Locals host Teen Power ConferenceBy Jeremy Smith Published 12:10pm Friday, May 18, 2012
Local young people will get an unusual opportunity June 22 and 23 to discuss their faith, struggles and other concerns as they take part in Teen Power Conference 2012.
The event, designed for those between the ages of 12-18, will feature an array of motivational speakers as well as a handful of breakout sessions.
“I thought this would be something good to encourage them and uplift them, help them develop their leadership skills,” event organizer Dr. Kristopher Spears said. “Basically, it’s a youth conference. We’re targeting those aged 12-18. I grew up around the area and went to Linden High School and wanted to give back to the area and the teens in the area. There was nothing like this when I was growing up.”
While the motivational speakers are an important feature of the program, Spears pointed to the more personal aspects of the conference as the home for the greatest opportunities.
“We’d like to also have some breakout sessions too where we get to figure out a little more about the teens and what’s going on with them,” Spears said.
Teen Power Conference 2012 is the sixth such event Spears and New Creation Ministries have hosted in Demopolis dating back to 2000.
“We started doing it in 2000. I graduated from pharmacy school at Xavier University and I’ve been doing it every other year starting in 2000,” Spears, who currently resides in Atlanta, Ga. said.
Spears explained that New Creation Family Ministries is an idea that began to take shape while he was doing his undergraduate work at Auburn University. After he moved on to pharmacy school in New Orleans, La., he began giving the idea life in his surrounding community while venturing into youth ministry for the first time.
“New Creation Family Ministries is basically a ministry I created. It’s a non-profit. We are focusing on teenagers, but the vision is kind of to help and encourage the family as a whole,” Spears said. “it just kind of grew out of my passion for helping teenagers.”
Spears said the idea occurred during his undergraduate days when he realized how difficult it can be for teenagers to transition into adulthood.
“That’s when I got this idea that this was something that is missing, helping the young people transition from being teenagers and children into adults,” Spears said. “From 96 until 2000, I just kind of developed it. I’ve been working youth ministry since 96.”
While technology and other elements of culture have changed significantly in the years since Spears launched New Creation Family Ministries, he understands that teens and the issues they face have largely remained the same.
“One of the biggest challenges is sex. What role does sex play in my life? Sex is prevalent. It’s prevalent on television shows and the internet. We’ve got sexting going on now. That is one of the major challenges is trying to put it in a positive since,” Spears said. “Explaining that you were created to be a sexual being, but that God wants you to wait until marriage for that special person.”
Spears also mentioned bullying and other forms of peer pressure and key talking points for the conference as well as the obstacles of family communication.
“I think family and dealing is family. How can you communicate better with family? Being able to receive some positive feedback from your parents,” Spears said.
The conference is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. June 22 at the Theo Ratliff Activity Center in Demopolis. The second session is set for 11 a.m. June 23. Registration is not required for the event.