A Master Class Winter/Spring 2022 Season Pass offers you free access to all of the MasterClasses offered between January through June 2022. Use it for your own development and to encourage others from your church ministry volunteers or team to enhance their skills and understanding in their areas of responsibility. You will receive a promo code for your team to be able to register for courses without charge. This season of MasterClasses includes the following offerings:
a Radical Welcoming Culture In Your Church—Jane Angha
• ‘They’re Not Coming Back’: Embracing a Paradigm Shift In Ministry—Mark
DeVries and Rob Dyer
Ministry Leaders Through Conflict—Jim LaDoux & Rev. Dr. Felix
• In a
Perfect World: 5 Shifts That Will Fuel Faith-Formation at Home—Dr.
Christian Smith, with Coaching Panel
• Learning the Practice of Faith-Formation
from Children—Rev. Dr. Tanya Eustace Campen
for Thriving: Learning the Practices of Impactful Churches—Dr. Nancy Going
People Struggling with Anxiety & Depression—Dr. Daniel Emina & Rick
Families with Practical Tools for Raising
Faithful Kids Sarah Bentley Allred
Community Engagement—Rudy Carrasco
Skills of Reconciling: Influencing Healthy Relational Environments—Fred
Oduyoye and Chris Cox
an Intimate Church Community—Rev. Dr. Tim Levert
the Faith to Toddlers & Preschoolers—Danielle Hitchen
Now, Not Yet, or Never?—Shannon Hopkins
We experience the best ministry moments, like the best moments in our best relationships, like unplanned miracles. The transformation we long to see in others’ lives often happensin spite of our best-laid plans and programs. But what if you could plan for these unplanned moments of transformation? And what if your impact as a ministry leader expanded exponentially because you learned how to follow where Jesus is leading in the moment, not simply follow your notes? And what if you discovered the skills that improv comedians have learned to maximize every interaction in your ministry? When we learn to lead others into “miracle moments,” the fruit is more powerful than a well-delivered message or lesson. This course is an immersive experience that delivers a hands-on experience in transformational ministry leadership. I’ll show you how to maximize the planned and predictable elements of your program with an infusion of improvisational leadership skills—this combination naturally leads to transformation in others’ lives and intimacy in their relationship with Jesus. Through innovative and highly engaging activities, hands-on experiences and feedback, and interactive learning, you’ll not only learn how to invite more of “improv” moments in your ministry, but grow in your ability to respond with impact in others’ lives.
More About Rick Lawrence
Rick is Executive Director of Vibrant Faith, and an award-winning author, journalist, cultural researcher, editor, and national speaker. He creates and leads interactive training for church and cultural leaders, parents, and teenagers and creates interactive online training courses. He’s authored hundreds of magazine articles and is the author, co-author, or editor of 40 books and curriculums. He’s the general editor of the #1 bestselling Jesus-Centered Bible, the recently released devotional Jesus-Centered Daily, and his latest book (co-authored with Dr. Daniel Emina) titled The Suicide Solution. He created and hosts the popular podcast Paying Ridiculous Attention to Jesus, now in its sixth year. Rick is married to Beverly Rose and has two daughters, Lucy Rose and Emma Grace.
Dates of Live Sessions:
Wednesday, January 19, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Wednesday, January 26, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
The latest research into the impact of the pandemic on churches reveals that half have experienced a serious disruption and half say they’ve struggled to maintain contact and community with members of their congregation. Things are changing, and that means your church or organization needs to change. But you’re not sure how to respond. Do you push for sweeping changes now, or wait?
Do you push for incremental changes or take a risk and launch something new? At a time when we’re all facing rapidly shifting landscapes and decision fatigue, how do we lead well, design effectively, and help others live out their calling?
In this MasterClass, you will move through a process that will help you know how and when to adapt, pivot, or plow on. You’ll get hands-on experience to learn this process, and practical help with how to implement it in your congregation.
