Breakout Sessions

Check out the speaker bios, and breakout session topics below. Full schedule coming soon.

Joanna la Fleur

How to Leverage Digital Platforms to Minister to Youth

Every student you minister to is on digital platforms and social media for 6+ hours of their waking day. How do we lead them online in a relevant way? What strategies can we use for digital evangelism and discipleship? What’s trending? What’s working? How can we help mitigate digital addictions? We’ll get practical in this breakout with ideas you can implement right away.


Joanna la Fleur

Joanna la Fleur is a speaker, podcaster, TV host, and communications consultant. With a Business Communications degree and a Masters in Theological Studies, she has been helping the Church communicate the best news in the world for over 15 years. You can catch her interviews with Christian creatives and communicators on the Word Made Digital Podcast, communications training on the Word Made Digital Tutorials and her Bible teaching on the national tv show, See Hear Love. Additionally, Joanna is grateful to work with Danielle Strickland on initiatives like Infinitum- spiritual practices for those who follow Jesus in the Digital Age. She acts as an advisor to the Institute of Evangelism at Wycliffe College and is newly appointed to the Board of Governors at Tyndale University.

Joanna is a proud aunt to 12 nieces and nephews, has travelled to 37 countries in search of coffee, and calls downtown Toronto home.

Joanna la Fleur Website

Alex Wilson

Social Media, Discipleship and Youth

There is no question that social media is heavily influencing and shaping the lives of youth today. We have an opportunity to further disciple and reach a generation in a unique and creative ways that can have a lasting and eternal impact. This session will look at how you in your own context can creatively use social media for the purposes of Jesus and helping youth more closer in relationship with Him.


Alex Wilson

Alex is a husband, dad, Instagrammer, social media influencer, content creator, social media preacher and president of Amen Church Live: social media church services. The church services he leads each week are on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook. He’s doing Bible studies, discipleship, prayer, worship, and evangelism- all through his phone- with a team of volunteers rallying around this ministry to meet people where they are spending hours a day. He has a masters in pastoral leadership and was a youth director for over 5 years in California and Hawaii. Alex is passionate about raising a godly family and using social media to reach the lost and encourage the saints.

Amen Alex Website

Natalie Frisk

Partnering with Parents in Raising Disciples

We love students. We know that discipling them is a many person job. And the reality is, the primary disciplers in students' lives are their parents. As youth pastors and youth workers, our role is to support parents' discipleship, encourage them, and resource them to do the heavy lifting while students are at home. Parent-youth worker relationships can, sometimes, be precarious. So together, let's reimagine what it is to disciple students together.


Natalie Frisk

Natalie Frisk is curriculum pastor at The Meeting House and Lead Pastor of one of its 20 locations. She is author of Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter for Our Kids (Herald Press). Frisk has a Masters in Theological Studies from McMaster Divinity College, and is presently working on her doctorate in practical theology with an emphasis on the spiritual experience of children. She is married to Sam and mom to Erin.

Natalie Frisk Website

Iona Snair

The Art of Listening to Youth

Listening to young people is not simply about gathering their words. Some teens speak very few words and others seem to show little interest in conversation. But a good listener doesn't passively wait for the young person to speak. They are offering invitations that communicate worth and value to another; they are throwing open doors of exploration and inviting youth to follow them in. And most importantly, they are reflecting the heart of our God who "inclines his ear to listen". The art of listening well is a beautiful gift we were made to share. This workshop will give you skills and understanding to help you share it well.


Iona Snair

For the past 30 years, Iona Snair has been involved in the lives of vulnerable young people and the adults who care about them. Iona and her husband Rob founded and run Lifeteams School of Youth Outreach with Vancouver Youth Unlimited. Iona is a speaker and trainer, preparing volunteers and professionals to enter into the difficult issues young people face. She holds a Master degree from Regent College in Vancouver and lives with her family in Abbotsford, B.C.

Lifeteams Website

Matt Wilks

Building an Authentic and Lasting Faith in Teens

Part of the challenge for us as youth workers and in return for parents is helping our teens find the real Jesus in a marketplace of spiritual choices. What does it take as youth workers and parents to develop students who have an authentic faith and long lasting faith? How do we help students navigate through spiritual discovery, doubt and disillusionment? What are the three essential roles in shepherding your students? Learn together and be encouraged as you develop your teens to have a faith that lasts a lifetime.


Matt Wilks

Matt has served as a youth pastor, lead pastor, executive director, and a host of other roles in his almost 27 years of ministry experience. He has worked for national organizations in Chicago and Kansas City as well helping churches and ministries with interim projects.

