Presenter Information

Steven Argue – Steve is a Sticky Faith Coach and Trainer and Advisory Council Member of Fuller Youth Institute. He is Adjunct Professor of Youth Ministry at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and serves as a pastor on the Ministry Leadership Team at Mars Hill Bible Church [Grand Rapids, MI].  Steve researches, speaks, and writes on topics surrounding adolescence, emerging adulthood, spiritual development, and spiritual struggle. Connect with Steve on the or on twitter .

Danita Brick - Danita has been involved in the lives of high schoolers since she was in college in the early ‘80’s. She recently retired from serving as Director of Student Ministries at Shiloh UMC in Jasper, Indiana. She and her husband Gary are still active at Shiloh where she serves as Sticky Faith Coordinator for their family ministry initiative. Her favorite piece of furniture is a well-used dining room table. Danita writes about relationships and her faith journey on her blog, “Leave the Dishes | After Dinner Conversations” which can be found at And on Wednesday mornings you’ll find her at her dining room table with high school girls, eating bacon and cinnamon rolls, laughing and talking about prom, school, life, God and anything else the girls bring up.

Dave Csinos –  Dave is an author, speaker, practical theologian, husband, researcher of children’s spirituality, and former children’s pastor. He is founder and president of Faith Forward , author of Children’s Ministry that Fits and Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus (with Ivy Beckwith). Dave and his wife, Jenny, live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they enjoy hiking, skiing, watching great movies (especially ones by Mel Brooks or Christopher Guest), and inserting Seinfeld references into conversations every chance they get. Dave is a regular speaker on topics such as children and youth, faith formation, intercultural ministry, social justice, and postmodernism. He has spoken at churches, conferences, camps, and universities throughout the United States and Canada. Connect with Dave on his blog or on twitter .

Stephanie Caro
 - Stephanie Caro has been involved in ministry to children, youth and adults in the local church since…a long time. Her humorous, straightforward style keeps her busy presenting and coaching at conferences, training events, camps, mission trips, retreats, churches, etc. She is Senior Consultant for Ministry Architects and Director of Small Church Ministry Architects.  In 2010, her book, Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches, was published by Group/Simply Youth Ministry. Her latest book, 99 Thoughts for the Smaller Church Youth Worker, came out in 2011, also published by Group/Simply Youth Ministry. Her next book, “Ten Solutions (to Ten Common Mistakes Small Churches Make)” comes out in 2015. Stephanie is a contributing author to several ministry resources in addition to her regular column “Smaller Church Youth Ministry” in Group Magazine. Check out Stephanie’s blog on the #1 read youth ministry blog,, powered by Simply Youth Ministry/Group Publishing. Stephanie and her husband, Steve, live in Houston, TX. Their 7 children are all grown!  [email protected]

Jen Dejong – Jen is the Vice President of Innovation at Ministry Architects. She began working in youth ministry in 2002 as the Youth Program Coordinator at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN.  Jen graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.S. in Cognitive Studies and a minor in Communications. She also earned a M.S. at Vanderbilt in Developmental Psychology with a special emphasis on parental involvement in teenagers’ extracurricular activities. Jen currently resides in Springfield, Illinois with her husband, Marc, their two daughters, Maria and Rose, and their two dogs.

Leneita Fix – Leneita has been involved in youth or family ministry for over 24 years serving in rural, suburban and urban settings, camps, small and large churches and non-profits. She has authored or co-authored several youth ministry books, including Everybody’s Urban Understanding the Survival Mode of the Next Generation and contributes to several youth ministry websites and curriculum companies including Leadertreks, Simply Youth Ministry, Lifetree Family, Download Youth Ministry,, InWord and YM360. Leneita is the ministry and training coordinator for BowDown Church, co-founded a coaching and training organization called Frontline Urban Resources ( and lives with her amazing husband John and four children in Florida. Connect with Leneita on twitter .

Helene Foust – Helene has been involved in church ministry her whole adult life, particularly with teenagers and youth workers. Helene has a broad experience working in three different church settings - mid-sized suburban, small rural, and large urban – and has strengthened youth ministries in each setting. Currently, she serves as the Associate Director of Student Ministries for the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, providing resources, training and coaching for church leaders, and programming to help youth connect to Jesus and grow as Christian leaders. Helene is a frequent blogger and is writing two new confirmation resources for United Methodist leaders. Helene has been married to Jesse for 14 years and they have three children, Eric, Hannah and Emma. She enjoys family travel, Bible study, painting, writing, graphic design, photography, serving others, and a great cup of coffee!  She is social media fan and loves to interact with other leaders. Connect with her on or twitter .

Karen Grant - Karen has been in children’s ministry for almost nine years. She is the Children’s Minister at Clay Church in South Bend, Indiana, and oversees kids from birth through 5th grade. She loves to tell stories and she loves watching kids discover that Jesus loves them immensely, no matter what. She has spent lots of time writing curriculum, directing camps at Camp Lakewood, building leaders, and helping people get excited about serving and using their gifts. She and her husband, Tom, have three children. When not working she’s painting & drawing or they’re traveling and watching minor league baseball – boasting pennants from over 30 MILB stadiums!

Aaron Helman - Aaron is on a mission to end youth worker burnout by providing the training and resources that you haven’t been taught… until now. Smarter Youth Ministry exists to help you learn how to manage their time and resources better so that you can do more ministry with less frustration. All of that having been said, you most likely know him as the creator of “Lamentation or Taylor Swift Lyric.” Aaron is the Youth Minister at Clay Church in South Bend, Indiana. Connect with Aaron on twitter or on his blog .