Hopkins is the co-founder and the Lead Cultivator of RootedGood, a nonprofit based in the U.S. that empowers institutions, social enterprises and entrepreneurs to create systemic change. A Texas native, in 2004 Shannon moved to London and founded the nonprofit Matryoshka Haus. In 2020, Matryoshka Haus became three organizations, including the U.S.-based RootedGood. Hopkins has launched or influenced the formation of 15 campaigns, projects, and organizations and trained over 200 social entrepreneurs. In 2008, Shannon was awarded the Women of the UN and the UK’s Annual Woman of Peace Award for “The Truth isn’t Sexy,” a campaign that addressed the demand side of human trafficking.
Dates of Live Sessions:
Thursday, January 20, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Thursday, January 27, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Creating a Radical Welcoming Culture In Your Church
Teacher: Jane Angha
This course is designed to help faith communities develop a culture of warm hospitality, welcome, and belonging. The first session will begin with the theological foundations of hospitality, a deep look at how the early church embodied hospitality with Jesus as the model and a closer look at the components of a welcoming community. The second session will give participants tools for assessment and evaluation of their own ministry setting, then discover ways to shift the present church culture toward one that is more welcoming, inclusive, joy-filled and inviting. Participants will have opportunities to share what has worked in their own settings, learn from one another, and create a plan forward to infuse welcome and hospitality into every aspect of church life: leadership, prayer, communications, experiences and activities, meetings, outreach, physical space, and evangelization efforts and worship. Along with all the learning, participants will be immersed in hospitality at each session and experience some of the simple powerful ways to help people feel they are loved and that they belong!
More About Jane Angha
Jane is the founder and dreamer behind Ministry Blueprints. With years of director, coordinator, and mentorship experience in parish, diocesan, and non-profit ministry, she brings to the work of hospitality a broad knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of faith communities and a passion for them to be places of welcome and belonging. Jane holds a BS in Education and Religious Studies and a Master of Theology. She is a national conference speaker and moderator, retreat leader, writer, and a Vibrant Faith Coach currently serving in the Thriving Congregations project, a Lilly Foundation initiative. She is a wife and mother who loves to cook and gather friends and family around the kitchen table.
Dates of Live Sessions:
Thursday, February 10, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Thursday, February 17, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
‘They’re Not Coming Back’: Embracing a Paradigm Shift In Ministry
Teachers: Mark DeVries & Rob Dyer
As a ministry leader over the past year, how many times have you heard someone say, “Maybe if we do this, they’ll come back?” How often have you and your leaders looked at pre-pandemic numbers, wondering when those who aren’t there will return? Whether it’s the parable of the Sower, the pruning of the branches, or viewing people as sheep and goats, there’s probably some story from Jesus you feel like you and your church are experiencing, firsthand. Mark and Rob want to enter into that story with you. The current reality of people not returning is not a new problem for the church. In fact, we’ve been telling ourselves stories for years now to cope with this ongoing struggle. Yet this post-pandemic time of disengagement is not the end of our story. Far from it. And effective solutions on how to pivot and move forward are possible for every church leader, no matter the context.
More About Mark DeVries
Mark is the founder and president of Ministry Architects, the co-founder of Ministry Incubators and the Center for Youth Ministry Training, and the founder of Justice Industries. Mark served as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee from 1986 through 2014. He’s the author of many books, including Sustainable Youth Ministry and Family-Based Youth Ministry. He’s a graduate of Baylor University and Princeton Theological Seminary and has taught courses or been a guest lecturer at more than 20 different colleges and seminaries. Mark and Susan have been married since 1979 and make their home in Nashville, TN. They have three grown children: Adam, Debbie, and Leigh, and four grandchildren: Parish, Nealy, Liam, and Jack.
