell
Youth minister for 30 years in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arkansas. Heart for students, domestic and international missions and the lost. Currently lives in Fort Smith, AR.

Pandemic Proof Youth Ministry:  How to thrive when everyone else is scrambling

2020 may have severely impacted you, your family, your church and your work.  If anything it may have exposed the often shallow ways we try to build our groups, connect with our teens, and make disciples.   In this class we will explore how to apply the foundational elements of Discipleship to make our youth ministry resilient.

CLASS: Thursday, 11-12PM
ROOM: Ponce de Leon
Beau Davis
Beau is the CEO and co-owner of Olive Branch Family Therapy Inc and has served as the Youth and Executive Minister at Singing Oaks Church of Christ in Denton, TX since 2006. He holds a Master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy, a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and Bachelor of Science in Youth and Family from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. He and His wife Jill have two sons; Tyce and Jace, and one daughter, Skye.

Soul care in isolation

Ever find yourself feeling all alone in the midst of the teens and parents you are serving? Isolation is part of ongoing ministry. We find ourselves serving others and being in a place where we are often isolated from the support we need and crave in ministry. We will discuss ways to cope with isolation and strategies to help you find support when you feel alone in your ministry. Join us for encouragement and practical tips in this class.

CLASS: Thursday, 11-12PM
ROOM: Coquina G
Beth Robinson
Dr. Beth Robinson is a Professor in the Pediatrics Department at TTUHSC. She is a licensed professional counselor, an approved supervisor for licensed professional counselors, and a certified school counselor. She earned a doctorate in Counselor Education at Texas Tech University, a master’s in Education Counseling at West Texas State University and bachelors at Oklahoma Christian College. Dr. Robinson has written several books and developed therapeutic coloring books for foster children. She is Super Smart, Loves God and Super good with Teens!