NEXT youth workers conference

NEXTsquareChapelMark your calendars for the NEXT youth workers conference!
The NEXT Youth Workers Conference at Crown College, on Saturday, February 9, 2013, will be an inspiring one-day gathering for volunteer and professional youth workers. Through interactive workshops and connection opportunities, NEXT will provide a creative forum for ideas, resources, networking, and encouragement for biblically-based next-generation ministry.
We're expecting somewhere between 225 and 300 incredibly amazing people will be attending this event. Of these, over 100 people will be youth workers who are involved either in full-time ministry or who invest out of the awesomeness of their hearts in youth ministry teams throughout regional churches or ministries. We also anticipate over 100 ministry students, as well as additional staff from Crown College will be attending the event.

We have several reasons for changing the name. While “Spark” was a great way to describe ourdesire to ignite a refreshing movement at Crown College for generational ministry last year, we began to think the name would quickly lose its "spark". A Spark is an ignition… but now we want to go forward with what The Next actions should be in Next-Generation ministry. Changing the name of this gathering to "NEXT" accomplishes several things:
  1. “Spark” (and many other words and versions of this idea) is already used as a label for several ministries, curriculums, conferences, and even online dating sites.
  2. Building on past successes and current initiatives, we felt like we needed a new label that described the unique forward-thinking developments that should enable Crown to become one of the "next” great training centers for "next” great youth workers in North America and around the globe.
  3. “NEXT” communicates our biblical desire for “one generation to proclaim to ‘the next’” the greatness of God and the Good News of Jesus. So the event can accomplish its goal of encouragement simply by refreshing our hearts and our focus on equipping ministry for the next generations.
  4. “NEXT” is also a little bit of a cheesy way to play on words (e.g. Hey, dude, what’s the next youth workers conference I should go to?) and have a little fun at our own name-changing expense.



NEXTchapelAdWe’re adjusting some of our schedule to provide more interaction with speakers and also more workshop options based upon evaluations from last year. We’re also planning to offer a post-conference option to interact further around dinner and discussion with some of our speakers and with Crown’s youth ministry partners. So the major difference, besides the name change, will be an increased opportunity for connection.


We are pumped about this! The details will be announced soon, but we are very excited to again have some regionally and nationally trusted and integral youth workers joining us for The NEXT conference. We plan to have workshops covering topics such as adolescent development, urban and ethnic ministry, leadership training, special-needs ministry, discipleship groups,partnering with other youth ministries, Hmong ministry, family mentoring, and more. Every attendee should find several take-aways and beneficial training opportunities.



Well, that’s a trick question. As a local youth pastor shared with me recently, “Nothing in youth ministry is new under the sun.” This is so true! In fact, everything we’re doing at Crown is emphasizing the enduring biblical concepts of generational transference. We are very committed to basing what we do at the NEXT Youth Workers Conference according to God’s patterns for generational ministry. That includes the “what’s” and the “why’s” and the “who’s” as much as it involves understanding best practices for the “how’s”. So while innovation is not stressed as our goal, we also expect innovation to be a natural, frutiful product of faithful commitment to our creative God in ministry in particular contexts (through things like prayer, discipleship, worship, fellowship, etc). In terms of reaching and equipping the next generation for faith and leadership, we have a lot to learn from each other… and that is what the NEXT Youth Workers Conference is all about.

Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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