Matt currently runs a ministry consulting company called Baseline Ministries which provides ministry organizations and churches with a variety of different ministry solutions. His passion for youth ministry have not wavered over the years and Matt loves seeing youth ministries thrive in churches. Matt teaches at many Bible Schools in the area including Ambrose University, Prairie Bible College and Rocky Mountain College.

You can read Matt's first published book entitled, Cultivate: A Youthworker's Guide to Establishing Healthy Relationships. Matt has been married to Michelle for almost 27 years and has two daughters, Maris and Macauleigh, 22 and 20 years old.

Jason Persaud

Prayer that Impacts a City and a Generation

If youth ministries across a city prayed together with one purpose and one heart, what do you think would happen to that city? More importantly, what impact would it have on those youth, their friends and schools? Let's talk about what the Holy Spirit can do when trust, unity, love and purposefully collide to bring a movement of God that can reshape youth ministry and transform a city. We've seen it here in our city and it's not limited to just where we live. A move of God is ready for your town and city too!


Jason Persaud

Jason is on the pastoral team at BCF Church in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. He has been in ministry for 20+ years and also served as an urban missionary with Youth Unlimited (YFC Toronto) for almost six years. While with YFC, he led a movement called The City United which brought over 30 churches and 500+ youth in Brampton together to mobilize in prayer and evangelism. Recently, he started another movement called The Culture Changers which addresses racial injustice and other cultural issues facing the church. He desires to see a move of God throughout the church across Canada with youth and young adults. His wife Kerri is also a pastor, and they have been married for 16 years with two children.

Aubrey Noronha

Hello Hope: Helping Youth Battling Loneliness and Isolation Before, During, and After COVID-19

This session is about supporting youth workers as they support youth today! This time is to be a word of relief and encouragement with strategies for youth workers to use in ministering to the youth they serve to tackle stress and anxiety during and after a pandemic.

We will also look at the the scientific connection between social media, empathy and the health benefits of face to face interaction. While then exploring how the term "friendship" has been downgraded with technological and social media advances.

Overall there will be practical take-aways on how to help youth create stronger bonds with family, friends and communities.


Aubrey Noronha

Aubrey Noronha (NA-ROW-NA) is a follower of Jesus and a recognized Character Education and Safe Schools Speaker who believes in the possibility of a safer and more emotionally connected school culture. Through his Hello Hope Canada programs, Aubrey seeks to instil his hope for the future into the minds and hearts of youth and caring adults.

As a child & youth counsellor and seasoned Restorative Practice facilitator, Aubrey has worked with youth, families and professionals in schools, prisons and treatment facilities for over 16 years. As a former crisis negotiator, and Critical Incident Stress Management facilitator Aubrey’s expertise, passion, and candour flow through his workshops and will leave students and adults feeling encouraged and equipped to make their school and community safer one day and one decision at a time.

Hello Hope Website

Kaarina Hsieh

Mentoring Youth in Turbulent Times

These are unusual and stressful times in our world. How can we encourage the youth of today towards a life of greater hope and purpose in Christ in the midst of it? In a sea of thousands of opposing voices, how can we give them the tools that will help them to hear the Shepherd's voice clearly? Today's teens have never NOT known the internet or social media and have unprecedented access to the news and the world and yet need more direction than ever before.

Let's not miss the opportunities before us to better understand, invest in, celebrate, empower and speak life into this generation


Kaarina Hsieh

Kaarina Hsieh serves as Lead Pastor of Parkway Forest Community Church, a diverse, multi-cultural church community in Toronto. Having spent over 25 years in Pastoral ministries as well as serving on faculty and as Dean of Students at Tyndale Seminary for 18 years, her love for the Church and the youth of our city only increases each year.

Ben Courson

Helping Youth Workers Reveal Hope To Youth Wrestling with Mental Health today

It is so critical that we better understand and come alongside youth struggling with mental health if we hope to effectively minister to them. This session will focus on equipping youth workers to graciously and meaningfully minister to youth struggling with mental health. Ben will unpack the importance of both the value of helping point young people to the need for professional counselling while also ministering to them with the hope found in the person and message of Jesus.


Ben Courson

Ben Courson is a bestselling author, a TV and radio personality, an international speaker, founder of Hope Generation, and the senior pastor at Applegate Christian Fellowship. He has been featured on many different TV channels as well as featured in Psychology Today and Christianity Today, and many other mainstream media outlets. His TV show is broadcast in 180 countries, and his national radio show airs on over 490 stations. He travels the globe speaking of God’s hope and igniting revival in the hearts of his listeners.

