PSYM Workshops

Teacher Bios

Keynote Speaker
Mark Matlock

Mark has been working with youth pastors and students for nearly two decades. He works with students, student ministers, and churches from all across the country and has a passion for discipleship, family ministry, and biblical parenting. He is president and founder of WisdomWorks Ministries. Mark is the author of several books including the Wisdom On…series: Living a Life That Matters; Don’t Buy The Lie; Freshman; Smart Faith, and his newest book, Real World Parents.

Walt Marcum
What United Methodists Believe – Period One

Walt Marcum is an ordained elder in the North Texas Annual Conference. He received a B.A. in Religion and English, and a Master of Theology at Perkins School of Theology. He served as a senior pastor for 12 years before going on staff as an associate minister in youth ministry in 1986. He is in his nineteenth year at Highland Park UMC where he currently serves as the Minister to Youth and Families. Rev. Marcum is responsible for administering the sixth grade confirmation program, does pastoral care with youth and youth families, and leads the Kerygma teaching worship service. He has written extensively in the area of youth ministry, authoring books and numerous articles including confirmation curriculum used by The United Methodist Church. He is married to Barbara Marcum, who is also an ordained elder in the North Texas Annual Conference, and who also serves at Highland Park UMC as head of the Pastoral Care Department. Barbara and Walt have a daughter who is currently in college.

Dara Bell
Memory Makers – Thursday Short Shop

After 38 years in Youth Ministry, Dara Bell retired from the New Mexico Annual Conference where she served as the Director of Youth Ministries and Safe Sanctuaries Coordinator. Before going to the Conference Office she served small, medium and large churches in the NM Conference. She is passionate about helping youth directors have healthy, safe, well balanced ministries. Dara has a B.A. in religion with an emphasis in Youth Ministry and has been part of PSYM for 25 years. She and her husband Ray share four children, seven grandchildren and a sweet little dog. 

Rod Hocott

Rod Hocott is the Arkansas Conference Minister for Youth and Young Adults, a position he has held for 11 of his 43 years in youth ministry. Prior to coming to the Conference Ministries office, Rod served as Youth Minister at FUMC in Springdale, St. James UMC in Little Rock, FUMC in Fort Smith (2 times) and spent four years working with youth in a state hospital in Kansas after finishing his Master in Music Therapy degree. Rod is married to Rev. Gail D. Hocott, and they have three children, four grandchildren, two dogs and a cat. Rod’s philosophy of Youth Ministry: The importance of youth ministry lies in its ability to help youth build relationships with God and peers, while learning leadership skills that will not only help them as they grow in the church, but also in their lives outside the church. These two elements and all that they encompass - worship, missions, justice, stewardship, etc., will develop our youth into strong disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Erin Jackson

Erin founded and directs Just One Starfish, a mentoring ministry that pairs up Christian high school students with at-risk upper elementary school students for one on one mentoring. She also connects, trains and mentors youth workers as the National Director of Community and Care for the Center for Youth Ministry Excellence (CYMX) and frequently writes for The YouthWorker Movement. As a certified United Methodist youth minister, she has been serving in youth ministry for over 15 years and has a passion for student leadership, social justice and youthworker self-care. Erin is a proud graduate of Baylor University. Living in Arlington, Texas, Erin is happily married to Dennis Jackson and together they have three amazing, soccer-loving children, Trey, Nate and Kathryn.

Rev. John Baldwin
Senior Ministers Are from Mars, Youth Ministers Are from Pluto (Sr. Pastors – Monday Only)

Rev. John Baldwin is the Senior Minister at First United Methodist Church of Celina, Texas, where he has served since July 2011. John began professional ministry in 1988 as a Youth Director and served in that capacity for 20-plus years, primarily at Custer Road UMC where he built the program from 10 adults and 30 youth to 100 adults and over 300 youth each Sunday. Having been on both sides of the desk, he has a heart for healthy, intentional youth ministry.

John Cravens
Games with a Purpose – Period One

John Cravens is the Minister with Students at First United Methodist Church, Plano, and has more than 13 years of youth ministry experience. He is a preacher’s kid, a Longhorn, and takes pride in his kid’s school artwork. He lives in Allen with his wife Carrie, his daughter Clara, his twin boys Drew and Nate, and his dogs Bella and Clyde. He enjoys Rudy’s BBQ, Torchy’s Tacos and has been ordering the same Freebirds burrito since 1996. He loves youth ministry and wants to do it forever!