More About Rob Dyer
Rev. Rob Dyer is Lead Consultant for Ministry Architects and Senior Pastor at First United Presbyterian Church of Belleville, IL. He works in the areas of community missions and leadership development, and has worked at local and regional levels bringing churches, businesses, service agencies, and individuals together for addressing hunger and homeless issues. He has served on numerous community boards and participated in several church-community collaborations. Rob also produces the Christian leadership podcast “God Complex Radio” and is a well-regarded speaker. He lives in Belleville, IL with his brilliant and supportive wife, Sarah, and their four children.
Dates of Live Sessions:
Tuesday, February 15, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Coaching Ministry Leaders Through Conflict
Teachers: Rev. Dr. Felix Villanueva and Jim LaDoux
We tend to shy away from conflict and resist change. What would happen if instead of running away from the fire, we learned to thrive in it—at home and in our ministry settings? How would our lives together be enhanced if we were to embrace change and its natural sibling, conflict, when they surface? As uncomfortable and draining as conflict can be, relational tension is not really the problem. It’s how we handle it that matters. When handled poorly or avoided, conflict can derail projects, damage relationships, stall initiatives, and may cause members to leave your church. This course will guide you through understanding change and conflict, and will offer new perspectives and coaching approaches for dealing with conflict in constructive ways. Thriving In the Fire—Felix’s book.
More About Rev. Dr. Felix Villanueva
Felix lives in Gig Harbor, Washington. He has been coaching for 24 years, serving as a Mentor Coach with International Coach Federation, the Director of Coaching Services with Vibrant Faith, the Director of Coaching for Latin America and the Caribbean with Coaching4Today’sLeaders, and as an Associate Coach with BetterUp Coaching. Felix has also served in ministry as a U.S. Navy Chaplain (1982-2003), a Hospice Chaplain (2003-2005), a Senior Minister at UCC La Mesa, CA (2005-2010), and in the UCC Southern California Nevada Conference (2010-Present). In his spare time he enjoys playing the Native American flute and traveling around the world. He holds a doctorate in Organizational Leadership (EdD), Argosy University, a Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling from Princeton Theological Seminary, a Masters Degree in Divinity, Seminario Evangelico de Puerto Rico, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, University of Puerto Rico.
More About Jim LaDoux
Jim is Vibrant Faith’s Director of Coaching Services and has served on the Vibrant Faith leadership team since 2003. He currently oversees our coaching program and helps lead our coaching school, congregational coaching services, Leading Well community, and one-day coaching skills intensives. Jim has been a coach since 1992. He has a Master of Management Arts specializing in organizational development and is a certified PCC (Professional Certified Coach) In Training. Jim has been part of church staffs in Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian congregations. He’s author of Surface To Soul: Coaching Spiritual Vitality in Congregations, and the Vibrant Faith Coaching School Manual. Jim lives in Burnsville, Minnesota. In his spare time he likes to travel, go hiking, and biking.
Dates of Live Sessions:
Wednesday, March 16, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Wednesday, March 23, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Gen Z’s ‘New Kind of Faith’: Unbundled and Unclaimed
Teacher: Dr. Josh Packard and Ellen Koneck
Something big is shifting in the modern contours of faith for America’s newest generation, and it will have deep implications for every church and ministry leader. Co-presenters Dr. Josh Packard and Ellen Koneck draw on Springtide Research’s one-of-a-kind insights, drawn from a massive proprietary data set, to not only explain how and why faith has changed for Gen Z, but also to help you imagine ways that you and your ministry can effectively respond to these tumultuous times no matter where you find yourself in landscape of Christian ministry. You’ll get unique, research-based insights not only from Springtide’s studies, but from a dedicated group of youth “Ambassadors” who add their insights to the data.
More About Dr. Josh Packard
Josh is the Executive Director of Springtide Research Institute, is an accomplished researcher with an expertise in the sociology of religion and new forms of religious expression. He’s a talented speaker and writer with over 10 years of teaching experience. Josh has been a guest on numerous radio shows and podcasts, and has been an invited speaker at many conferences, events, and workshops. He has been published widely in both academic and popular outlets, including Christianity Today, The Aspen Institute, The Huffington Post, Desert News, and Christian Science Monitor, among others. Josh earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Vanderbilt University and did his undergraduate work in English at Texas Lutheran University.
