Pastors are encouraged to take time for continuing education. Conferences, seminars, reading weeks. Whatever works to gain new knowledge and rejuvenate one’s soul and passion for ministry. I’ve been itching to do some continuing education and my hope for 2019 was to attend such an event.

However, to do so meant adding a bit more on my plate during a very busy month. Like stepping onto an airplane not long after “He is risen!” is sung, and stepping off a plane to a lock-in with our confirmands. And yet, I’m thrilled.

The conference I’m attending (or will have attended by the time you read this) is entitled “The Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry – Movement: Mission, Body, and Justice.” It’s part of Princeton Theological Seminary’s Institute of Youth Ministry, one of two such organizations on youth ministry in the country.

You will likely have heard some of this by the time May’s newsletter is sent but… I fly into Philadelphia the morning after Easter, where I’ll use my Sabbath day to visit the city. Then I’ll drive up to Princeton, New Jersey for the forum. I return only a few hours before the confirmation dinner and lock-in. This tight timeline has me a bit stressed but I’m so excited for the conference, so I’m not too worried. I’ve been so grateful for the help I’ve received with the confirmation dinner and lock-in from the mentors, Dr. Wolf and many others. Thank you all!

At the youth forum, I’ll be attending seminars by some of the best in the field of youth ministry. I’ll be hearing new thoughts, engaging with other youth pastors and leaders, worshipping with my brothers and sisters and so much more. I’ve egistered for my electives and small group discussions with such titles as “Ministry in the Secular Age” and “Biblical Foundations for Innovation in Youth Ministry.” Rachel Held Evans, author of my Lent book study, Inspired, will be there one evening. I’m beyond excited to hear her speak.

My hope is to bring back a renewed spirit for youth ministry and to bring back new ideas and hopes for our youth groups. Because that’s what continuing education should be – a chance to renew my soul and passion for the ministry I do but to also learn, to add ideas and tools to my ministry bag. And for this, I am grateful and excited.

Thank you all for your constant support. I’ll have a full report of my trip when I return. Since the whole point of this is to use these new tools, you’ll hopefully be seeing what I learned with the youth and other ministries here at church.

And perhaps see me a bit more revived in spirit.

Pastor Amanda