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Googling Youth
July 6, 2006

Calvin College will host a three-day conference in mid-July called "Googling Youth in Troubled Times: A Conference for Those Working with Youth amid the Culture Wars."

The event will take place July 13-15 at Calvin and be preceded by a July 11-15 workshop sponsored by the Kuyers Institute at Calvin called "Soul-Searching: The Spiritual Development of Today's Youth."

Organizers say the topic is an important one for churches, schools, and parents who are trying to figure out how to spiritually influence the next generation in the context of a complex and fast-moving cultural setting.

Says Quentin Schultze, director of the Calvin Workshops in Communication and a professor of communication at the college: "Christian families, schools, and churches can feel as if they are becoming culturally irrelevant to today's youth. They also feel like their efforts become fragmented as churches, youth ministries, parents, and schools struggle to communicate effectively with one another."

So one of the key questions to be addressed at Calvin from July 13 to 15 will be: How can those involved in discipling young people work most effectively to nurture faithful youth amid the tensions that divide, discourage, and confuse them?

Scheduled speakers include Claudia Beversluis, new Calvin provost; Darwin Glassford, associate professor of church education at Calvin Theological Seminary; Denise Isom, assistant professor of education at Calvin; Dan Beerens, director of curriculum and instruction for Holland Christian Schools; David Smith, director of the Kuyers Institute; Lew Vandermeer, senior pastor of New Community Church; and Schultze.

The Googling Youth conference will address questions such as:

  • What do today's youth want in life, and why?
  • Why do so many youth see schools and churches as irrelevant?
  • How does spiritual development take place among youth?
  • How do youth learn who they are and who they should be like?
  • What is Christian discipleship?
  • How might it be practiced effectively today?

The conference will be co-sponsored by Christian Schools International, the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning, the Calvin Workshops in Communication, the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary, and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship at Calvin College.

It is also made possible by a grant from the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.