Leaders working for Chi Alpha (XA) Campus Ministries, the collegiate ministry of Assemblies of God, will be honing their ministering skills during the leaders’ national summer conference this year, which will be the best to date, according to the event coordinator.
“This year is going to be bigger than ever in the number of attendees, faculty, track choices,” commented Valerie Kretz, special projects coordinator for XA. “It’s not just bigger but better.”
Six tracks will be offered this summer. Veteran Campus Leaders Track, Bi-Vocational and Church Staff Track, Student Leaders Track A, and Student Leaders Track B will all be offered from June17-21, 2004. New Campus Leaders and Internship Prep Track will be a two-week event that takes place June 14-26. Support Raising Track will be held on June 21 – 24.
New campus leaders and interns, people who are looking into going into campus ministry vocation, will attend the “New Campus Leaders and Internship Prep Track” to set their foundation.
Over 26 faculty members, veteran campus ministries and theologians will be invited to speak on topics ranging from character development and preaching skills. Notable speakers include Dr. Earl Creps, a Ph.D program director of Assemblies of God, and Dr. Jim Bradford, the senior pastor of Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri.
“We give instruction on the five full philosophies of Chi Alpha,” said Kretz. She listed worship, fellowship, discipleship, partnership and witness.
The track for “Veteran Campus Leaders” will be offering 3 additional workshops to its original 2 from last year. Topics from pioneering to creative evangelism will be covered. It is for those who want an update or increase their skills, according to Kretz. Since America is becoming increasingly post-Christian, evangelism requires a completely different approach, she said.
“Bi-Vocational and Church Staff Track” is for part-time, young adult pastors who lead church youth groups or are trying to also evangelize on secular campuses. It teaches them how to evangelize on a shorter amount of time.
Ministering to church youth groups requires a completely different set of goals, said Kretz. Usually, the students who come to youth groups will be from different campuses and locations which is a challenge to youth pastors. “Trying to get students involved is different. You’re not working with just one campus …[but] you have to get them all in one place.”
Over one-third of participants attending the conference will belong to the Student Leaders Track A and B, which is catered to college students from campus groups who want to be better leaders for their peers, explained Kretz. They will learn how to be better group leaders and mentor individuals peer-to-peer. Last year, high school students wanting to become group leaders upon entering college also took part in this particular track.
Although “Support Raising Track” will kick-off the latest on June 21, the information provided will be most valuable to the majority of Chi Alpha campus pastors and campus ministers who most often live on a budget that is self-fundraised.
They will learn techniques on how to fundraise support and interact with donors, while working through a 150-page workbook –titled “The Support Raising Playbook”, which the track is taught from. Resources such as sample letters and portfolios will also be handed out.
Evenings will be reserved for communal dinners, meetings, Bible study, worship, and prayer.
Many of the participants will be 20-year-olds even though there are leaders as old as 55. It makes sense to Kretz that many of Chi Alpha leaders come from a young generation because it will help their ministry.
“They will be the best ones to reach out to their peers,” she said.