Ellen Koneck is Head of Writing and Editing at Springtide Research Institute, has worked in various capacities in book and magazine publishing, and previously taught at a university in Connecticut. Ellen oversees all of the writing at Springtide including The State of Religion & Young People 2022: Navigating Uncertainty and the companion Catholic Edition of the study. Ellen has been published in numerous venues and is a current member of Board of Directors at Commonweal Magazine. She has a Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School and did her undergraduate work in theology, philosophy, and Spanish at St. Mary’s University.
Dates of Sessions
Thursday, March 3, 2021 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Thursday, March 10, 2021 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Learning the Practice of Faith-Formation from Children
Teacher: Rev. Dr. Tanya Eustace Campen
Children are theologians—they make meaning and grow in their faith as they respond to God’s grace and love. When we listen to children we discover more about God, more about ourselves, and more about the children we journey alongside. In this MasterClass we will take a deep look at how children make meaning, the tools they use, and how the intergenerational faith community can strengthen their faith formation by listening to and journeying with children. Building on the qualitative research presented in Campen’s book Holy Work with Children, we will reflect on the wisdom children share as they teach us about faith formation. We will identify practical ways to journey alongside them as we grow in our faith, too. And we will mine from the experiences and insights embedded in your own journey with children.
More About Rev. Dr. Tanya Eustace Campen
Tanya is a Vibrant Faith Coach and an ordained deacon in the Rio Texas Conference. She currently serves as Director of Intergenerational Discipleship for the Rio Texas Conference Office. She has a Masters of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a Doctorate in Christian education and congregational studies from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Her research focus is children’s spirituality. She has more than 20 years of experience as a Christian educator, youth director, and minister to children and families in the local church. She regularly teaches faith formation courses, webinars, and workshops for ministry leaders.
Dates of Live Sessions:
Thursday, March 24, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Thursday, March 31, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Fuel for Thriving: Learning the Practices of Impactful Churches
Teacher: Rev. Dr. Nancy Going
At Vibrant Faith, we believe that churches that have strong and impactful formation ministries will thrive. The pandemic has been particularly upending for the formation ministries of many churches AND, we know that the impact of this time in history on the next generations has been particularly profound. According to emerging research from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, “In the 18 months of the pandemic, the attendance rate at churches dropped by 12 percent.” And this: “The pandemic has taken the [downward, declining] trends that were already there and has speeded them up.” This Master Class will give you the opportunity to learn from Vibrant Faith’s current on-the-ground learnings as we help 29 churches across the country experiment with re-inventing their formation practices, helping them to plant and nurture a culture of thriving.
More About Dr. Nancy Going
Nancy is Vibrant Faith’s Director of Research and Resource Development—she was the organization’s Executive Director for six years. She’s one of the directors of Vibrant Faith’s Thriving Congregations Initiative, funded and guided by the Lilly Foundation. She has spent her career in ministry leadership with youth, and she still loves working with kids as a volunteer any chance she gets. Nancy came on board the Vibrant Faith team in 2014 after teaching and providing leadership at Luther Seminary in the Children Youth and Family Ministry Masters Degree Distributed Learning Program. She has authored articles, curriculum, and contributed to books. Nancy lives in Nashville with her husband Art, an Anglican priest. They have launched two new families from their children. You can connect with Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates of Live Sessions
Wednesday, April 13, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Wednesday, April 20, 2022 12:00 –
1:30 PM EST
Helping People Struggling with Anxiety & Depression
Teachers: Dr. Daniel Emina & Rick Lawrence
Anxiety and depression are the epidemic on top of the pandemic. Meanwhile, suicide is the second leading cause of death for those 10–34 years of age and may soon become the #1 killer of teenagers. Dr. Daniel Emina, a psychiatrist and associate medical director of Amen Clinics, and Rick Lawrence, Vibrant Faith’s Executive Director, have collaborated to explore the intersection of clinical practice, emerging research, and the whole-life practices of Jesus in their new book The Suicide Solution. They approach anxiety, depression, and suicidality using the metaphor of a computer’s hardware/software functioning, and target the way “destructive narratives” embed themselves in our human “operating system.” Jesus’s mission is to surface those narratives, neutralize them, then plant (like seeds) redemptive storylines. They’ll draw from a vast array of simple, daily habits that enhance brain health and spiritual wholeness, offering a “menu of possibilities” for ministry leaders to help those who are struggling.
