A determined passion fuels Fresh Hope’s Generations Conference: to do for the next generation what previous generations have made possible for us.

Thirty-five children’s, youth and young adults pastors and leaders gathered at The Tops Conference Centre from February 12-14 to be equipped and inspired for that ministry.

“When I read Psalms like 145 and consider the generational nature of God I think of those who have gone before us and realise we can’t just rest on our laurels,” said Fresh Hope Youth Ministry Catalyst Charlie Burke. “Investing in the next generation is not just something someone has done in the past. It’s a fight worth fighting at present and a great tragedy when we’re not looking out for those coming next.”

Now in its third year, Generations Conference provides leaders with practical ministry training as well as the opportunity to connect with one another, share stories of growth and challenge, and be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

“Over the years my role has changed from focusing on youth to focusing on children, youth, young adults and families, so the conference has helped me look beyond just one age group,” said Tina Phillips, Children’s and Youth Pastor at Northside Church, Turramurra.

“Sharing stories and hearing how others do generations ministry – not to copy them but to be encouraged, get new ideas and think generationally – has been so helpful.”

This year the conference kicked off with a casual dinner, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a family reunion. The next day brought two main sessions in the morning and three workshop electives after lunch: Coaching Passionate Young People and Leaders; The Emerging Generations and Mental Health; and Working with Families. The afternoon was unscheduled to allow time to recharge and connect, and the evening was set aside for worship and intercession. 

Guest speaker Tim Piesse from Crossway Baptist Church in Melbourne invited participants into the simplicity of the discipleship Jesus models, something that reverberated throughout the conference.

“What Tim shared was very simple but you could see how it could easily and effectively be used. I know one of our lay leaders found his sessions very relevant too as she’s stepping into a greater leadership role with young adults,” Tina said.

The final morning included TED talk-style input and an exciting announcement that poured fuel on the already tangible sense that God is doing something new.

“With the Mission and Ministry team’s blessing we announced the availability of grants for new initiatives in generations ministry. Generational ministry is no exception to pioneering and we want to encourage that mindset,” Charlie said.

“It fills my heart each time I work with young people and begin to see the stories of fresh hope happening in the next generation. I hope the conference continues to encourage new expressions of engaging and discipling the next generation.”