by Office of Marketing | Mar 20, 2014
Ministry to the emerging generations can often be challenging, as leaders work with adolescents in a time of great change and psychological transition. Dedicated pastors and lay leaders who participate in outreach and discipleship of teens must set aside time to retreat from the ministry in order to refocus and re-energize their goals. This is exactly why Youth Studies at Valley Forge (YS@VF) partners with local churches and speakers to host REFRESH events at the end of every winter, “that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

These conferences come from the heart of Phil Baker, professor in the Church Ministries Department at Valley Forge Christian College. Baker is the Youth Ministry Specialist at VFCC and the Pennsylvania Director of The Youth Alliance. As a veteran of ministry, having served emerging generations for more than 25 years, his vision is to reach and disciple youth leaders so that they impact their communities for Jesus Christ. That is the motivation and goal behind each REFRESH event.

This year, the YS@VF team hosted three events. On the morning of February 22, youth leaders from the Philadelphia area convened at Germantown Church of the Brethren for Re:CHARGE. After the ministry conference concluded in the early afternoon, attention shifted to New Covenant Church of Philadelphia for Re:FUEL – a rally reaching hundreds of youth and young adults, featuring nationally and internationally known speaker Reggie Dabbs.

One week later, on March 1, YS@VF hosted Re:NEW at The Conference Center at Valley Forge, for youth leaders in the Middle Atlantic and Northeast regions. Attendees spent the day in Mission Hall, participating in valuable seminars and discussions led by Claude Valdes ’99, Executive Pastor at Word of Life Assembly of God (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) and author of “Learning to Follow Jesus: Youth Edition.”

Using the insight gained in his extensive experience with youth outreach and discipleship, Valdes helped leaders renew their vision and refresh their ministries. He began by bringing everyone to an accurate definition of successful ministry – which, according to him, is one that creates an environment of disciple making. From there, Valdes went on to elaborate on the three key components of every successful youth ministry, which are Gospel Fluency, Spirit Dependency and Biblical Community. The conference then concluded with a special performance by musician Trevor Gordon Hall ’07 and live painting by Inspire India, a campus ministry created to raise awareness about human sex trafficking around the world.