Early Bird Workshops

Early Bird workshops include Track Names in order to help you choose your experiences. Participants from any Track can attend any workshop during the Early Bird Workshop time.

During the regular workshop slots on Saturday and Sunday, the Learning Team encourages participants to attend workshops listed within their chosen Track.

Early Bird Workshop #1 - Friday, January 31 - 1:30-2:45 pm

 Title Description Takeaway Presenter Track
Gathering 101Young Lutherans have been gathering for over 100 years and we are so excited to continue that tradition in the summer of 2021 in Minneapolis! Join ELCA Youth Gathering staff to hear the latest and greatest details; get all your questions answered; and learn more about our 2021 theme, "boundless: God beyond measure".Participants will leave the workshop feeling excited, ready, motivated and prepared to start making plans to attend the Gathering in 2021.Molly Beck Dean, Michael Deisting, & Justin WilsonPracticing Faith
No Purpling... (But God is Purpling All the Time)*Ever heard the phrase, “Girls are pink, boys are blue… no purple-ing!” in youth ministry? Ever thought about how that phrase might make environments unsafe for some of God’s children? To love people well means to be deeply intentional about language, Bible teachings, and behavior in church. This workshop will talk about why and how God loves LGBTQ folks through a lens of "queer theology." This hope of this workshop is not onlny to cultivate safe environments for all of God's children, but to transform unjust structures of society.Participants will gain a basic understanding of the concept of "queering" and how it applies to the lived reality of a Christian life and new ways to read and engage with Scripture. Participants will also have the opportunity to re-think youth ministry in light of the abundant diversity of gender, romantic, and sexual identities.Ross Murray, Greg Fedio, & Logan RimelPracticing Inclusivity
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Practicing Faith
Staying Power: Creating Longevity in Your Youth Ministry Without Losing Your MindMinistry can be difficult-spiritually, emotionally, and physically draining. Too many of leaders simply try to survive, instead of thrive in ministry. This workshop will share practical advice on how to take care of yourself in order to avoid the dreaded "burnout" and build healthy longevity in ministry. Participants will leave with tools and strategies that focus on self-care, forgiveness, and positive communication with their Pastor and church leadership. Jeff "Spanky" AmlottePracticing Leadership
Leading Change When You Are Not in ChargeThere are many ways to understand leadership and change. Given our varied roles in organizations and churches, it can seem like we aren't able to lead the way we want because of hierarchy. This workshop will take a look at how to 'lead where you are' within the context of your ministry and discuss practical tools for moving forward.Participants will get practical tips and strategies for sharing their perspective and leading from where they are.Kris BjorkePracticing Change
Shifting from Fundraisers to InvestmentsTired of fundraisers and events that raise little money but take a lot of time? This workshop will help participants reimagine fundraising. Through a theology of stewardship, participants will learn how to use the development (fundraising) cycle to cultivate major donors to support your ministry. Participants will be empowered to cultivate donors in their congregation and community to resource their ministry.Elizabeth Schoenknecht & Nathan BerkasPracticing Change
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Practicing Faith
Living Generously in an Imperfect World How might congregations counter society's non-stop messaging that buying "things" makes us look perfect and be happy? Drawing on the inter-generational assets of congregations, this workshop describes how The Generosity Project brings together people of all ages to interact and be equipped to know and practice God’s Story of generosity and grace in their daily life. Participants will re-think stewardship as discipleship, identify and celebrate the generations in their midst, experience effective approaches for facilitating all-age interaction, actively "embody" God's Story, and receive a plethora of ideas and resources to connect church and home for the faith practice of generosity. Linda StaatsPracticing Faith
From WithinThis workshop will allow participants to dive deep and find tools within themselves that they can use to revitalize their worship experience. Connecting to text/scripture, they will discover how to make text/scripture audible. Participants will leave with ideas and tools to make text/scripture audible, including a song book and "The Worship Leader's 10 Laws to Bridge Building."Tyra "Tyralucia" DennisPracticing Creativity
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Practicing Leadership
Running in Sprinklers: Watercolor Empathy*This workshop will return play and creativity to Baptism. It will do so by pursuing authentic relationships and diversity with others who share in the waters of Baptism by cultivating imagination through watercolor painting. (Watercolor supplies provided.)Participants will learn an art process for exploring interpersonal differences and practice awareness of inclusivity and get tools to lead others in imaginative empathy and the creative process.Joseph CastaƱeda CarreraPracticing Creativity
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Practicing Inclusivity


