Choose a youth conference theme to inspire kids within your church as well as those participating from other communities. When you choose a theme that kids can relate to and learn from, your conference transforms from "just another day at church" to a meaningful happening that deepens faith and shows questioning kids the message of Jesus in a profound way.
The acronym SALT stands for "Share a Little Testimony." Build a SALT conference around personal stories of faith that members of your church community share--especially the youth in your congregation. During large group presentation, intersperse speakers with music performed by a local Christian group. Ask dramatically inclined teens from your youth group to write and preform a skit that illustrates how testimony can influence others to seek Christ.
Offer small-group experiences. Include Bible study with a pastor about the testimonies of biblical figures. Set up areas for games. Provide computers for kids to type testimonies for a book to be compiled after the conference. Place paper over a wall so kids can write on a mural about their faith or questions about faith. Designate a room to talk with a church elder about what it means to share your testimony with others, and to offer advice about how to know the time is right to do it.
Take a Stand Theme
Challenge youth to stand for Jesus every day. Use taped presentations or live speakers to tell the stories of Christians through the ages who have stood up for their faith and inspired others through their decisions. Ask the youth of your church, pastors and community leaders to participate in the storytelling. Invite a Christian musican to play and give testimony about the decision to play Christian, instead of secular music.
Give each conference attendee a T-shirt with "I Stand For" printed on the front. Place fabric pens on a table so the kids can write what they stand for on their shirts. Provide a choice of games and small group discussions about standing up in faith.
End the conference with a meal, followed by a trip to a nearby bowling alley or indoor amusement centre. Ask the kids to wear their T-shirts on the outing to show an outward display of standing for their faith.
Servant Leader Theme
Base the theme of your youth conference on the concept of servant leadership, modelled by Jesus in John 13:3-17 (Jesus washes his disciples' feet). Invite speakers who hold prestigious jobs in your community to share experiences in service to others. Make a video depicting needs around your town that can be filled by youth who wish to act in service to others. Let kids sign up for the jobs on a contact list.
Plan a series of breakout groups. Write short scenarios for role-playing activities so the kids can act out scenes that illustrate being a servant leader. Provide costume accessories for kids to wear. Hold a pastor-led Bible study dealing with servant leaders in scripture. Let kids brainstorm about community needs and how they can help.
After a pizza dinner, play volleyball or another game. Encourage participants to show leadership while playing as a member of a team.