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Conference helps teens prepare for life, leadership and service

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (July 20, 2007) — Forty teenagers from 10 states will be in the area next week (July 22-28) for a weeklong conference designed to help them think about their future vocations. The “Big Picture” Teen Conference is hosted by Youth in Ministry (YiM), a partnership of Milligan College and Emmanuel School of Religion.

“Today’s youth have lots of questions about their future and about how they can make a difference in this world,” said Phyllis Fox, YiM program director. “Many of them don’t yet know what career they will pursue, or what God is calling them to do, or whether God might even be calling them into full time ministry. The YiM program is designed to help teens find those answers.”

Launched in 2002 through a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., YiM has made it a goal to help these teenagers find their vocational calling and consider how to apply that calling to the ministry.

“In addition to exploring God’s call, we want teens to develop skills to serve their church. The Big Picture is a week that changes teens’ lives and helps guide their futures,” says Fox. “It’s an incredible opportunity for them to prepare for life, leadership and service.”

The Big Picture Teen Conference features ministry skills workshops in leadership, preaching, youth ministry, children’s ministry, counseling, creative arts, interpersonal communication, missions and worship. The conference also includes life discovery assessments, an introduction to the spiritual disciplines, accountability groups and worship services.

“This year we have opened the door for area teens to join conference attendees in an extraordinary worship experience,” said Fox. “On Wednesday, July 25, singer and songwriter Marc Imboden, along with Sherri McCready and the creative arts team of Highland Christian Church in Asheville (N.C.), will take the stage at 7 p.m. in Milligan’s Seeger Chapel for a free performance.”

Imboden is the author of “You are Holy,” recorded by Christian contemporary artist Steven Curtis Chapman. McCready and company will perform “The Vision,” a biblical drama based on Ezekiel 37. Youth groups and students grades 7-12 are invited to attend. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Curtis Booher, Milligan’s assistant professor of Bible and Christian Ministries, is dean of the Big Picture Conference. Speakers include Phil Roberts, senior minister at Hill’n Dale Christian Church in Lexington, Ky.; Tim Ross, senior minister of Hopwood Christian Church in Johnson City, Tenn.; and Laura Buffington, associate minister at SouthBrook Christian Church in Centerville, Ohio.

Additional planning team members include David Robinson, Community Christian Church, Baltimore, Md., and Kit Dotson, student minister, Crossroads Christian Church, Gray, Tenn. Other conference leaders and counselors include youth and student ministers from churches in the Southeast, as well as faculty from both Milligan College and Emmanuel School of Religion.

YiM leads workshops and seminars throughout the region and eastern U.S. to help teens explore their unique calling in life. In June, YiM was the producer of the North American Christian Convention (NACC) Teen Convention held in Kansas City, Mo.

For more information about the Big Picture Teen Conference or other YiM events, contact Phyllis Fox at 423-975-8021 or visit www.youthinministry.org.

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MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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