Fringe Community Conversations are collaborative community-based gatherings aimed at helping those that work with youth, parents, and students to understand the unique problems facing adolescents in today’s culture. These gatherings will help those in attendance better understand the many issues related to the adolescent journey and enable them to provide the best care possible. We host conversations, presentations, and workshops at schools, churches, and other youth serving organizations. Ultimately, we desire to provide a customized learning experience for those in attendance, based on your unique context, on the follow topics:

Effective Ministry To Marginalize Youth: Do you have a diverse group of kids? Do you want to be more effective in reaching a more diverse cross-section of youth in your community? Do you desire to impact the lives of LGBTQ youth, kids with disabilities, cross racial barriers, and get to know those who are strikingly different than you and those in your ministry? Do you desire to increase your cultural intelligence in order to build a bridge across the gap between your church and others? This training focuses on developing and increasing our cultural intelligence (CQ) in order to begin the bridge building process of learning how to love our neighbors that appear to be different that us.

Parenting In The Digital Age: If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Being a teenager today isn’t any different than when I was a kid” then this workshop is for you. Changes in our technologically driven culture is influencing how our kids see the world, a world that is spinning faster than ever before. This generation has never known a world without the internet, social media, and mobile technology and this has impacted how they interact with the world around them, for better and for worse. Together we will explore these changes and how we can help our kids navigate the technologically-driven world they live in and are expected to thrive in.

Helping Hurting Kids: Rates of depression and self injury continue to climb among adolescents every year.  Abuse and trauma seem to be standard experiences for many youth today.  As a youth worker it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pain and suffering your students face.  This workshop will help you understand the best practices for walking alongside the teens in your community and how to be a catalyst for healing in their lives.

Help, My Child Is Hurting: This parenting workshop is similar to the Helping Hurting Kids workshop but it aims to help the parents trying to navigate the complexity of their kids struggles.  The goal of this program is to give parents information on subjects like adolescent depression, self-injury, suicide, anxiety, eating disorder, abuse, and other challenging issues.  Parents will also walk away with a plan for getting the help their family needs as they begin the journey towards freedom and healing.

The Art of Conflict and Communication: The workshop focuses on developing the healthy communication habits, as well as positive conflict resolution skills for parents and teens.  Listening well can be one of the most effective things you can do for a teen struggling to figure out life.  How well we communicate will have a major impact on the quality of your relationships with those you serve and care about.  Listening well will also have an impact on how you manage conflict among your team/organization and provide you with a concrete tool to push through barriers and achieve your goals.

Reimagining Adolescence:  Kids growing up today are living in a world that is fundamentally different than the one their parents grew up in.  This poses challenges to even the most adept adult.  In this workshop you will discover the systemic cultural changes that are creating a whole new developmental experience for our kids as they attempt to find out their true identity and place of belonging.  Join us as we explore the developmental and spiritual challenges of raising adolescents in contemporary society. 

*Reimagining Adolescence is a one day workshop for parents and/or youth workers.

The Impact of Popular Culture: We’ve known intuitively for years of the impact popular culture has on developing teens.  This workshop explores the current cultural landscape and ways to “flip the script” and use culture to our advantage when trying to reach kids.  We’ll look at the music, art, mobile media, internet trends, and movie/television that youth consume and how they are consuming it.

Anger / Anxiety: This workshop looks at the unique stress response of men and women and the complications of having life controlling anger or anxiety. You will leave with an understanding of how anger and anxiety affect the quality of life as well as some simple strategies for managing both.

Depression / Suicide: Depression can be overwhelming to a young person.  In this workshop we will define what depression is and what it isn’t, we will look at the physiology of a depressed brain, adolescent development, signs and symptoms of depression, cause of depression, and how we can walk along side adolescents suffering from depression.  We will also take time to explore suicide and suicidal ideation.  We will learn how to increase protective factors that decrease the risk that a youth in our care will turn to suicide and how to protect ourselves from liability.

