Youth Leaders Gather Together - 15th Mar 2018

On Saturday March 3rd, youth leaders from across Otago & Southland gathered at Calvin Church in Gore to connect with other youth leaders and to upskill in the area of youth ministry. This is the fourth year re:Gen has run. It is an event that was birthed out of a collaborative effort involving Presbyterians, Anglicans, Salvation Army, Scripture Union and some Pentecostal churches. The day involves worship, inspirational teaching from invited speakers, workshops designed to grow and develop youth leaders, and lots of time to mingle over good food and good coffee.


This year's speakers were Petia and Caroline Wilson from Auckland. Petia uses creative arts to share the gospel and provide input into young leaders. Petia encouraged and challenged all of us to minister out of who we are and simply “be the best me I can be.” The highlight of the day for many was watching Petia’s speed art where he painted a brilliant portrait of Jesus in a matter of minutes but nobody was aware until he flipped the canvas at the very end.

Caroline leads suicide prevention and awareness training across the country and so her sessions helped us unpack this difficult yet very important topic. One of the reasons for bringing Caroline down was the fact that she was able to offer her Suicide2Hope training in Invercargill a few days after re:Gen. It is such an important area to be upskilled in, not just for youth leaders but for all of those in ministry across the church. I was reminded of the importance of this when chatting at the Suicide2Hope workshop on the Tuesday with one of the youth pastors who was at re:Gen. On the Monday in between re:Gen and the Suicide2Hope worskhop, the local high school in her town called her in to help with a young girl who was struggling with suicide. This is a repeating story for youth pastors everywhere and is becoming more and more frequent.


At re:Gen we were blessed with input from the Bible Society, Presbyterian Youth Ministry,, Scripture Union and Alpha. Some of the workshops covered topics such as helping youth hear from God, leading games, connecting intermediate aged youth with the church and helping people with mental illness.

We had invited Eugene Fuimaono down from Scripture Union in Wellington to come and teach on worship and also unpack with us the Treaty of Waitangi and how that can make us better youth workers, but unfortunately fog meant he wasnt able to fly in. However, Logan & Levi, our two worship leaders, stepped up and led a conversation for those who were interested in exploring worship in youth ministry. One of the highlights of the day for me as the organiser, was during the workshop sessions I heard this loud music blaring out of the auditorium, and so I walked over to investigate, and was preparing to yell at someone to turn the music down, but instead I saw a group of youth leaders who had decided that in the middle of their impromptu workshop on worship, they would just play some worship music over the PA system and just spread out and spend some time just simply worshipping God.  


Overall it was a great day and a great way to get inspired and equipped for the year of youth ministry ahead. Keep a look out for next years dates as well as further opportunities this year for connecting with those in youth ministry and upskilling as youth leaders.

Brad Kelderman



“The whole event was great. I headed into the day thinking aww just another training day but it blew everything out of the water.”

“It was really heartening to see so many youth pastors, leaders and workers attend. My main takeaway from Petia Wilson's message on being yourself and being the best you can be.”

“Lots of food for thought. Things like trying to be more intergenerational, providing more space for the kids to connect with God individually, etc.”

“Caroline's talk about suicide was definitely one that's relevant to all of us.”

“THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!! I know that's what everyone says about every event... BUT seriously, such good food.”





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