Perkins School of Youth Ministry

PSYM Workshops are offered during the same period everyday, Monday-Thursday.

Shortshops are offered on Tuesday and Wednesday only.


Our United Methodist Heritage and Beliefs

Walt Marcum

Explore the United Methodist heritage going back to the English reformation and the Wesleys.  Focusing on a historical overview of United Methodist beliefs.  Class topics will include:  Wesley's unique approach to belief known as the Catholic Spirit, doctrinal standards, and unique Methodist emphases. 

Answerbook, Textbook or Workbook: How Changing Assumptions Can Lead to Better Bible Study
Dr. Roy L. Heller

Are you interested in leading your PSYM colleagues in Bible study while enhancing your skills for working with youth? This course will give you the opportunity and preparation to lead PSYM study gatherings by looking at familiar texts “again for the first time” in order to move beyond common assumptions toward Bible study as community building. We’ll examine how those we teach often see the Bible as a book with all the answers to our questions or a text with a set of information that we are expected to know well. Instead, let’s approach and teach the Bible as a workbook that moves us to question, explore, wonder and discuss.

Slick, Cheap or Deep: Choosing and Using Faith Shaping Resources

Dr. Jack Radcliffe

A focus on the principles of curriculum development (writing, editing and adapting) from a Wesleyan perspective and evaluation of curriculum resources for youth ministry. This course will also explore the latest research on how youth learn.  A shortshop "lab" session will give participants opportunity to use tools given in the previous sessions.

Sexual Identity in a Selfie Culture: Mentoring Youth Toward a Healthy Sexuality

Rev. JJ Whitney

As sexual images pervade our media culture, what role does your youth ministry play in providing a healthy understanding of sexuality? How can we help our students truly understand who they are and how they were created? Looking at current research from psychologists, therapists and theologians, this class will explore the crisis of young people as they are increasingly detached from their bodies and their personal choices as we seek to construct practical ways to empower and mentor our students through our ministries.


Faces of Mission

Chris Wilterdink

I say "mission", you say "trip." Mission and service have grown into significant portions of many youth ministries.  These can take the shape of short-term mission trips, but also ongoing community relationship development, social justice, and advocacy work. Join this workshop to discover the many faces of mission, and how the call to faithfully serve others can become a cornerstone of your discipling ministry.

Games with a Purpose

John Cravens

Do you spend as much time preparing the games for youth group as you do preparing the Bible study or sermon?  Probably not!  For some, games are thought up randomly and just before they are played.  Games that have purpose can be great for illustrating a point, many Biblical truths and encourage teens to demonstrate true Christian living.  Join us as we explore what games with a purpose look like, how to move past the messy game nights and the last minute “I Never” game. 

Organizing Your Ministry

Michelle Moore

Let’s face it, we all know that youth workers are not necessarily known for being the most organized people.  Being organized in your ministry can help you build credibility with staff members and youth parents, be more productive and effective in doing “real” ministry and is an investment your career.  This class will focus on task management, time management, office space management, calendaring (short and long term planning), communication, budgeting and fundraising, planning for trips and big events, and managing volunteers.

Christian Mission in a New Rhythm: Re-discovering the Gospel in Cross-Cultural Relationships
Dr. Carlos F. Cardoza Orlandi

A focus on the current promises and challenges for Christian mission in the life of Christian congregations in the US/Canada given the demographic shifts of the Christian religion (to the global south—Africa, Asia, & Latin America). Particular attention will be given to the community’s re-discovery of the gospel through cross-cultural missional experiences and theological framework.

Digital Paradigms and Paradoxes: Where Ministry, Technology, and Humanity Collide
Jarrod Conyers

The Digital Age has expanded our capacity to reach our students and also befuddled it.  Together, we will unpack, share, and explore our collective strengths and best practices that enable us to navigate both the on-ramps and exits of the information super highway that defines the current culture and the church within it. This class will cover apps, databases, blogs, QR codes, calendars, as well as define creative healthy digital boundaries to keep our lives centered in the online and offline world.


Making Worship Vital:  Living into our Baptismal Calling
Dr. Mark W. Stamm

The church is most vital when Christians live fully into the calling that God gives in baptism.  They join God’s mission to and for the world, and that adventure begins in worship.  We’ll look at how that calling is embodied in the church’s prayers and in extended table, that is, in carrying communion to the unwillingly absent.  Youth can be full participants in this work, and indeed, God wants them to be.

Roots of Christian Theology

Dr. Ted A. Campbell

An examination of the varied roots of Christian theology including scripture, tradition, experience, and reason, popular religion, doctrine, and reflection on our experience. The class will examine some traditional theological claims as well as controversial contemporary issues with respect to these theological roots.

Counseling in Conflict

Terry Parsons, Ph.D., D.Min.

This is an informative, engaging and crucial class for all in youth ministry. How can I most effectively minister to those crisis situations? This class will provide you with essential knowledge and equip you with practical tools for ministering to youth in their most critical times.

What’s New in the Gospels

Dr. Abraham Smith

All of the Gospels present good news or a good message. Each message presents a twist or a spin on an earlier image or figurative character with which the Gospels’ distinctive audiences would have already been familiar. While such audiences would have been intrigued to see how a particular Gospel writer turned an old image or figurative character into something new, they would also have appreciated the relevance of the descriptions of Jesus for the daily struggles with which such audiences had to live. From then to now, the Gospels have presented fresh, innovative, and relevant messages even as they have related a basic and foundational story of Christianity’s beginnings.

PERIOD 4 – Tuesday Shortshop only

Inclusive Ministries to Special Needs Youth

Kay Lancaster

This class will focus on learning ways to include youth with special needs into the youth ministries of our churches from worship to small groups to social activities and mission trips.

Bridging the Gap: Ministry with Pre-Tweens

Rod Hocott

This class will explore the importance of ministry with the "between" group, those who are in the ages between Children and Youth ministry.  Topics will include: Volunteer Recruitment; Leadership Training; Programming; Discipling; Resources; and Mission and Who Are They In Your Church? 

Family and Ministry- Marriage and Having Children

Terry Parsons, Ph.D., D.Min.

Are you physically pooped, mentally overwhelmed, emotionally spent, relationally not as close, parentally challenged, and spiritually saying, "Lord, I didn't think it would be this hard!"  If so, we will address this critical topic with engaging, fun and practical tools to help you stay sane and whole. 

Exploring Seminary

Tracy Anne Allred and Herbert Coleman

Have you ever thought about studying theology at seminary? Do you wonder if you have what it takes for grad school? Are you concerned about how you might pay for it all? Representatives from SMU Perkins School of Theology will talk about life in seminary and the possibilities it opens for your vocation. If you have been wrestling with the idea for years or just beginning to think about it, this is the place to have your questions answered.

PERIOD 4 – Wednesday Shortshop only

Fisher of Men: Recruiting, Retaining and Releasing Your Volunteers

Jarrod Conyers

We can't do this job alone; and yet we feel we have to.  This class will explore ways we can attract, empower, and maintain a solid team of volunteers that can extend the reach and depth of our ministry, and how we can also transition the volunteers that can sometimes obstruct our path.                             

Preparing Your Students for the 13th Grade and Beyond

Matt Tuggle

We all know the ridiculously depressing statistics:  despite the hours that they sat under our compelling and profound teaching, despite the countless bits of biblical and practical wisdom that we shared with them, despite their "life changing experience(s)" they had on mission trip...youth are leaving the Church after high school.  Not all of them, but a lot of them.  In this class we'll explore how we as the Church might better equip students for the transition into the “13th grade.”  Beginning at the macro level at how to build a vision for equipping and empowering students for the 13th grade and moving to more practical steps that every church can begin taking immediately.

Slick, Cheap or Deep: Choosing and Using Faith Shaping Resources

Dr. Jack Radcliffe

A focus on the principles of curriculum development (writing, editing and adapting) from a Wesleyan perspective and evaluation of curriculum resources for youth ministry. This course will also explore the latest research on how youth learn.  A shortshop "lab" session will give participants opportunity to use tools given in the previous sessions.

PERIOD 4 – Thursday Roundtable Discussions

Roundtable discussions are an opportunity for PSYM participants to gather in an informal setting to discuss various issues related to youth ministry or ministry leadership. Roundtable topics include but are not limited to the following: fundraising ideas, retreat ideas, mission trip ideas, youth ministry jobs opportunities and protecting youth from pornography. Participants will self-select into roundtable groups and topics may change or vary based on interest.