Self-Injury: Self-injury, although it may seem temporarily helpful, is ultimately a dangerous and futile coping strategy which interferes with intimacy, productivity and happiness. There is no “safe” or “healthy” amount of self-injury. Self-injury is not a compulsion which one is powerless over for a lifetime, people can and do stop injuring, with the right kinds of help and support. Self-injury can be transformed from a seemingly uncontrollable compulsion to a choice. In this session you will learn the risk-factors involved with SI and develop an arsenal of coping skills to aid those suffering from it.

Pornography: Exploring the impact the pornography has on culture and the individual.  Pornography changes the brain and how we experience sex.  Addiction to pornography is wrecking the lives of young people everywhere and they are oblivious to it.  This workshop provides details on how pornography impacts brain development and our ability to connect with people the way God intended.

Child Abuse: If you work/serve in ministry long enough you will encounter child abuse.  Most know that we need to report the abuse but many don’t know how to walk alongside the victims after the abuse has occurred.  This workshop will provide the audience with practical ideas to partner with young people as they begin the healing from abuse.

Human Behavior and the Functionality of Sin: Sin is a moral failure.  Most people won’t argue that.  But, what if it’s more that just a bad decision? What if the sin is actually a functional way of trying to deal with the cards you were dealt? What if sin is just another way to try and meet the emotional and relational needs we all have?  What if they learned other ways to meet those needs?  Would sin become less appealing?  That’s what we will look at in this workshop.

Youth with Disabilities: Youth with disabilities are often marginalized and pushed to the fringes of society.  This workshop will focus on the best practices for restoring teens with disabilities to full participation in the community.

Soul Care / Self Care: Do you feel like you give and give and give but are running on empty most days?  Do you feel like people take advantage of you and now you resent those you were called to serve?  Does your spiritual life get buried under the demands of ministry?  Are you overwhelmed with the amount of hurt and tragedy you see every day?  If so you may be in need of Soul Care.  Learn how to “keep your cup full while you pour out to others” through the practice of spiritual disciplines.  We need healthy youth workers so they can remain engaged in the kingdom work for the long haul.

Bullying: The term bullying sounds like a rite of passage that many youth go through but in reality bullying has life altering consequences for everyone involved.  This workshop will take a look at how an informed response to the bullying cycle can bring reconciliation and community to everyone involved.

Current Drug Trends: Slang terms, drug popularity, and methods and concealment of substance use change regularly. Anyone who spends a significant amount of time with young people should keep on top of these trends so that they can better identify and refer students who may require help. In this presentation, program participants will be updated on the latest significant drug trends, as well as signs and symptoms of use and where to go with concerns about a student.

Working with Criminally Active Youth: This workshop will address the issues related to working with adolescents involved in criminal behaviors, such as; drug using, drug dealing, gang related crime, theft, vandalism, violence, etc.  We will explore how God has wired us and what He wired us for as well as the intrinsic longings He placed in us to direct our behaviors.   We will learn about the pro-social vs. pro-criminal spectrum and how one becomes a criminal and disengages morally.  We will also discuss the criminogenic needs individuals have and how recidivism occurs when those needs aren’t addressed.  We will explore what developmental assets are and how they are related to criminality and how we as a church can participate in increasing the numbers of assets young people have.  We will explore how to develop a community network to address the various needs an individual has, such as; employment, housing, mental health, etc.  We will discuss mentoring and family ministry strategies that are proven to reduce recidivism and provide hope for individuals coming out of a criminal lifestyle and moving into a Kingdom lifestyle.

How to Talk to Your White, Middle-class, Straight, American, Christian, Teenager about Justice: How do we love those who intentionally/unintentionally benefit from their privilege and perpetuate the myth of “better than others”? How do we love those who oppress and marginalize vulnerable people groups? This workshop is part story and part conversation on how to navigate conversations with our “enemies”. Learn the story of an individual who grew up racist, bigoted, and with a sense of being better than everyone who was different than him. Learn how, through important relationship, experiences, and postures, this individual changed and became a friend and advocate for those he previously mistreated. Then, learn how to enter into these tense conversations with others to begin the work of reconciliation.

If you are interested in discussing the possibility of hosting a workshop/training just send us an email and we’ll work something out for you and your organization.