Monday, November 23, 2009

Youth Ministry Symposium Draws Large Crowd to Gordon College

Gordon College is a busy place. Add a crowd of youth workers to that buzz and you’d swear you’ve never seen so many rowdy, passionate individuals together before. November 5 was one such day. The draw? Christian Ministries Day and the Youth Ministry Symposium were held simultaneously for youth and youth workers around New England.
Over 200 people, compared to last year’s 135, attended the event sponsored by the Christian Ministries Department, the Office of Church Relations and the Admissions Office. It was perhaps the largest gathering of youth workers in New England in a very long time, according to Bob Whittet, associate professor of Christian ministries and director of church relations.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Scott Larson—an adjunct professor at Gordon and head of Straight Ahead Ministries—taught two sessions on “Reaching Today’s Troubled Teens” and “Teaching for Transformational Change” in the Ken Olsen Science Center’s MacDonald Auditorium. But you wouldn’t have known it. The large-scale lecture hall took on the smaller and warmer tone of a house church or classroom as people responded to the talks and asked questions.
Larson was up for the task. His experience working with troubled teens in gangs gave insight to youth workers in all fields. He talked about how every behavior serves to meet a need, solve a problem or manage an emotion.
“Scott knows his stuff so well and his delivery is so authentic,” said Susie Richardson of Campus Crusade for Christ. “You can tell he draws from a deep well of experience and wisdom.”
This was also an important day for the Gordon College Christian Ministries Department, who officially presented the expanded Christian ministries programs to the visiting youth and youth workers.
Mark Cannister, along with Sharon Ketcham and Whittet—
professors of Christian Ministries—discussed the new Christian ministries major as now including concentrations in youth ministries, juvenile justice ministries (taught by Larson), global Christianity, urban ministries, and outdoor education ministries.
“When we saw the list of ministries that our graduates were involved in, we recognized we were preparing students for far more than typical youth ministry,” said Whittet. “Our new department name acknowledges and celebrates that.”

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