Terry Parsons
Crisis Counseling with Youth – Period One

Terry Parsons, Ph.D., D.Min., has taught various counseling classes at PSYM since its beginnings...and he loves it. He is a psychotherapist, teacher, psychological consultant for the Perkins Internship Program, author of The Intimacy Jungle, seminar and retreat leader, and an ordained United Methodist minister. He counsels many ministers, loves his wife Kathleen and their family...and their dog Teddy, and he has a passion for baseball.

Zach Bechtold
Transitioning High School Students to College – Period One

Zach Bechtold, was born and raised in Plainview Texas. He graduated in 2003 and spent some time studying Business and Religion at Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, Texas. He has spent the last 10 years in various ministries with The United Methodist Church, serving in Texas and New Mexico. Zach currently serves as the Director of the NMSU Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry and has been there since the fall of 2011. Zach and his wife Mikel have 3 children: Zoe (5), Noah (3), and Ryann (2 months). In Zach’s free time he enjoys spending time with his family, watching baseball, photography, and recently he has taken up playing the guitar.

Jarrod Conyers
Parent Ministry: Our Greatest Asset and Biggest Pain – Period Two
Lust, Porn and Intimacy – Tuesday Short Shop
Digital Ministry – Wednesday Short Shop

Jarrod Conyers lives with his wife, Whitney, and daughter, Journey, in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he currently serves as the Director of Student Ministries at St. John’s United Methodist Church. With his BA in Sociology, and a Masters of Christian Ministry, Jarrod is a 17-year Youth Ministry veteran. He taught at PSYM previously in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and he is also a certified Youth Ministry Communications Trainer in the New Mexico Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Jarrod strives to be a "spiritual arsonist" to challenge and provoke the minds and imaginations of today's ministry leaders and students to live out the expansive Gospel with which we have been entrusted.

Michelle Moore
Getting You and Your Ministry Organized – Period Two

Michelle Moore is currently serving as the Director of Youth Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Conway, Arkansas. She has been involved in Youth Ministry roles ranging from volunteer, intern, part-time, and full-time roles for over 11 years. She also serves as the Youth and Young Adult Coordinator for the Arkansas Conference of The United Methodist Church. She also serves in a volunteer role as Adult Coordinator for the Arkansas Conference Council on Youth Ministries, overseeing youth and adults who are charged with planning seven state-wide youth events each year. Moore is a 2006 graduate of Hendrix College from which she received a degree in Religious Studies. She also holds a Masters in Specialized Ministry with an emphasis in Youth Ministry from Southwestern College. She also recently finished her Certification in Youth Ministry through Perkins School of Theology. Michelle is married to Brad, an attorney in Little Rock, AR and has a beautiful, goofy and energetic two year old named Tucker. She loves to clean, organize and find ways to be more efficient and productive!

Casey Langley
Growing Pains: An Exploration of Influences on Identity Formation and the Meaning Adolescents are Really Seeking – Period Two

Casey Langley serves as the Director of Youth Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth. She earned a B.A. from Lambuth University and an M.Div and M.A. in youth ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. Casey studied under and worked closely with Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean at Princeton, serving as her editorial assistant. She has also served the youth at a number of other churches in Tennessee, Virginia, and New Jersey. Casey is currently a certified candidate for ordination in The United Methodist Church. She loves travelling, used bookstores, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and four square.

William B. Lawrence
Understanding Denominational Differences – Period Three

William Lawrence is Dean of Perkins School of Theology and an ordained elder in the North Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. He holds a Ph.D. from Drew University; a M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary, New York; and a B.A. from Duke University. His teaching specialties include historical theology, American church history, and homiletics. Additionally, he is a member of the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church and the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools. He and his wife Naomi have two children and four grandchildren.

Michael Baughman
Advanced Social Media – Engaging in Story – Period Three

Rev. Mike Baughman is an elder in The United Methodist Church, serving as Community Curator at Union, a new kind of non-profit coffee shop that exists to care for the needs of its neighborhood. Union takes the typical coffee shop model and converts it into a hub of generosity. Much of his work is with rising generations. He leads a worship gathering at Union that ministers with young people – most of whom do not attend church. In addition to over a decade of experience in youth ministry, Mike has experience with social media consulting/training for non-profits, small businesses, and churches. He has written, contributed to, developed and edited several books, curricula and devotionals for Sparkhouse, Augsburg Fortress, Abingdon Press, and other publishers. He lives nearby in Dallas with his wife, Rachel (also a pastor), and four children. 