More About Dr. Daniel Emina
Dr. Daniel Emina is a child/adolescent and adult psychiatrist and associate medical director of Amen Clinics. He’s experienced in treatment for anxiety, suicidal ideation, mood disorders, addiction, ADD/ADHD, impulsive/disruptive behavior disorders, autism spectrum, psychotic disorders, OCD, PTSD, and TBI. Dr. Emina is a board member of the University of San Francisco Center for Child and Family Development and a member of the One Hit Away Advisory Council. He’s also a board member and treasurer for the Extended Arms Initiative in Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization focused on homeless outreach and overseas medical missions. His debut book is The Suicide Solution. Dr. Emina is married to Emily and has one daughter.
More About Rick Lawrence
Rick is Executive Director of Vibrant Faith, and an award-winning author, journalist, cultural researcher, editor, and national speaker. He creates and leads interactive training for church and cultural leaders, parents, and teenagers and creates interactive online training courses. He’s authored hundreds of magazine articles and is the author, co-author, or editor of 40 books and curriculums. He’s the general editor of the #1 bestselling Jesus-Centered Bible, the recently released devotional Jesus-Centered Daily, and his latest book titled The Suicide Solution. He created and hosts the popular podcast Paying Ridiculous Attention to Jesus, now in its sixth year. Rick is married to Beverly Rose and has two daughters, Lucy Rose and Emma Grace.
Dates of Live Sessions:
Thursday, April 21, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Thursday, April 28, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Equipping Families with Practical Tools for Raising Faithful Kids
Teacher: Sarah Bentley Allred
The research is clear—the biggest single
influence on the religious lives of young people is parents. Most church
leaders have been convinced of this reality for decades. Of course, parents
spend exponentially more time with their children than youth ministers,
pastors, or Sunday School teachers. Their influence on the faith trajectory
of their kids is profound and immersive. So, if we’re thoroughly persuaded
that empowering parents to serve as the primary faith formation mentors
for their families is important, how do we equip them for this sacred work? In this course we will explore methods, practices, and resources for empowering parents to nurture the faith development of their
children. There is no magic formula, easy answer, or silver bullet for this
work. The barriers and challenges to equipping families to practice faith at home are numerous. But together, we can explore ways to mitigate the challenges and practical tools for this holy work.
More About Sarah Bentley Allred
Sarah Bentley Allred serves as the Editor of Building Faith and the Associate for Christian Formation & Discipleship in Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary. Sarah has nine years of experience in children and youth ministries and has completed the MDiv. program
at VTS with a focus on Christian formation. She is passionate about children’s spirituality, intergenerational worship, and small-church formation. Sarah loves local coffee shops, board games, the beach, and exploring new places with her husband, Richard, and their dog, Grace. Find out more at
Dates of Live Sessions:
Wednesday, May 4, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Wednesday, May 11, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM ES
Creative Community Engagement
Teacher: Rudy Carrasco
Despite the decline of religion in American life and the erosion of trust in institutions, American society remains open to the involvement of churches, ministries, and lay leaders who they perceive as caring for the community in practical ways. It takes creativity to contextualize Christian faith in local communities in ways that are respectful of our neighbors yet do not water down our convictions. Drawing from the spheres of effective compassion and Christian community development, this MasterClass will equip attendees with practical ideas, models, and tools for creative community engagement—engagement that meets real needs, partners with people from all walks of life, and visibly demonstrates the love of God.
