The CE Leadership Summit this year included youth workers, a senior pastor, and children’s workers. The group enjoyed round-table discussions, hearing testimonies of changed lives at Urban Hope, visiting Metro Ministries’ Sidewalk Sunday School program, Jim Cymbala’s Brooklyn Tabernacle, and more.
On Monday, the 30 participants divided into various groups for round-table discussions that were extremely profitable. Timothy Kurtaneck, director of youth leadership training at CE National, led the discussion on characteristics of the current generation that apply to youth ministries now.
The group also enjoyed hearing from three key leaders representing thousands of people who work in the inner city. The leaders discussed some of the coming issues we face in our society due to what is happening in our inner cities. The key leaders were the director of Young Life, the director of Esperanza–the largest Spanish speaking training program in North America, and one of the directors of a growing boxing ministry with Calvary Chapels–an organization that has seen over 7,000 trained through sports ministries and Bible studies.
The day included incredible conversations with students in the Urban Hope neighborhood. The CELS participants talked with children and youth who told about their homes, fears, schools and their futures. The participants toured a boxing ministry called ROCK Ministries and learned from their directors how God is changing lives. They also saw a program by Salt and Light, the children’s ministry of Urban Hope. Children from the ministry gave testimonies of coming to faith in Christ and how they share Christ in the schools.
A group of high school students gave their testimonies and shared their stories of coming to faith and how they are living out their faith. The CELS participants had prayer with the students.
On Monday the group also had a session on the essential elements of an effective youth and children’s ministry led by Ed Short and Timothy Kurtaneck. In addition, on Tuesday morning, the group learned 7 principles a children’s or youth worker must practice.
On Tuesday, the group drove to New York City where they experienced Sidewalk Sunday Schools operated by Metro Ministries. Walking the streets, meeting with teenagers, parents, and children, showed the group how Metro Ministries is reaching young people for Christ in one of the world’s largest cities.
The day concluded by seeing the Passion Play at Brooklyn Tabernacle. The group was challenged in their faith though the Easter-season performance. There were many salvation decisions during the outreach event at Brooklyn Tabernacle.
In addition the group enjoyed a picnic in a New York park, eating Philly cheessteaks, having a Puerto Rican meal, and plenty of fun interaction with one another. The group also had the opportunity to pray and to seek God for reaching young people and children for Christ. “The theme of the retreat related to expanding our vision,” said Ed Lewis, executive director of CE National, “and that was certainly accomplished.
“The training was challenging, the ministry opportunities were stretching, the fellowship and fun were fabulous,” said Lee Seese, youth pastor at Community Grace Brethren Church in Everett, Pennsylvania. “It is obvious that the CE National and Urban Hope staff love God and people!”