Jen Huff - Jen is a provisional deacon who enjoys youth, young adult, and children’s ministries. At her current appointment in Kentland, IN, Jen spends time with children in a daily after school program and directs a preschool that was started almost two years ago. Jen is married to John Huff, who is also clergy. They enjoy living in a small town in rural Indiana and are foster parents. When Jen isn’t serving in ministry, she likes reading, movies, crocheting, and canvas paint classes.

Travis Jeffords – Travis leads worship for The Open Door, First United Methodist Church Bloomington’s contemporary service, and co-directs Jubilee, the college and young adult ministry. Travis has a Master’s of Music from the University of Texas at Austin, and plans on attending Christian Theological Seminary to work towards an MDiv in the fall. He and his wife live in an intentional Christian community called Sunset Hill.

Brent Lacy – Youth Pastor. Web Designer. Homeschool Dad. Former Child Abuse Investigator. IT Technician. Writer. Lock-in Survivor. Rural Ministry Advocate. These all describe the experiences and stories that are part of Brent Lacy’s time in ministry. Brent grew up on 160 acres of corn, soybeans and cattle in Southern Illinois. Brent serves as a Rural Ministry Specialist for National Network of Youth Ministries (NNYM) in the Great Lakes Region. Brent lives in Indiana with his beautiful wife and three awesome kids in the Covered Bridge Capital of the World!  You can follow Brent on Twitter or follow his blog .

Alexandra Lamb - Hailing from the prairies of Canada with a background in education, Alexandra Lamb brings a wealth of ‘in the trenches’ knowledge to children’s ministries. Having worked in various roles in KidMin since 1994, Alex has spent the last 8 years working as Director of Children’s Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Bloomington, Indiana and is currently in charge of supervising the birth through college level ministries. She has God-given skills and passions that she is thrilled to share with others in ministry.

Terry Linhart – Terry Linhart is an author, strategist, and teacher who has become an experienced and credible voice in nonprofit leadership settings. For over 25 years, Terry has led and taught about topics related to ministry and organizational oversight. He draws on his research expertise (Ph.D., Purdue) to consult with and support numerous national organizations. His international research, teaching, and writing have allowed him to become a global voice on topics related to youth and culture. His range of experience has helped him be recognized on Twitter as one of the top 50 professors on leadership, strategy, and innovation. When not on the road, Terry can be found tending to his orchard, writing in a local coffee shop, grilling in the backyard, or watching sports (in particular, Arsenal, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Indianapolis Colts). Terry lives near South Bend, Indiana with his wife Kelly and they have three grown children – Lauren, Jayson, and Sean. Follow Terry on Twitter , , and Pinterest .

Michael Novelli - For more than two decades Michael’s passion has been to explore the intersection of spiritual formation and experiential learning. This drive continues to fuel his work as a content designer, church youth leader, and community advocate. Michael has a M.Ed. in Integrated Learning, is an adjunct instructor at North Park University, and serves as a senior curriculum developer for Sparkhouse. He creates learner-centered resources and experiences for children, youth and adults. Michael, his wife Michele, and children, Angelo and Abrielle, live in Elgin, Illinois.

Matthew Phipps - Matthew is from the south east of England, and once got his head stuck in a revolving door. He is a local licensed Pastor in the UMC, serving as Pastor of Family Ministries at Old Bethel on the East Side of Indy. He met his beautiful wife Deborah, working as missionaries in Northern Ireland. They have two boys, Elijah (4) and Jacob (2), and are expecting their third child in the Fall. He’s passionate about finding out more about people’s stories, and that drives his heart for missions.

Stephanie Riebe - Stephanie is the Director of Student Ministries at Castleton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Steph has been at CUMC for almost 5 years and has been serving in full time student ministry for 9 years. Steph is in the process of receiving her Masters in Family Ministry from Wesley Seminary and loves watching churches transform from ministry silos to communities where families are fed and equipped. Steph is very passionate about the television show Friday Night Lights, loves the feeling at the end of a distance running race and tries to see her baby niece who lives in Fort Wayne every two weeks.

Chris Schaffner – Chris is a certified addictions counselor working with chemically dependent ‘emerging adults’ and is the founder of Conversations on the Fringe , an organization seeking creative and innovative ways to bridge the gap between the mental health community and those entities (particularly schools and churches) that serve youth in contemporary society. He’s been working with children and teens for over 20 years.  He has worked with teens who struggle with addiction, sufferers from abuse, self injury, depression and suicide.  He has spoken nationally at the UYWI Conference and Reload Training, Simply Youth Ministry Conference, Operation Snowball events, Chicago HOPES, CCDA Annual Conference, OtraOnda Dimension Juvenile Conference, provides professional consultation, assists with program development, teaches parenting, anger management, and domestic violence classes, as well a teaching a series he calls ‘Coping With…” that equips adolescent with life management skills. Chris also writes youth ministry curriculum for Simply Youth Ministry and coordinates a ministry of SoulCare to those serving in ministry.

Sarah Sparks-Franklin - Sarah is the Director of Youth and Jubilee College Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Bloomington. She has a Master’s of Divinity with an emphasis in Pastoral Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary and she is a certified PC (U.S.A) Candidate. She loves to empower youth and young adults to grow deeper in their relationship with God through community building, spiritual formation, acts of service, and leadership development. Her favorite pastimes include coffee consumption, dog-walking, Netflixing, and hanging out with students.


  1. looks interesting need dates please

Leave a Reply