Stemming from his own bout with suicide and depression, Ben created Hope generation, aiming to help those struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts to those who’ve lost hope and meaning amid their success. The ministry is shouting about the God of Hope from the mountaintops to help people rise out of despair.

Ben’s high energy, humor, and deep Biblical understanding has impacted people from all walks of life. He sincerely shares his own struggles, heartbreak, being diagnosed with complex PTSD, and the devastating losses of his brother and sister. As a social media influencer, millions of YouTube subscribers have tuned in to watch and listen to Hope Generation. Ben is infiltrating old and new media alike and spreading God’s message of hope like fire.

Ben Courson Website

Shawn Naylor

21 TikTube

Evangelism has always been a tough place to approach for most believers. As it should be, there is so much at stake. In addition to the ever-changing landscape that is youth ministry, add to this technology, hyper isolation, Covid-19 and we are left with a mess. Or, we are left with a great opportunity to spread the good news to so many that have only been hearing bad news. Come on by and let’s discuss and learn together what modern evangelism looks like.


Shawn Naylor

Shawn Naylor is a Youth Culture Specialist that works for Youth for Christ. His life story is an incredible testament to God's grace. Alongside his local area ministry in schools, Shawn speaks all over being a voice to and for young people. His degrees Sociology, fine arts, and drama has giving him a unique approach involving humor, passion, and insight on relevant issues. Wether writing or speaking, or making video for youtube or Tiktok his goal is helping young people discovery who they are and maximize their gift. He is married to Mireille Pruneau and they have three children, Ezra, Emmanuel, and Ézékiel. Shawn loves fishing, skateboarding, and mustard on Mac & Cheese.

Shawn Naylor Website

Marianne Deeks

Finding Renewal from Discouragement and Burnout

We all start our ministry with dreams of being change makers. What happens when those dreams don't look like we thought they would? This seminar will take a look at the realities of burn-out, discouragement and exhaustion, while providing the opportunity to Reimagine why we felt called into ministry in the first place.


Marianne Deeks

Marianne has been working with Youth Unlimited for the past 23 years working in high schools, drop-ins and community outreach as a child and youth worker. In 2018, she graduated from Tyndale Seminary with her MDiv. in Clinical Counselling. She is now a psychotherapist with Youth Unlimited specializing in adolescents, young adults and families. In her spare time, she loves to be adventurous with her husband and three daughters.

Rerouted Counselling Website

Paul Bartley

Bringing Hope To At Risk & Violent Youth

Due to life circumstances, many young people are at-risk of bring hurt by others or at-risk of hurting themselves or others. These hurting young people are found in every city, neighbourhood, church, and youth group. In this seminar, we will examine the contributing factors that cause young people to be at-risk and what we can do about it. This workshop will place a special emphasis on youth ministry in high risk neighbourhoods.


Paul Bartley

For most of his life, Paul has been working and serving youth in some capacity in the local community in which he lives. He is currently centered in the Jane-Finch hub located in Toronto. It is his goal to partner with and mentor youth to help them reach their full life potential. Paul runs two programs in the Jane-Finch area to reach out to the youth, and also focuses on dedicated one-on-one mentoring time.

Paul

Ministering to Young People with Disabilities

With stories of her own experiences as a youth with disabilities, Chelsey will draw out some creative responses that will help other youth leaders to strengthen their capacity to reach and include young people with disabilities in their ministry context. This session will help those who lead youth ministries to heighten their awareness of how to facilitate an inclusive community for persons with disabilities. Best practices of ministering and caring for youth with disabilities will be shared in this session.


Chelsey Zylla

Chelsey Zylla is an advocate and speaker on behalf of persons with disabilities in the church. As a person with Spina Bifida, Chelsey has experienced both the good and the challenging dimensions of church life and dealing with a disability. She passionate about helping others to see more clearly how we can facilitate an inclusive community in our churches and in our youth ministries. Chelsey has experience in running her own business and working at Handicamp (a camp for youth with disabilities).

Sid Koop

Re-Shape Your Culture: 4 responsibilities every youth worker must embrace

We know systems, structures, programs and content are important for an effective youth ministry. But culture can trump them all. Culture is the environment and experience that God uses to transform students...and no one has more power to shape the culture of a ministry than the volunteer youth workers. If you are a point ministry leader or a volunteer youth worker it is critical you embrace these 4 responsibilities in our ministry, no matter what the size, it will transform our culture, our leaders, and ultimately our youth.