More About Rudy Carrasco
Rudy Carrasco has served in community development ministry for more than three decades. A writer by training, he was a newspaper columnist for three Los Angeles-area newspapers, and his articles have appeared in Forbes, Christianity Today, and Discipleship Journal. His work experience includes executive director of an urban youth ministry and regional facilitator for an organization ending poverty through business. And he has focused on indigenous leadership development at Harambee Christian Family Center and beyond. Today, Rudy is a program director with the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust in Vancouver, Washington. He is a past board member of World Vision and a member of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
Dates of Live Sessions:
Thursday, May 12, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Thursday, May 19, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
The Skills of Reconciling: Influencing Healthy Relational Environments
Teachers: Fred Oduyoye & Chris Cox
Fred and Chris will equip ministry leaders to plant and nurture the seeds of a healthy, reconciling culture—using the field-tested and transformational “5 R’s of Reachable Reconciliation” process developed by Fred. A church is only as healthy, missional, and magnetic as its culture. We’ll help you lay the groundwork for your church to live in a reconciled community with one another. You’ll get practical ways to advance and influence the relational environment in your church, along with hands-on coaching and a framework for deepening the impact of your work among congregation members.
More About Fred Oduyoye
Fred lives in Cincinnati Ohio and is the Founder of Reachable Reconciliation, Inc, an organization and national movement designed to help people integrate into unfamiliar spaces of conversation and relationship. He has been working with and coaching leaders since 2007. He was a National Urban Training Director at Urban Youth Workers Institute for nine years. Fred has also worked as the National Director of Partnerships/Networking for Youth Specialities for four years and is an Advisory Committee Member of the National Network of Youth Ministries.
More About Chris Cox
Chris has been serving with Back2Back Ministries for 14 years. In 2018, Back2Back opened an eighth site focusing on vulnerable children, youth, and families in Cincinnati, where Chris serves as the director. Prior to launching this site, Chris served as director of One21—an effort to resource emerging generations. The pursuit of equality and unity for all people drives Chris. He continues to train, speak, and lead in multiple platforms both locally and nationally.
Dates of Live Sessions
Wednesday, May 18, 2021 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Wednesday, May 25, 2021 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Building an Intimate Church Community
Teacher: Dr. Tim Levert
In this course, Dr. Levert will help participants refine our understanding of biblical community and share practical ideas and practices to deepen intimacy within our congregations. Building relationships is hard; when you add a global pandemic, the difficulty factor increases exponentially. According to emerging research from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, one of the lasting casualties of COVID has been the regular gathering of church communities in fellowship, worship, and mission. Churches want to create a space where people can experience deep connections with Jesus and one another, so why doesn’t it happen? Together, we will
More About Dr. Tim Levert
Tim earned his PhD in adolescent spiritual formation and has been in ministry since 1992, serving churches and seminaries in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, and Ohio. Tim is a writer, speaker, worship leader, and most recently, a high school English teacher while he and his family are planting a church in south Louisiana. Tim believes the Kingdom-of-God-life is the best life you can live, and he’d love to buy you a beverage and talk about it. He and his wife Tasha have three beautiful daughters and a curmudgeonly dog named Tabasco.
Dates of Live Sessions:
Thursday, June 2, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Thursday, June 9, 2022 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Teaching the Faith to Toddlers & Preschoolers
Teacher: Danielle Hitchen
The “Great Commission” (Matthew 28:16-20) does not call us to create converts or theologians, but rather, disciples. Jesus invites his disciples to “come and see,” and these words shape the way we ought to think about children’s discipleship. Discipleship happens via two primary forms: liturgy (come) and catechesis (see) and this is as true for toddlers and preschoolers as it is for teens and adults. Children, like all humans, experience liturgy and catechesis every day. Most broadly, these words describe the habits and instructions received daily both explicitly and implicitly. The question is, are these habits and instructions forming our children into disciples of Christ or disciples of something else? The first session of this course will focus on liturgy—the “Come”—specifically, how we utilize the gifts of the historic church to create habits and rhythms of life which help our children conform to the life of Christ. The second session will focus on catechesis—the “See”—specifically, how the life modeled for us by Christ informs the way we disciple the hearts of little ones.
