Ultimate Training Event to Prepare Youth Leaders in AWF

February 06, 2013

Nick Mielke, Director of Youth at Prattville First United Methodist Church, talks with us about the upcoming Ultimate Training Event in Youth Ministry and what conference attendees can expect. 

Q: Tell me a little bit about Ultimate Training for Youth Ministry and its history within the AWF Conference.
Ultimate Training Event started in the early 1990's under the leadership of Greg McKinnon. It was designed to be, and still is, an accessible way for churches to send all manner of people who work with youth for a day of training and expertise. Much of the training is provided by veteran youth leaders from around the conference. This model of peer training helps in that the people leading the seminars have "been there" and understand where you are coming from. UTE died out for a period of time in the early to mid-2000's but is back and better than ever.

Q: How did you get involved with leading and organizing this event?
During the two years that I worked as Director of Youth Ministries for our conference there was a call from youth workers throughout the conference for a training event of some kind that was accessible to churches of all sizes. With the help of many great youth leaders in our conference (in particular Jeremy Steele at Christ UMC, Mobile) we were able to get it started back up again. One of the ideas was to host it in different parts of the conference, with the three most recent being in Mobile, and so this year we offered to host at First Methodist in Prattville.

Q: Who all can and should come to this event?
This event is aimed at youth workers of all stripes. Full-time veteran professionals, part-time, volunteers, interns, small group leaders, and more. The keynote sessions and seminars offer something for everyone. If this is your first youth ministry job or you've been doing it for 15 years you will come away with valuable training and information.

Q: Give us the details on this event should someone want to register.
UTE will take place on Saturday March 16, 2013 at First United Methodist Church in historic downtown Prattville, Alabama. The event starts at 9:00 a.m. that morning (with check-in and coffee and donuts starting at 8:00 a.m.) and will be finished about 4:00 p.m. to leave time for attendees to drive home. The cost is $20 per person and includes lunch. There will be opening and closing times of worship as well as our keynote speaker. There will also be 16 seminar options throughout the day covering a range of topics. More information can be found here and registration is available here.

Q: What new things can people expect that might have previously attended this gathering?
As we continue to grow and relaunch Ultimate Training Event we hope that youth workers will find seminars that speak to the unique needs of their ministries. At the same time we hope that our worship and keynote speakers allow them the opportunity to be reenergized for this important job that they all do.

Q: I know you have speakers and sessions lined up. What is the format and who all will be leading the training?
Our keynote speaker, Lane Davis, is the Director of Youth Ministries at Dunwoody UMC outside of Atlanta. Lane grew up in our conference and is on track to be commissioned and ordained as an elder in the North Georgia Conference this summer. He is a graduate of Huntingdon College and Harvard Divinity School. He will be speaking at both of our main worship times as well as leading seminars. Other seminars will be led by a host of Youth Ministry professionals from around the Alabama-West Florida Conference as well as senior pastors, college professors and more.

Q: Will participants have the chance to interact with others that day and learn/share about what's working at their church in youth ministry?
There will certainly be time to make contact with the other participants to UTE especially as we gather that morning before it all kicks off as well as during lunch.

Q: As a youth director yourself, what things have you learned from attending a training like this?
Events like this have been invaluable to me over the course of my career because I am always able to connect with someone who knows what I'm dealing with. We all have unique churches, groups, etc...but there is always someone else who has had a shared experience similar to mine and being able to talk to them and learn from them makes it totally worthwhile.

Q: Anything else we should know?
We are very excited to be hosting UTE at FUMC in Prattville and sincerely hope as many of you can make it as possible to this great day of worship, training, and youth worker fellowship. See you on March 16!