What is LC?

You are invited to join us March 5-7 in Kansas City, Missouri  for NYI Leadership Conference 2017. Leadership Conference is an annual gathering designed to spur dialogue around critical issues, connect Nazarene pastors/leaders with each other, and provide training and resources to empower the church toward more effective evangelism, discipleship, and leadership development. This year we are excited to welcome Fuller Youth Institute's Kara Powell and Brad Griffin as they lead conversations around their new research project, Growing Young. Since this conversation has value for the entire church, we invite a variety of pastors and other church leaders to join us as we consider how God is calling the church to (re)engage a younger generation.

The Fuller Youth Institute exists to unleash the potential of young people by helping the church become the best place for young people to grow. Based on FYI's groundbreaking research with over 250 of the nation’s leading congregations, Growing Young provides a strategy any church can use to involve and retain young people. It profiles innovative churches engaging 15-29 year-olds that are growing–spiritually, emotionally, missionally, and numerically. Packed with ideas, Growing Young outlines 6 essential core commitments that ministry leaders can implement to position their churches to reach younger generations in a way that breathes life into the whole church.

Kara Powell

Fuller Youth Institute - Executive Director

Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women to Watch,” Kara is the author or coauthor of several books, including Sticky Faith, and a regular speaker at national leadership and youth ministry conferences across the country.

Brad Griffin

Fuller Youth Institute - Associate Director

Brad Griffin is Associate Director of the Fuller Youth Institute. A speaker, blogger, and youth pastor at Mountainside Communion Church of the Nazarene, Brad is the coauthor of several Sticky Faith resources as well as Can I Ask That? 8 Hard Questions about God and Faith. He speaks nationally at churches, denominational training events, and youth ministry conferences.

Leadership Conference has always been an important time for leaders to learn about the current state and vision of NYI. During LC you will have the chance to meet our Regional NYI Council, hear briefly from our Global NYI Director and USA/Canada Youth Coordinator, and get a peek into our upcoming Global NYI Convention in Indianapolis (Summer 2017).  This year we have also invited Dr. Joel Thiessen, Associate Professor (Ambrose University, Calgary) and Director of the Flourishing Congregations Institute, to share some of the work he has done that coincides with our focus around churches engaging young people.

Justin Pickard

USA/Canada Youth Coordinator

Justin Pickard serves as the USA/Canada Regional Youth Coordinator after nearly two decades on the front lines of youth ministry in Dallas, Texas. A graduate of Southern Nazarene University, Justin is passionate about investing in the lives of youth and youth leaders across the USA and Canada.

Gary Hartke

NYI Director

Gary Hartke began serving as the Director of NYI in the Fall of 2000 after 15 years in youth ministry. As Director of NYI, Gary consistently seeks to find new ways to connect and empower youth ministry leaders across the globe. Gary is married to his wife, Joy and has two children: Mallori and Jeremy.

Joel Thiessen

Flourishing Congregations Institute

As a part of the Church of the Nazarene, Joel Thiessen serves as a professor at Ambrose University and as the Director of the Flourishing Congregations Institute in Canada. Joel has spent considerable time examining religion and culture in Canada from a sociological perspective and is the author of several books.

Why attend LC?


This year's LC will move away from the traditional, seminar or lecture format in order to foster meaningful dialogue around the Growing Young project. Join leaders from around the region as we engage in authentic round-table discussion with one another.


LC provides a great opportunity to connect with youth ministry leaders from a diverse range of contexts and backgrounds. Come build relationships with others who share your passion for reaching, involving, and retaining young people in the Church.


This year’s LC will go beyond simply dreaming about how to engage the next generation. You will walk away with practical tools and ideas that can be implemented in your ministry context. Also, every registrant will receive FYI’s new book, Growing Young.



Upon arrival you can check in at the main lobby of the Sheraton.
All recently elected NYI District Presidents are invited to attend this orientation in which USA/Canada Youth Coordinator, Justin Pickard will share best practices, lead discussion, and help define the role of District President.
All registrants are invited to join us at the College Basketball Experience in Downtown Kansas City within walking distance of the hotel. Admission is included in registration. Attendance is not required.
During these morning sessions you will connect with various NYI Leaders, hear about the current state and vision of NYI, and learn valuable information in preparation for the 2017 Global NYI Convention in Indianapolis.
Lunch will be served at the hotel. Take advantage of this time and connect with other leaders.
During the afternoon session you will hear from Kara Powell and Brad Griffin as they introduce the Growing Young project.
NYI Field Dinners provide an opportunity for fields to connect and communicate. For information regarding your field's dinner, contact your Field Youth Coordinator.
During the Tuesday morning session Kara and Brad will continue to unpack strategies churches can use to better engage young people.
Lunch will be served at the hotel. Take advantage of this time and connect with other leaders.
During the last session Kara and Brad will lead discussion that will prepare you to implement elements of Growing Young in your ministry context.


All conference sessions will be held at the Sheraton Crown Center. We have reserved a block of rooms and negotiated a special rate for our attendees.

Sheraton Crown Center

2345 McGee St, Kansas City, MO 64108
Nightly Rate: $144 + Tax  |  Parking: $10/Night
Rate offered through February 3, 2017
Book Now


Reserve a shuttle to and from the KC Airport with SuperShuttle.
Use the code KCL7K for a $30 roundtrip.

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