Rev. Tonya Y. Burton
Relax, Reflect, Release: Contemplative Practices for Youth Ministry – Period Three

Tonya Burton is director of the Youth Ministry Education at SMU Perkins School of Theology. She has been applauded for her provocative sermons, motivational speeches to youth and young adults and commitment to service work. Tonya is an ordained minister, certified spiritual director, conference speaker, ministry consultant, leadership development trainer, poet, and writer. She earned her Master of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt Divinity School and is currently pursuing a second Master’s degree in counseling in preparation for licensure as a professional counselor and marriage and family therapist.

Rev. Jen Tyler
Faith, Sexuality, and Gender: Making Room for Real Conversations – Period Three

Rev. Jen Taylor is a graduate of Simpson College and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Jen's pastoral experience ranges from urban Chicago to rural South Dakota, where she currently serves as pastor to two congregations. After receiving a Master of Divinity from Garrett, Jen served as a Mission Intern through the General Board of Global Ministries, serving in South Africa and Washington, D.C. Although these are two different settings for ministry, Jen's passions for mission and evangelism are connected to her drive to understand and engage contextual ministry. When she is not busy in the local church or traveling the world, Jen can be found riding her bike or enjoying a good cup of coffee.

Michael Glenn Ratliff
Faith, Sexuality, and Gender: Making Room for Real Conversations – Period Three

Michael Ratliff is an accomplished author, workshop leader and curriculum developer. He was named Associate General Secretary of the Young People’s Ministries Division of the General Board of Discipleship effective January 1, 2007. The division works with local churches, annual conferences, jurisdictions, and central conferences globally on issues related to young people. Ratliff was previously at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, where he served since 1995. His work there involved a large staff and volunteer team ministering to hundreds of youth every week. He also directed Crossties, a leadership consulting and training initiative, for those who minister with young people. Ratliff has worked in youth and young adult ministry for over 30 years. He is an ordained deacon, certified minister of youth, and certified minister of education from the Rocky Mountain Conference.

Brandon Bates
Being Single in Youth Ministry – Tuesday Short Shop
The New Girl/Guy – Thursday Short Shop

Brandon is a male human, originally from Your Dream Hometown of Beebe, Arkansas. He began discerning his call to youth ministry in high school, and responded to the call during his Freshman year at Hendrix College. He's served as a Youth Minister for more than 15 years, from small to large churches. He's also served as a District, Conference, and Jurisdictional Youth Coordinator. He currently serves at St. James UMC in Little Rock, Arkansas. He enjoys missions, catching up on his Netflix queue, exercising, playing tennis poorly, and the occasional nap.

Steve and Rachel Heyduck
Strengthening One’s Marriage While in Ministry – Tuesday Short Shop

Steve and Rachel met through youth mission trips, and have been sharing ministry and theology ever since. After three years of sharing all these things platonically, we began dating and then got married. We are vitally, passionately interested in our ministry and our marriage working together. We believe God prefers that marriage support ministry and vice versa! 

Gary B. MacDonald
Exploring the United Methodist Social Principles – Tuesday Short Shop

Gary MacDonald is responsible for Perkins’ continuing education programs for clergy, laity, and church professionals including the Doctor of Ministry program, Perkins School of Youth Ministry, Ministers Week, United Methodist Certification programs for church professionals and lay schools in Dallas, Houston, Amarillo, and Anchorage. Gary is a clergy member of The United Methodist Church’s New England Annual Conference and is studying for his Ph.D. at SMU in the field of religious ethics, focusing on resources for contemporary social ethics regarding the place of the church in public dialogue.

Leanne Johnston
Being Young in Youth Ministry – Wednesday Short Shop

Leanne Johnston has been attending PSYM on and off since 2004. She grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia but came to Texas as fast as she could. She has her Bachelor of Religious Studies and Psychology from SMU and Master of Theological Studies from Perkins School of Theology. After working in the local church in youth ministry and disaster recovery ministry, Leanne now works as the Coordinator for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Central Texas Conference. She is passionate about resourcing and supporting youth ministers in the local church and raising up a generation of Christian leaders. Leanne is married to Rev. Jarrod Johnston and mama to Wesley, an incredible two-year-old.

Chris Wilterdink
Writing Your Own Curriculum – Wednesday Short Shop
Defining Success in Ministry – Thursday Short Shop

Chris Wilterdink is the Director of Program Development for Young People's Ministries (YPM) at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). As a layperson with deep roots in youth ministry at various levels in the Rocky Mountain Conference, his ministry now encompasses developing and equipping world-changing disciples of Jesus Christ. Chris administrates the Field Guide Network, in addition to other responsibilities for YPM. Chris is a Stephen Minister and has a Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership from Regis Jesuit University. He, his wife Emily, son Graham, and sausage-shaped beagle Phurba Tashi currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee.