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ReachStudents Training Series

The ReachStudents Training Series is a series of Zoom calls put on to encourage and equip youth leaders in the EFCA, as we have had to cancel a number of in-person leader trainings. Join us for one-hour calls with the experts listed below! There will be an opportunity at each call to win some sweet giveaways including your name to be entered for a chance to win a free Registration to Rebound Conference. We hope this is a source of encouragement and training for you in 2021.

These will typically be held Thursdays at 2 p.m. CT throughout 2021.

Register HERE to get Zoom links prior to each call.


  • January 21st at 2 p.m. CT

Syler  Thomas:  Equipping and Empowering Volunteers

Syler Thomas is a native Texan who has been the pastor of student ministries at Christ Church Lake Forest in Illinois since 1998, when he graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has written extensively for various outlets including Rooted, The Gospel Coalition, and the Chicago Tribune. His newest book (co-written with Steven Tighe) is Small-Group Leader’s Quick Guide to (Almost) Everything. He and his wife, Heidi, have four kids.


  • February 4th at 2 p.m. CT

Mark  Ostreicher:  Trends in Youth Ministry

Mark Oestreicher has been involved in church ministry his whole life, particularly with teenagers and youth workers. Mark has had a broad experience working in churches in roles ranging from Junior High Pastor to Executive Pastor. For 11 years, Marko was at Youth Specialties in San Diego, an organization that trains and equips church youth workers – the last 8 of those years as president. Mark has authored or contributed to more than 70 books, including the much-talked-about Youth Ministry 3.0. Marko is a partner in The Youth Cartel, providing resources, training and coaching for church youth workers. Mark has been married to Jeannie for 34 years, and has two children.


  • February 18th at 2 p.m. CT

Andrew Root:  Future of Youth Ministry

Andy teaches classes on youth ministry, young adults, family, church, and culture (all with a deep theological bent) at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. At Luther, he is the Olson Baalson Associate Professor of Youth and Family Ministry and has lately been thinking and writing on issues surrounding the intersection of faith and science, including being the co-recipient of a Templeton grant to get that conversation started. It’s called Science for Youth Ministry – you can check it out here. He has written a number of books and has given lectures and presentations across the country and globe both to church groups, youth workers, and academic communities. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, Kara, and their two kids.


  • March 11th at 2 p.m. CT

Leneita Fix:  Who is Gen Z

Leneita Fix co-founded Frontline Urban Resources with Jeffrey Wallace to equip, coach, and speak into the lives of those working with families living in a “survival mode” mentality. They refer to this thinking as the “new urban.” Combined, they carry almost four decades of experience in the family ministry setting, most of it in traditional urban ministry. They have been responsible for Bible based program direction for children ages 5 to 18, curriculum writing, staff training and recruiting, discipleship, resource creation, and speaking to national audiences. Leneita’s passion is to raise up workers using practical, relationship-driven methods while remaining in the trenches with the youth and families they love. She serves with Bow Down Church in West Palm Beach, Florida. She has a personal youth group at home, too—Leneita and her husband, John, have four children. It is her joy to see the lives of the hopeless transformed by a relationship with Jesus Christ.


  • March 25th at 2 p.m. CT

Joe Rigney:  Helping Students Enjoy God

Joe Rigney serves as Assistant Professor of Theology and Literature at Bethlehem College & Seminary. He oversees the Theology and Letters program, an undergraduate major that focuses on the Great Books and the Greatest Book. He is the author of two books: “Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in Lewis’s Chronicles” and “The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts.” Joe is also a pastor at Cities Church in Minneapolis. When he’s not teaching or reading, Joe loves to play baseball with his two sons and spend time with his wife Jenny.


  • April 8th at 2 p.m. CT

Cameron Cole:  Shepherding Students When They Suffer

Cameron Cole has been the Director of Youth Ministries at the Cathedral Church of the Advent since December of 2005, and in January of 2016 his duties expanded to include Children, Youth, and Families. He is the founding chairman of Rooted Ministry, an organization that promotes gospel-centered youth ministry. He is the co-editor of Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practice Guide (Crossway, 2016). Cameron is the author of Therefore, I Have Hope: 12 Truths that Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy (Crossway, 2018), which won World Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year (Accessible Theology) and was runner up for The Gospel Coalition’s Book of the Year (First-Time Author). Cameron recently completed his Masters in Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary.


  • April 15th at 2 p.m. CT

Kara Powell:  Equipping Parents

Kara Powell, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and Chief of Leadership Formation at Fuller Theological Seminary. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women to Watch,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or co-author of a number of books including Faith in an Anxious World, Growing With, 18 Plus, Growing Young, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Essential Leadership, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum.


  • May 13th at 2 p.m. CT

Jed Haas: Following Jesus as a Youth Leader

Jedidiah is passionate about helping people meet, know, and follow Jesus. Jed is the Director of Plethos Ministries with the mission to train faithful men and women to be disciple-makers in their homes and circles of influence by providing quality content, coaching opportunities, conferences and training. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Kendra, and they are blessed to have two children. He has been a pastor for 14 years and is excited to see many faithful men and women get clarity, confidence, and courage to train disciple-makers their home and circle of influence.


  • May 20th at 2 p.m. CT

The Gray Havens: Fostering Creativity to Reach Students

The Gray Havens are an American Christian folk pop husband and wife duo, David and Licia Radford, from Crystal Lake, Illinois. They started their music recording careers in 2012. Check out their Spotify here and their website here! Most recently, they released their new EP called “Rest” you can listen to here. Come hear David speak on Creativity to reach the next generation.


  • Date TBD

April Warfield: Welcoming All-Peoples in Majority White Culture

Based in Los Angeles, April is the Director of Multicultural Ministries in the EFCA as of September 2020. April will help EFCA leaders understand how justice and compassion are essential to developing transformational churches. April has a longstanding history of ministry with the EFCA as evidenced by her extensive and diverse experiences in leadership. She brings a wealth of knowledge from national, district and local church ministry contexts, which will help advance and align multicultural ministry efforts throughout the EFCA. Most recently, April served with Apex Missions, the EFCA’s next generation leadership pipeline, as the director of U.S. projects. For the past eight years, April has been a member of the EFCA All People Council, discussing initiatives impacting the multi-ethnic communities in our movement.


  • September 9th at 2 p.m. CT

Harry Walls IV: Worship in Student Ministries

Worship Pastor of 20 years turned High school pastor. Originally from St. Louis, Harry Walls IV is the current Highschool pastor at New Hope Church, MN. Previously, he was the worship pastor at Bridges Community church in Fremont, California. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, Eva, and their four kids.


Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Crown and Covenant, 2012)

Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ (Crown and Covenant, 2015)

The Gospel Comes with a House Key (Crossway, 2018)

Rosaria Butterfield was once a tenured professor of English who identified as a lesbian and worked to advance the cause of LGBT equality. After her conversion to Christ in 1999, she came to see the sinfulness of having any identity apart from Him.

Rosaria is married to Kent Butterfield, pastor of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church of Durham, and is a home-school mother, pastor's wife, author, and speaker. She is helping Christians to better understand their LGBT neighbors and loved ones so that we can lovingly look past labels of sexual identity and share the gospel effectively.

In 2012, she published her conversion memoir, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An

English Professor’s Journey to Christian Faith. Her second book is Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ (2015). Her third book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key (2018) addresses the lost art of Christian hospitality. Rosaria writes about sexuality, identity, Christian hospitality and community, and seeks to encourage all in faithful Christian living and service.

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Crown and Covenant, 2012)