More About Danielle Hitchen
Danielle Hitchen longs for people to see and understand God’s big story in the everyday world around them. She is enthusiastic about church history and tradition, mental and emotional health, and living the good life. By day Danielle is a reluctant homeschool mom, acceptable homemaker, and long-time national radio program associate producer. In her spare time, she is also the author of the Baby Believer book series, founder of Catechesis Books, and occasional writer of other things. Danielle loves good stories, big ideas, and beautiful design. She and her husband live near Washington, DC where they can be found enjoying Smithsonians and playgrounds alike with their three children, good conversations with their friends, and Virginia vineyards with each other.
Dates of Sessions
Wednesday, June 15, 2021 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Wednesday, June 22, 2021 12:00 – 1:30 PM EST
Dr. Nancy Going is one of the directors of Vibrant Faith’s Creating a Culture of Calling Initiative. She has spent her career in ministry leadership with youth, and she still loves working with kids as a volunteer any chance she gets. Nancy came on board the Vibrant Faith team in 2014 after teaching and providing leadership at Luther Seminary in the Children Youth and Family Ministry Masters Degree Distributed Learning Program. She has authored articles, curriculum, and contributed to books. Nancy lives in Durham, North Carolina with her husband Art, an Anglican priest. They have launched two new families from their children. You can connect with Nancy at email@example.com
Jim LaDoux serves as Vibrant Faith’s Director of Coaching and Consulting Services. He oversees and helps facilitate Vibrant Faith’s Coaching School. He has been on staff of Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian congregations and has been coaching individuals, groups, and congregations for over 20 years. He’s passionate about developing the next generation of church leaders, helping congregations thrive, and helping people navigate transitions in their lives and ministries.
Sarah Bentley Allred received her MDiv. from Virginia Theological Seminary in May 2019. She now serves as the Editor for Building Faith and the Associate for Christian Formation and Discipleship for Lifelong Learning at VTS. Sarah is passionate about children’s spirituality, intergenerational worship, and small church formation. She loves local coffee shops, board games, the beach, and exploring new places with her husband, Richard, and their dog, Grace.
Brandon Early has been serving in youth ministry for more than 25 years. Brandon and his wife Keri have been married since the year 2000 and have three incredible boys. Today Brandon is the Christian Life Director at Valley Church in West Des Moines, IA. In addition to his role as a pastor, Brandon regularly speaks at conferences, churches, and retreats. Four of his favorite things are Jesus, his wife, Chicago Style Pizza, and fighting off his three boys with sweet ninja moves.
Ebonie Davis and Dave Rahn are co-authors of Disrupting Teens with Joy: Helping Youth Discover Jesus-Focused Gritty Faith. Eb is a veteran youth pastor in a Maryland suburb outside of Washington DC. She’s contributed to a number of youth ministry publications and is part of the Arbor Research Group. Dave has spent over 45 years co-mingling research, writing, Youth For Christ leadership, and serving as an academic and professor. He’s now a retired grandpa living large in Northern Indiana.
Rev. Fred Lynch is an Ordained Elder and serves as the Conference Evangelist for The River Conference of the Free Methodist Church. At the age of 18 Fred helped found P.I.D. (Preachers in Disguise), one of the first gospel rap acts, and went on to record six albums. Fred has been involved in youth advocacy for over 25 years in multiple roles as a motivational speaker, youth minister, rap artist, lead pastor, mentor, and life-coach. Fred earned a Masters of Divinity from Grand Canyon University. He lives in Dallas, Texas and is currently releasing a documentary called Mic Drop: The Origin and Culture of Christian Hip Hop.