Sid Koop

Sid Koop started in full time youth ministry in 1998...yup, that’s “pre-iPhone”!! So much has changed...and so much stays the same. Sid currently lives out his passion for helping the next generation know Jesus as the Executive Director of Youth Worker Community, where he and a team of youth workers from across the country encourage and equip more youth workers to better disciple the next generation. Sid is working on his Doctorate of Ministry in Emerging Generations from Gordon Conwell Seminary (the never ending story...).

Youth Worker Community Website

Jon Thompson

Why Spiritual Disciplines Should be the Core of Your Youth Ministry and Beyond

Why Spiritual Disciplines matter to more than just your youth ministry but to everything you do.

If Jesus, with skin on, at the core of his ministry used Spiritual Disciplines, how can you run any ministry without using them yourself? Come discover how Jesus used Spiritual Disciplines and walk through an overview of what they are and how they are helpful.


Jon Thompson

Jon Thompson serves as the Preaching and Vision Pastor at Sanctus Church in Durham, Ontario. He has been on staff for more than 20 years. Sanctus is a regional church with a community of over 2,500 people that gather in multiple locations across Durham region. Under Jon’s leadership, Sanctus is characterized by dynamic Biblical teaching, vibrant community groups, compelling media and powerful times in worship. Jon has a Masters of Theological Studies from Tyndale Seminary, Toronto and a Doctorate of Missiology from Fuller Seminary, California. Jon is husband to his wife Joanna and Father to three kids - Hannah, Emma, and Noah.

Sanctus Church Website

Blake Martin

Who put the dope in dopamine: Understanding Risk Culture, Faith, and the Teenage Brain

David, the teenage shepherd, attacks the veteran warrior. Daniel, the adolescent prophet, stands up for his faith in a strange land. Cody, the youth group joker, sticks his tongue to a pole on the winter retreat. What is happening in the developing brain that makes risk so attractive, friends so important, and careful planning so rare in teenagers? Furthermore, how can we help youth to navigate this time of cortical upheaval to become people of deep faith? Join neuroscientist Dr. Blake Martin for this hopeful tour of the mechanisms and promise behind adolescent thinking.


Blake Martin

Blake Martin is a research scientist for the government of Canada, investigating brain/body interactions in learning. He has a PhD in kinesiology, and a graduate diploma in Neuroscience, as well as bachelor's degrees in both dance and education, and a master's in dance. He was a youth pastor for 16 years, and formerly an adjunct professor of youth ministry at Tyndale University. Blake's primary earthly inspiration is his wife, Carmelina, and he has two awesome children. He is a long-time runner, baker and martial artist. If it thinks and moves, he likes it.

Joel Gordon

Anti-Racism & Reconciliation Awareness: What youth workers need to know

Youth workers are invited to journey through key concepts about racism and reconciliation from Indigenous and Black Canadian perspectives. What do Church leaders need to know about the ways that institutions uphold racism even today? How can youth leaders and youth respond? From myth-busting to offering a series of "Did you Know" videos about Black and Indigenous perspectives, youth leaders will leave this workshop with practical tools, greater awareness, and a conversation guide about racism and reconciliation.


Joel Gordon

Joel Gordon is the EFC's new Director of Partnership and Ministry Innovation. His new role involves facilitating gatherings with national leaders, actively listening to their challenges and needs, and working collaboratively with them and EFC staff members to produce resources that will bless Canada in the name of Jesus. Joel is married to Erin, they have 4 children and live in the Greater Toronto Area. Before entering into full-time ministry, he worked professionally for two decades in film and television as a producer, director, and actor.

Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Website

Andrew Thunder

Andrew Thunder

Andrew Thunder is an Indigenous ministry leader, a business professional and an advocate for reconciliation. He currently serves as the Director of Corporate Responsibility at The North West Company where he leads sustainability initiatives related to a corporate implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, diversity and inclusion policies and Indigenous community investments. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Manitoba and a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Horizon College and Seminary. He previously served as a youth pastor in Ontario, an executive pastor in Manitoba and assisted in directing Indigenous missions for the Northwestern Ontario and Manitoba PAOC District. He currently leads Indigenous ministry initiatives at Cross Church in Winnipeg, MB.

Dave Overholt

How to Get Youth to Read and Engage with God's Word

Would you love to get your youth into God's Word every day? We will be unpacking some fun, effective and engaging ways for your teens to connect with the Bible that will produce deeper disciples.


Dave Overholt

Dave has ministered with teenagers for over 4 decades. He is the lead pastor of Church on the Rock and heads up the Youth and Family department at Tyndale University. Dave travels to train youth workers around the world and has written several Canadian best sellers.

Church on the Rock Website