Early Bird Workshop #2 - Friday, January 31 - 3:00-4:15 pm

TitleDescriptionTakeawayPresenterTrack
Gathering 101 Young Lutherans have been gathering for over 100 years and we are so excited to continue that tradition in the summer of 2021 in Minneapolis! Join ELCA Youth Gathering staff to hear the latest and greatest details; get all your questions answered; and learn more about our 2021 theme, "boundless: God beyond measure". Participants will leave the workshop feeling excited, ready, motivated and prepared to start making plans to attend the Gathering in 2021. Molly Beck Dean, Michael Deisting and Justin Wilson Practicing Faith
Love a Little Louder: Celebrating LGBTQ+ Youth with Preaching, Policies, and Practices Many of our congregations say that all are welcome, but what does that really look like? This workshop will talk about the importance of bold, joyful, and faith-filled affirmation of LGBTQ+ young people, the power welcome has to transform congregations, and practical tools needed to make it happen. The way congregations live out their welcome of LGBTQ+ young people can save lives and transform communities. Participants will learn about how and why LGBTQ+ youth are particularly vulnerable members of our congregations and our communities and what that means for leaders in the Church. LGBTQ+ young people face devastating rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide, but the data overwhelmingly shows that support and affirmation greatly reduces those risks. Participants will learn about what it looks like to be boldly and joyfully affirming, and they will walk away with tangible next steps to take in their own settings. Jamie Bruesehoff Practicing Inclusivity
Theology of Radical Welcome How we talk about God in our heads/hearts and to others affects how we welcome other beings in God’s creation. Rooting God-talk (theology) in the gift of creation and the image of God present in every person, this workshop will explore concrete strategies and spiritual practices to welcome strangers as neighbors. Participants will take away concrete strategies and spiritual practices as well as insight on their own theologies. Rev. Dr. Colleen Windham-Hughes Practicing Inclusivity
Family and Church and Their Roles in the Formation of our Sexuality Our family of origin and the way we were socialized plays a key role in our sexuality and our understanding of relationships. In this workshop we will have the opportunity to explore those in an individualized way. We then will learn how the church can take on those same roles and either continue to lift us up or harm us. With this knowledge we will explore how we make a church a healing ground and innovator for healthy sexuality. Participants will be able to come up with at least three ways that they can implement healthy sexuality in different groups within their church community. Participants will be able to identify at least two ways church and family have affected the way we view and live out our sexuality. Kara Haug Practicing Leadership
Sharing Faith to the Next Generation in a Small(er) Church This workshop will look at the current context and struggles in ministry within a small(er) church. In addition to ideas being shared, it will be a safe place for participants to talk about real life in a small(er) church. Participants will leave with reasons why small church struggle, characteristics of "low-morale" churches, and 7 Faith Factors that every church can implement. Tiger McLuen Practicing Change
Change is Not a Dirty Word! Engaging Others in the Vision It is time to move beyond "the way we've always done it" to engaging volunteers, parents and your entire congregation in looking differently at ministry. This workshop will offer a process for getting the whole congregation centered on a shared vision for faith formation and doing ministry differently. Participants will learn a process for incorporating people into a shared vision and ideas for having a shared vision guide congregational change. Tammy Jones West Practicing Change
Let's Kill Sunday School (Before It Kills the Church) If there were no such thing as Sunday school, what would you invent to form faith in the next generation? Come hear about a 10-year incubator that started with a dozen frustrated ELCA faith leaders and has grown into a movement of 6000+ churches experimenting with effective faith formation systems for the post-television world. Participants will learn "freaky, joyful ideas" on how to begin transforming age-segregated "class" models of faith formation into significantly meaningful Cross+Gen communities. ("Three years from now you'll be known as the 'church with no class!'") Rich Melheim Practicing Faith
Outcome-Based Ministry Gary has spent three decades focusing on outcome-based ministry in his congregation. Using a list of 40 ministry assets, this outcome-based ministry partners with parents to develop personal ministry plans for young people. This workshop will describe this unique ministry design and how it facilitates personal growth and immersion in the life and mission of the church. Participants will come away with practical ideas, including a list of 40 ministry assets. Gary Pecuch Practicing Faith
Knot Tying 101: How Camp Creates Tethers to Christ and Community Summer camp may only last a week, but the experiences and stories change us forever. This workshop offers a glimpse of outdoor ministry's unique ability to inspire creativity, stretch our vision and self-awareness, and forge lasting bonds of Christian community. Participants will engage in playful brainstorms, explore mountains of metaphors for meaning-filled activities, and feel the lasting effects that only a temporary community can provide....and yes, you'll learn how to tie some knots too! Jen Bacher Practicing Creativity


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