Youth Leader Training

Learn from nationally-respected experts and connect with other like-minded leaders.

Reserve your spot

Conference Hosts

Reserve your spot


Saturday, Feb 24 from 9:00am - 4:00pm (lunch provided)


Crossroads Bible Church
800 Scribner NW,
Grand Rapids MI 49504

Keynote Speakers

Ray Chang, TENx10 Collaboration
Raymond Chang is the Executive Director of the TENx10 Collaboration (out of Fuller Seminary). He is also the president of the Asian American Christian Collaborative, a pastor, and writer. Prior to his role at Fuller, Raymond served for 7+ years as the Associate Chaplain for Discipleship at Wheaton College. He also worked in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and served in the Peace Corps in Panama. He is currently pursuing his PhD on the intersection of Spirituality and Campus/Organizational Racial Climates. He is married to Jessica Chang and lives in Chicago.

Virginia Ward, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Virgina Ward serves as the Dean of the Campus of Urban Ministry Education at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. Her local and national involvement in the training and development of youth leaders spans three decades. A third-generation minister, Rev. Ward is an Associate Pastor at Abundant Life Church where her husband Bishop Larry Ward is the Senior Pastor.

Kelsey Woolner, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services
Dr. Kelsey Woolner is a pediatric neuropsychologist at the Psychological Consultation Center at Pine Rest. She has broad clinical experience including with children and adolescents and has also provided psychotherapy across a number of settings including intensive outpatient, community mental health, inpatient, residential, and outpatient. Outside of her clinical work, Dr. Woolner was a director for a camping ministry in California and worked in youth ministry with her husband for about 10 years. They currently reside in Grand Rapids.


To train leaders, in West Michigan and surrounding areas who care about teenagers, on the importance of relational discipleship radically focused on Jesus. The training will include main sessions with local and nationally-respected experts, breakout sessions hosted by local ministry experts, and time to connect with other like-minded leaders. Training topics will include discipleship, the importance of relationship, mental health, and more!


8:15 am: Registration opens

9:00 am: Main Session I

10:45 am: Break

11:15 am: Morning Breakout Sessions

12:30 pm: Lunch (provided)

1:30 pm: Main Session II

2:45 pm: Break

3:00 pm: Afternoon Breakout Sessions

4:00 pm: Event Concludes

Morning Breakout Sessions:
  • TENx10 Collaboration - Ray Chang and Robert Purvey from TENx10 [Garage]
  • Relational Discipleship - Virginia Ward from Gordon Conwell [Main gathering space]
  • Alpha Open Generation/Gen Z - Josh Penwell from Alpha [Upper Room North]
  • Christian Conflict Transformation - Jess Shults from Colossian Forum [Upper Room South]
  • Role of Senior Leaders in Youth Discipleship - Jake Mulder from Fuller and Chris Schoon from the CRCNA [Conference Room]
  • 3 Story Training - Dan Kregel and Barry Dykstra from Youth for Christ [Cave]
  • Perspectives from the Classroom: Division, Discipleship, and Deep Questions - Mark VanderWerf from Grand Rapids Christian Schools [Kid’s Main Area]
Afternoon Breakout Sessions:
  • Mental Health - Dr. Kelsey Woolner from Pine Rest [Main gathering space]
  • Alpha Open Generation/Gen Z - Josh Penwell from Alpha [Upper Room North]
  • Mentoring: Generation Spark & Team 43 - Ruth Langkamp from the RCA & Pam Van Putten from Hope College [Upper Room South]
  • New to Youth Work? Feeling disconnected?Join us to learn about the GR Discipleship Alliance and how being connected to other youth workers can help sustain your ministry long term. [Kid’s Main Area]
  • Youth for Christ Meetup [Upper Room North]
  • Young Life Meetup [Garage]

Registration has been extended until the day of the event (February 24) and you may register at the door. If you register at the door, we cannot guarantee lunch will be provided. Cost is $10 per person. You may purchase up to 10 tickets for a group or have each person buy individually.

If you have any questions or concerns or are in need of a scholarship, please contact

We are at a tipping point

We are at a tipping point where every year, 1 million young people are walking away from the abundant faith Jesus offers. It doesn't have to be this way, and there's a role pastors, ministry leaders who care about youth, and teachers can play.

Reserve your spot

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