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Conference helps teens explore ministry

“Star Queen” performance free for local community

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (July 17, 2009) — More than 60 teenagers from 10 states will be in the area next week (July 19-24) to attend 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, Milligan’s director of church relations who heads up the YiM program.

“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 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, storytelling, 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.

As a special treat this year, pastor and storyteller Tommy Oaks, along with his son, John Thomas, will perform their popular musical “Star Queen,” a comedic retelling of the story of the biblical book of Esther. The performance will be held in Milligan’s Seeger Memorial Chapel on Wednesday, July 22, at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

On Friday afternoon, July 24, conference participants will volunteer at several non-profit organizations in the area, including Good Samaritan Ministries, Coalition for Kids, Boys 2 Men and the John Sevier Center.

Curtis Booher, Milligan’s assistant professor of Bible and Christian Ministries, is dean of the Big Picture Conference. Marc Imboden, author of the popular Christian contemporary song “You are Holy,” will serve as the worship leader. Speakers include Tommy and John Thomas Oaks, David Robinson, lead pastor at Community Christian Church in Baltimore, Md.; and popular Christian speakers Heather Holland and Ronda Paulson.

Robinson, along with Kit Dotson, student minister at Crossroads Christian Church in Gray, served as planning team members for the conference. Other conference leaders and counselors include youth and student ministers from churches across the U.S., as well as faculty from both Milligan and Emmanuel.

YiM leads workshops and seminars throughout the region and eastern U.S. to help teens explore their unique calling in life. Earlier this month, YiM was the producer of the North American Christian Convention (NACC) Teen Convention held in Louisville, Ky.

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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