Youth ministries to advise parents on teens

Austin area churches will offer parents of teenagers a few pointers Saturday morning.

The Equip U parenting conference, sponsored by a collection of area churches’ youth ministries, will take place at Faith Evangelical Free Church 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 14. The conference is intended to give parents tools to raise teens in a spiritually healthy way.

“We’re very excited about being able to provide this in Austin,” said Troy Miller, director of Christian education at St. John’s Lutheran. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to partner with parents.”

The event will feature keynote speaker Brian Pingel, assistant professor of youth studies at Minneapolis’ North Central University. Pingel teaches classes ranging from adolescent psychology and counseling to leadership development. He has been involved in interactive youth ministry for 15 years in Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Austin youth leaders will lead workshops after the keynote, covering subjects including blended families, spiritual disciplines and how parents should talk to their teenagers about sex. Each of the four different workshops will run twice, so attendees may choose which to attend.

No one church is driving the event, he said. Instead, it’s a joint effort between different youth ministries in Austin.

“They’re concerned about teenagers,” Miller said. It’s a good opportunity to reach out to families that may not be in touch with the church, he added.

This is the first year the churches have put on an event like this. While Miller has no estimate of how many will attend, he said he’s excited to see what the turnout yields.

The event is open to the public. Advance tickets can be picked up for $5 from several of the area’s youth ministries, including Westminster Presbyterian, Faith Evangelical Free and St. Olaf Lutheran.

Registration begins at 8:45 a.m. Tickets are $7 at the door. Child care will be provided for ages 8 and under.

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