OBU hosts student ministry conference

By Morgan Smith, Faith Editor

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Ben Trueblood speaks at the conference. / Preston Morris, The Bison 

“Regardless of your ministry context, church size, denomination or years of experience, it is possible for you to have a healthy student ministry,” Ben Trueblood, the director of Student Ministry for Lifeway Christian Resources, said in the description of his book, Student Ministry that Matters: Three Elements of a Healthy Student Ministry.

Tuesday, Feb. 21, OBU hosted Trueblood as part of its own Student Ministry that Matters Conference.

The conference took place in the Mabee Suite in the Noble Complex from 1:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

OBU’s own Dr. Scott Pace, the Reverend A.E. and Dora Johnson Hughes Chair of Christian Ministry and an associate professor of applied ministry, led the conference.

Dr. Heath Thomas, the Dean of the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry and a professor of Old Testament, was also involved in the planning of the event.

Andy Harrison, program director at Falls Creek, and the program assistant, Todd Sanders, were invited to attend as well.

According to Trueblood’s book, Student Ministry that Matters gives ministry leaders the opportunity to examine the health of their student ministry program, especially one that is growing in numbers, such as OBU’s student ministry.

“This was a conference designed for pastors, church leaders, and anyone involved in ministering to students,” Pace said. “Last year, the Hobbs College began hosting what we hope will become an annual ‘Next Generation Conference’ with various themes each year. Our focus is serving local churches by training leaders and offering resources to reach and teach the next generation.”

Among the topics discussed were current trends in student ministry, philosophies of student ministry and preventing student ministry burnout.

However, the professors and ministry professionals were not the only ones in attendance at the conference.

“Many students attended from various majors in an effort to grow in their own understanding of reaching and teaching teens,” Dr. Pace said.

Pace said his role with the university allowed him to become involved in the conference.

“As the chair of the Christian and Cross-Cultural Ministry department, I have the privilege of coordinating partnerships with local churches and helping to facilitate opportunities for us to serve them,” he said.

Pace said that he hopes the conference was an encouragement to the students in attendance.

“Our most direct goal is for churches to be encouraged and equipped in their ministry to students, but our ultimate goal is that the students involved in their ministries would be impacted for the cause of Christ,” Pace said.

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