Contact: Jenni Smith
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650


November 21, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- The early registration deadline has been extended until Friday, Dec. 7 for the 14th annual Perkins School of Youth Ministry at Southern Methodist University that will be held Jan. 11-18, 2002.

Designed for pastors, youth pastors, church volunteers, paid youth workers, Sunday School teachers and other church professionals who work with young people, the Perkins School of Youth Ministry seeks to train and equip new youth ministers and to provide continuing education to veterans in the field.

The conference allows youth ministers from across the United States to participate in one-day, three-day or weeklong sessions, with a choice of nearly 50 workshops, including basic and advanced training on specific youth ministry issues.

"Early Bird Events" for those who arrive Friday, Jan. 11, give participants the opportunity to spend the weekend in one of two workshops on spiritual formation or missions immersion in a Dallas inner-city outreach program.

One-day sessions on Monday, Jan. 14, include workshop topics including ministry with urban youth, drama in worship, developing a youth praise band and use of computers in youth ministry, as well as issues forums on topics including sexology and theology, the pastor as youth minister and confirmation.

Featured guest speaker Monday night is Tex Sample, coordinator of the Network for the Study of U.S. Lifestyles, which studies the oral culture, literate culture and the emergent electronic culture in American life, with emphasis on gender, ethnic and socio-economic issues.

The weeklong events include a beginner, intermediate and advanced track for persons with varying degrees of experience in youth ministry. Topics include teaching ethics and morals, discussing human sexuality with youth, practical strategies for youth ministry, planning retreats and missions trips with youth, contemporary praise worship, working with volunteers and counseling youth and families.

Instructors for the Perkins School of Youth Ministry include youth ministers, pastors, staff members from several United Methodist conferences, Perkins faculty members and authors of youth ministry books and curricula. Speakers include:

  • Walt Marcum, youth minister for more than 30 years, who serves as co-youth minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church of Dallas and teaches "Ministry to Youth" as part of Perkins' Youth Ministry Certification Program.
  • Brian Hardesty, who has more than a decade of experience in youth ministry, has served on several advisory boards for youth ministry and Christian education, and is a frequent workshop and seminar leader. He has written articles, produced spiritual growth resources and developed curriculum for youth ministry. His first book was Closer to God: Youth Experiencing Prayer.
  • John Gooch, youth minister consultant from Nashville, Tenn., who has been involved in youth ministry for more than four decades. A member of a national youth ministry staff, he has developed curriculum, written several books on youth ministry and has developed a community-wide program on building assets for youth.
  • Billy and Laura Echols-Richter, associate minister and minister to adults and pastoral care, respectively, at St. Andrews United Methodist Church of Plano, who have more than 15 years experience in youth ministry and are known for creative programming and experiential learning. They are co-authors of Destination Christmas.

To receive registration materials and a schedule of courses, or for more information, call 214-768-3515 or contact the office of Perkins Relations at 1-888-THEOLOGY, ext. 4.

Perkins, one of SMU's three original schools, trains students from all religious denominations, offering advanced degrees in theological studies, sacred music, religious education and ministry. One of five university-related theological institutions of The United Methodist Church, Perkins' learning experience emphasizes thorough teaching in the basics of the Christian faith and the practice of ministry, including internships at local churches, hospitals and community centers.