GrowCon is a FREE VOLUNTEER TRAINING for anyone who works with kids or teenagers. Kids Ministry Conference | Youth Ministry Conference


GrowCon is an annual online conference for leaders in kids ministry and youth ministry. Thousands of people have watched the conference (either live on January 27, or as a replay after the live event is over) and this year, we decided to make it easier than ever for you to watch the conference with your entire family ministry team — staff and volunteers, kids ministry and youth ministry!

In this Do-It-Yourself Event Guide, we’ll show you how to design an entire training event around this free online conference (either live or after the conference airs). GrowCon is packed with: training, celebration, fun and games, and even some special awards.



Host and Dancer | Carll

Carll is a man of many words. He is a self-described expert at practically everything. He thinks of himself as “a master of all trades, and jack of none.”  He’ll be helping host #GrowCon19, he’s the official spokesperson of Sunday Cool Tees, and he’s aworld renowned occasionally recognized ministry “expert” and “consultant”.

Sending Teenagers on a Mission | Jerrod Gunter

Jerrod is the Next Generation Pastor of New Direction Christian Church in Tennessee and a coach for the Center for Youth Ministry Training. He is a pastor, an experienced communicator, and has served in urban youth ministry, worked as a teacher and counselor. To learn more about Jerrod and his work, visit

Asking Questions That Prompt Deeper Conversation | Irene Cho

Irene has served in youth ministry for more than 25 years. She spent eleven years at Fuller Youth Institute serving as the point person for urban youth ministry leadership training and resources, has been a youth pastor, and is a writer and speaker for major conferences, retreats, curriculum, and online publications. She is currently co-authoring a book with Daniel White Hodge and pioneering a new project at

How (Not) to Break Trust with Parents | Jeremy Lee

Jeremy is the creator of Parent Ministry, an online resource site to help churches better serve and partner with the parents of kids and teenagers. Before creating Parent Ministry, Jeremy spent time serving in the local church, in camps, and by creating helpful content and resources for churches. To learn more about Jeremy and his work, visit

Creating Teaching Moments Kids & Teenagers Will Remember | A.C. Sanford

A.C. is a producer, creative director, and actor with a love for young people and the local church. He has worked with churches, camps, and curriculum companies (including Grow Curriculum and Strategy) to create compelling and memorable messages and experiences for young people. To learn more about A.C. and his work, visit

Prioritizing Kids and Families with Special Needs | Sue Spiesz

Sue is an advocate, educator, consultant, and ministry leader who specializes in serving families and individuals with special needs. She has designed, launched, and led special needs ministries in both churches and communities, and currently teaches graduate level courses at Buffalo State University in the Exceptional Education Department. She is also a regular contributor and consultant to Grow Curriculum and Strategy.

Talking to Kids About Race and Disability | Dorena Williamson

Dorena is an advocate, speaker, and author, but she’s also worked as a social counselor and worship leader. Most recently, Dorena authored a series of children’s books called ColorFull, ThoughtFull, and GraceFull, which are each designed to help kids better love and empathize with people with special needs, people with different skin colors, and people impacted by poverty and homelessness. To learn more about Dorena and her work, visit

The Power of Praising the People You Lead | David Miller

David is the Vice President of Coaching at Slingshot Group. He is a leadership coach, staffing consultant, pastor, speaker, and connector of people. He is passionate about helping people love their work by coaching leaders on how to built trust, encourage risk-taking, increase collaboration, and promote creativity. To learn more about David and his work, visit

3 Keys to Spiritual Resilience | Tommy Nixon

Tommy is the Chief Strategy Officer of Urban Youth Workers Institute, the Lead Pastor of One Life City Church, and the founder of Solidarity. He has over 15 years of experience in building teams and non-profits to have a greater impact in the urban center, and is passionate about helping leaders develop spiritual resilience in the face of difficult ministry experiences.

The Power of Influence When Leading Kids & Teenagers | Vance Martin

Vance Martin is the Vice President of NextGen at Slingshot Group. He has had literally a lifetime of ministry experience. Vance grew up in the home of a Children’s Pastor and evangelist and has been exposed to all types of churches and ministry philosophies throughout the years. He has been in vocational ministry for 15 years.

Ministering to Middle Schoolers | Justin Herman

Justin is the Sandals Youth Network Supervisor at Sandals Church in California and is the founder of Controlled Chaos, a podcast and community dedicated to supporting any leader or volunteer in junior high ministry. With Kurt Johnston, Justin is the co-author of the new book Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry. To learn more about Justin and his work, visit

Ministering to Preteens | Mike Sheley

Mike is the Middle School Pastor at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Indiana, which includes preteens and middle schoolers from grades 5-8. He’s a technology enthusiast (especially Apple products and anything that helps him make his teaching environments more engaging) and a content creator for churches or organizations who strive to do preteen ministry more effectively. Mike is also a contributor to Grow Curriculum and Strategy. To learn more about Mike and his work, visit

The 4 Habits that Help Kids & Teenagers Grow Spiritually | Kenny & Elle Campbell

Kenny and Elle are the co-founders of Stuff You Can Use, the kids and youth ministry resource organization behind Grow Curriculum and GrowCon. They led the middle school ministry at their church in Buffalo, NY for 9 years, and while they were there they created Stuff You Can Use as a way to share their ministry resources with others. Today they live in Atlanta, GA where they lead the SYCU team, co-host the podcast Youth Ministry Answers, and dream up fun new stuff like GrowCon to help church leaders all over the world.