Rev. Dr. Tanya Eustace Campen is an ordained deacon in the Rio Texas Conference and currently serves as Director of Intergenerational Discipleship for the Rio Texas Conference Office. She has a Masters of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a Doctorate in Christian education and congregational studies from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Her research focus is children’s spirituality. She has more than 20 years of experience as a Christian educator, youth director, and minister to children and families in the local church. She regularly teaches faith formation courses, webinars, and workshops for ministry leaders.
Rev. Dr. Mark Slaughter serves as the Minister of Worship Arts at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN. Before moving to Minnesota, he served as the Minister of Music and Worship at First Baptist Church in Owensboro, Kentucky. He has also served in churches in Virginia and Tennessee. In addition to his 35+ years of ministry, he received a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, Master of Divinity and Church Music from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Music from Belmont University. Mark is a “calculated adventurist” who loves to have his eyes wide open and his mind filled with new experiences. Mary Jo (Jody) Slaughter has been his partner in most of these adventures, and his wife for 29 years. They have two young-adult children, Wesley and Mary Katherine.
Dr. Josh Packard, Executive Director of Springtide Research Institute, is an accomplished researcher with an expertise in the sociology of religion and new forms of religious expression. A talented speaker and writer with over 10 years of teaching experience, Josh has been a guest on numerous radio shows and podcasts, and has been an invited speaker at many conferences, events, and workshops. He has been published widely in both academic and popular outlets, including Christianity Today, The Aspen Institute, The Huffington Post, Desert News, and Christian Science Monitor, among others. Josh earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Vanderbilt University and did his undergraduate work in English at Texas Lutheran University.
Rick Lawrence is Executive Director of Vibrant Faith and is an award-winning author, journalist, cultural researcher, editor, and national speaker. For 33 years he was executive editor of GROUP Magazine, winner of the Folio Award for magazine excellence. He led Group Publishing’s Youth Ministry Resourcing Team and helped launch its “Jesus-Centered” adult ministry area. He’s an experienced researcher, conducting large-scale social science research projects in the ministry community. He creates and leads interactive learning experiences and trainings for church and cultural leaders, parents, and teenagers. And he’s an innovator in online learning—he developed, created, and helped launch a series of professional ministry courses that use “virtual tools” for interactive, experiential, and deeper-learning growth. He also leads a “home church” for young adults with a crazy-long name: Pursuing the Heart of Jesus, Not His Recipes. He’s host of the podcast Paying Ridiculous Attention to Jesus, now in its 6th year.
Dr. Christian Smith is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame. Smith is well known for his research focused on religion, adolescents and emerging adults, and social theory. Smith received his MA and PhD from Harvard University in 1990 and his BA from Gordon College in 1983. He was a Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 12 years before his move to Notre Dame.
Dr. Andi Thacker is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Registered Play Therapist. Andi serves on the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary as a counseling professor. She earned a Master’s Degree in Biblical counseling from DTS and a PhD in counselor education and supervisor with a specialization in play therapy from the University of North Texas. She has worked in various settings with clients of all ages. She and her husband Chad married in 2003 and have three children, Emerson, Will, and Webb.
Fred Oduyoye lives in Cincinnati Ohio and is the Founder of Reachable Reconciliation, Inc, an organization and national movement designed to help people integrate into unfamiliar spaces of conversation and relationship. He has been working with and coaching leaders since 2007. He was a National Urban Training Director at Urban Youth Workers Institute for nine years. Fred has also worked as the National Director of Partnerships/Networking for Youth Specialities for four years and is an Advisory Committee Member of the National Network of Youth Ministries.
Chris Cox has been serving with Back2Back Ministries for 13 years. In 2018, Back2Back opened an eighth site focusing on vulnerable children, youth, and families in Cincinnati, where Chris serves as the director. Prior to launching this site, Chris served as director of One21—an effort to resource emerging generations. The pursuit of equality and unity for all people drives Chris. He continues to train, speak, and lead in multiple platforms both locally and nationally.