ETCH Conference to tackle identity in next-gen ministry

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ETCH Conference to tackle identity in next-gen ministry

A leading topic of confusion for the next generation is the concept of identity. But before churches can partner with parents in addressing this issue, ministry leaders of kids and students must first have a biblical foundation for their own identity in Christ.

At this year’s ETCH Conference, happening Oct. 3-5, ministry leaders will be reminded their identity isn’t solely wrapped up in their church title or what they do, but on Who they belong to. “Called by Name,” the conference theme, comes from Isaiah 43:1 and will encourage leaders that God knowns them intimately and has placed them where they are for a reason.

“Ministry leaders of kids and students are always running from one activity to the next, so it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking our identity is found in what we accomplish or leave undone that day,” said Chuck Peters, director of Lifeway Kids. “This year’s ETCH Conference will strengthen leaders in the truth that God knows them completely and calls them by name. This God-focused sense of identity is fuel for sustainable and effective next-gen ministry.”

ETCH — hosted by Lifeway Christian Resources — stands for equipping the church and home. This year’s conference will be held at the Music City Center in Nashville and will include live worship, a robust main-session line-up of speakers and 40 breakout-session options. The latter includes session titles such as:

  • Change the Way Your Church Views Kids Ministry — Be Heard, Be Seen
  • How to Make Student Ministry a Priority Again in an Apathetic Age
  • Pastoring Screen-Addicted Teens
  • Avoiding the Pitfalls of Ministry Trends
  • The Way to Find Rest as a Busy and Burnt-Out Leader

This year’s ETCH Conference will also provide several pre-conference events on Oct. 3. New2Ministry is free with ETCH registration and is a one-day intensive for new preschool, kids and student ministers who’ve been in their positions for two years or less. Other pre-conference sessions available for an additional fee include “Mental Health in Ministry” and “Raising Gender Healthy Kids & Teens in a Gender-Confused World.”

Speakers for ETCH’s main sessions include:

  • Gregg Matte, senior pastor, Houston First Baptist Church
  • Christy Nockels, singer/songwriter and author
  • Darren Whitehead, lead pastor, Church of the City
  • David Thomas and Sissy Goff, authors and speakers
  • Kevin Jones, pastor; dean at Cedarville University
  • Katy Boatman, author
  • Ricky Chelette, executive director, Living Hope Ministries
  • Ben Mandrell, president, Lifeway Christian Resources
  • Chad Higgins, parent ministry specialist, Lifeway Students
  • Ben Trueblood, director Lifeway Students
  • Chuck Peters, director Lifeway Kids
  • Jana Magruder, strategic initiatives director, Lifeway Kids

Worship will be led by the Student Life Band.

Registration options with individual and discounted group pricing for this year’s ETCH Conference along with additional information can be found at

EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Aaron Wilson and originally published by Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.