What Every Teenager Needs from the Local Church | Propaganda

In some ways, teenagers today are just like teenagers throughout all of history. But in other ways, pastoring teenagers today, in your specific time and place, is absolutely unique. In this session, Propaganda (musician, poet, activist, and co-host of The Red Couch Podcast) will offer his unique perspective on what it takes to reach young people with the Gospel and connect them with a local church – today and always.

3 Facts About the Teenage Brain Every Adult Needs to Understand | Mark Oestreicher

Scientists understand more than ever before about the teenage brain, but most youth workers don’t have a ton of spare time to study cognitive psychology. In this session Marko (youth worker, author, and co-founder of The Youth Cartel) will walk us through three new break-throughs in understanding the teenage brain and how those developments should shape our ministries.

How to Discipline a Teenager | Sandra Stanley

As a youth worker, disciplining a teenager can be complicated. How do you discipline them and preserve your relationship? How do you address behavioral issues at church? What about at home? When (and how) do you get a parent involved? In this session, we’ll be joined by Sandra Stanley, author of the new devotional Breathing Room. Sandra has parented teenagers of her own, led teenagers in the local church, and cared for both youth workers and parents as well.

The Art of Good Conversation | Yulee Lee

Every week, you probably spend a lot of time in conversations. But whether you’re talking with students, volunteers, parents, or co-workers, let’s be honest – we all know what it’s like to get stuck in a bad conversation. In this session, Yulee Lee (children’s and youth pastor, educator, and doctoral candidate) will challenge you to think differently about your conversations, become a more active listener, and learn to engage in true dialogue.

Cultivating a Culture of Student Leadership | Jeff Wallace

We all understand the power of students serving and leading in our ministries, but it’s not exactly easy to figure out how to raise up teenagers and empower them to lead. In this session, Jeff Wallace (executive director of The Lift Tour and Youth Pastor Summit for Student Leadership University) will walk you through a realistic vision for teenagers leading in your ministry and give you practical steps to get there.

5 Ways to Grow as a Leader | Tyler Reagin

When it comes to the health and growth of our ministries, we are sometimes our own biggest barrier. In this session, Tyler Reagin (president of Catalyst and a former youth pastor) will help you think more strategically about your development as a leader by looking inward before we look outward. Because if you want to see your ministry grow in health and effectiveness, you need to consider your own health and effectiveness too.

5 Tips for When Leading Volunteers Gets Difficult | April Diaz

We couldn’t do youth ministry without our volunteers, but sometimes leading volunteers gets difficult. In this session, April Diaz (author, youth worker, and certified coach) will help you navigate and better prepare for those challenging, but inevitable, moments of conflict and misunderstanding with your volunteers.

10-ish Ways to Get More Students at Your Next Event | Frank Gil

After all the time, energy, and resources you spend planning incredible events, wouldn’t it be awesome if those events could reach even a few more students than you’re already reaching? In this session, Frank Gil (youth pastor and host of the podcast Fifteen Minutes with Frank) shares a ton of ideas, tips, and strategies for getting more teenagers through the doors for your next event.

How to Partner with Any Parent | Jeremy Lee

You probably believe in the power of partnering with parents, but figuring out how to do that is tricky – especially with parents who aren’t exactly engaged in their kid’s faith journey. In this session, Jeremy Lee (youth worker and founder of helps us understand the three different kinds of parents in our ministries and how we can partner with each of them more effectively.

How Not to Preach to Teenagers | Karl Romeus

If you’ve ever preached to students before, you know that trying to engage a room of teenagers can be difficult. In this session,  Karl Romeus (a youth pastor and co-leader of the Thrive Unleash Conference) will share some practical strategies you can use this week and help you avoid a few common mistakes when it comes to preaching to teenagers.

5 Email Sequences to Help You Scale Relationships | Kenny Jahng

Digital marketers know something youth workers could learn from: technology is a tool that can be used to scale relationships. In this session, Kenny Jahng (digital strategist, church consultant, and founder of Big Click Syndicate) will teach you the basics of email sequences and share five specific sequences you can use to build relationships with students, parents, and volunteers.




  • An event guide.
  • A planning timeline.
  • A suggested schedule.
  • A shopping list.



  • Editable event graphics.
  • Event title and background images in horizontal, square, and vertical formats.


  • Editable flyers in PSD, PDF, and DOC formats.



  • A video of the full 90-minute main session.
  • Individual videos of the 3 main sessions.
  • Individual videos of the 9 bonus sessions.