Why Attend the Rooted Conference? 

I sat in the back of the sanctuary during the Rooted Conference and glanced around the room of worshippers belting out the words to Living Hope. For a few moments I looked closely at some of the faces and wondered about their stories. What was behind the tears streaming down the cheeks of the young man to my left? And what awaits the woman on my right who was broadly smiling with her eyes closed in worship? I wondered about the story of the young couple in front of me tenderly holding hands until their grip was abruptly broken, and their arms lifted in praise.

I wished for more time to hear from each, but I knew standing in this room were brothers and sisters in Christ with some commonalities. Many of them were ministers to youth—men and women who have chosen to follow Gods call to lead young people toward the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of them feel lonely in their work, worn out by the ongoing battle of competing for teenagers time, frustrated with parents who cannot be satisfied. Others feel incapable in the face of what seems to be an unattainable standard of discipleship.

In this room were also parents—moms and dads who worry relentlessly over the teenager who is resisting the faith. Behind the worn faces and tired eyes were parents who feel inadequate, worn-out, and confused by what to do with their strong-willed child.

While the room was woven together with these commonalities, the diversity of experiences, ministries, home lives, and backgrounds was vast, and I wondered, for a moment, why did they come? What causes these dear saints to travel to come together for such a time as this?

The answers rushed in like waves as I stood on the shore listening, conversing, praying, and observing. As my feet sank deeper in the sand, it became abundantly clear that this was not just a nice time with fellow ministers and parents, but it was a needed time of encouragement with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

So, why attend the Rooted Conference? Heres what the waves brought to the shore:

The Rooted Conference is a Reminder That You Are Not Alone.

The conception that our experience is unlike any other parent or youth minister is relentlessly discouraging. The tears of the one who feels alone in their struggle are often bitter and disillusioned. But what I experienced at this year’s conference were hugs, prayers, and advice given to those who, in the words of C.S. Lewis, found a friend when discovering, What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”[1]

There is little else more meaningful than knowing that others are in the proverbial boat with you. When you find that someone else has a hard time with time management, with handling critics, with a teenager who resists youth group, with rebuilding after COVID, or with physical or mental health, it does something to your soul. In many ways, the community of believers has been given to us to remind us that we are not alone!

I sat with one parent discussing the challenges of raising a non-compliant child. In the middle of our conversation, he began to tear up. He hung his head for several moments, and when he lifted it, he said, I cant tell you how encouraging it is simply to hear that someone else is fighting the same battles.”

Yes, brother. Yes, sister. You are not alone, and a weekend like this reminds us of this beautiful truth. Its needed, its necessary, and the waves rolled in one story after another of encouraged hearts who were reminded that they are not alone.

The Rooted Conference reinvigorates your calling.

I sat in the back of one workshop, and while I was moved by the material presented, what was intriguing were the words from the woman who stood behind me bouncing her infant to sleep: Yes! Amen! This is what I’ve been thinking for so long. And then she whispered to the person next to her: I want to use this in our ministry.” 

I smiled as I listened to her quiet responses because it was a verbal reflection of a heartfelt affirmation of her calling. Its so easy to become disheartened in our role as youth ministers or parents; sometimes it takes new ideas, new ways of thinking about tough scenarios that cause us to regain the momentum needed to move forward with renewed excitement and energy.

A conference like this does just that. These waves were forceful as I heard parents sharing new concepts on how to deal with teenage rebellion and youth pastors contributing new thoughts on how to integrate allgenerations in the life of the church.

All of this was invigorating, and I could feel the momentum as folks gained insights that they had not considered before, ones that they were excited to implement in their own ministries and homes.

The conference offers refreshment through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We dont parent by our own strength; we are not successful youth ministers because of our great teaching or innovative ideas. We do what were called to do by the grace of Jesus Christ alone. And He alone will do His work in and through our efforts, whether they are successful or seemingly failures.

We do not save souls. That is Gods business. There is one name under heaven whereby we must be saved,and that is by the name of Jesus. We are called to faithfully share the love of Jesus, and to do this we need to feel drenched by that love in our own lives.

Whether were in the trenches of raising kids in the admonition of the Lord or coming alongside parents in the role of youth minister, we need the refreshment that comes through the good news that Jesus provides.

This conference does just that. Not only did I hear from others who experienced this refreshment, but I was soaked by the waves that rolled in promise after promise from the Word of God. Biblically centric. Gospel focused. This was the reason people gathered.

The gospel is the answer for the tears.

The gospel provides the joy behind the smile.

The gospel strengthens the bond between the couple raising their children.

This is what I experienced at the 2022 Rooted Conference. I pray you will join us for future conferences and be reminded, reinvigorated, and refreshed.

The Rooted Conference is unlike any other ministry conference. We aim to create a warm, family atmosphere, where you can bring your whole volunteer team or come solo and leave feeling like you have a team beside you. Join us for fantastic speakers, practical workshops, beautiful worship, and fellowship, all for the purpose of equipping you and encouraging you in youth ministry and family discipleship. The 2023 conference will be hosted by a local church just south of Nashville in beautiful Franklin, TN. You’ll love walking around the picturesque town and riding the trolley around from the conference to restaurants or your hotel. Join us for Rooted 2023, and sign up early for your discounted price of $150/person.
From 2022 conference attendees: 

“I LOVED IT! I would give it a 10/10 for sure. Great people, very encouraging, very informative. I was encouraged as a youth pastor, reminded of the good news of Christ Jesus, and instructed by great speakers.””10/10. Personally, it was very encouraging. The plenaries were solid, but the workshops were phenomenal this year. I think the 5-pillars panel was also a great addition. Would’ve loved some burnt ends for dinner but alas.”

“The gospel is unfathomably beautiful. Cameron Cole’s message on Law and Gospel was one of the best articulations I have heard (and I went to 7 years of bible school!). I was so encouraged by his message and would dare to say it is life-changing for my life and ministry.”

“A vital reminder/encouragement to continue to point students to the hope we currently have in Christ as well as the future hope we are assured, in the midst of suffering.””The gospel is rest and we find hope in Christ! ”

[1] Lewis, C. S. The Four Loves. London: Fontana Books, 1963.

Katie is a writer, teacher, and speaker. She is married to Chris, a PCA pastor at Trinity Church in St. Louis, MO, and is a mother to three wonderful kids. Katie works as the Director of Music Ministries and Special Events at Trinity, serves on the Women’s Ministry Committee, and writes for several Christian ministries and organizations. Katie is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Theology from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. More information can be found on her website at www.katiepolski.com.

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