When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Throughout the Gospels, we see people encountering Jesus as he brings light into their darkness. Just as with Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and the blind man who wanted to see, Jesus comes to us as the light of life, transforming our hearts and offering new life and hope.
Re-encounter Jesus at The Gospel Coalition Youth Conference, experience his unconditional love, and be reminded of who you are in Christ.
The event is for youth currently in high school up to twenty years of age.
If you are a youth who seeks to attend the conference with your church, select the individual registration button.
What if your church is not enrolled? Ask them to enrol, join another church group (with permission), or register as an individual without selecting an affiliated church. However, if you register as an individual without a church, you can only purchase day pass tickets and cannot stay overnight on Redeemer University’s campus.
Robbie Symons is the founding pastor of Hope Bible Church Oakville.
Hope Oakville began with a Bible study of 18 people in 2003 and is now over 4000 people today. Hope Oakville has also been used to see the birth of several vibrant churches across Canada.
Robbie’s radio ministry through Hope Bible Church, called Live in the Light, can be heard daily throughout Southern Ontario, western New York, and the Atlantic provinces. He is also the author of Passion Cry and he serves in the role of on-air bible teacher at 100 Huntley St., seeking to see a love for Jesus Christ spread across the nation.
Robbie, his wife Gillian and their four children live in Burlington, Ontario.
Kesavan was born in Sri Lanka. Due to rising concerns over the civil war, his family moved to Toronto in 1989. Kesavan has enjoyed playing soccer and basketball over the years. Right after high school, Kesavan pursued an IT program in college.
At the age of 19, Kesavan began to read the Bible just to get his mind off his own struggles. But God used that time to open his eyes to the reality of his own sin and the need for a Saviour. It was here that the Gospel of grace saved him and redirected his life to know, enjoy, and glorify God in all things.
Years later, he was called to pursue a theological education and earned his B.R.E at Tyndale University College and Seminary. He is married to his beautiful wife Viji, and they have a growing family of four kids, Josiah, Micah, Abigail and Emily.
Kesavan has been serving in pastoral ministry since 2011. In July 2014, he was commissioned to plant Fellowship Church Rouge Park in the east end of Toronto. He longs to see people come to understand and believe in God’s plan to rescue fallen humanity through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ so that His name and fame would spread in the GTA and beyond.
Dwayne Cline served as the lead pastor for James North Baptist Church in downtown Hamilton for 28 years. He is on the The Gospel Coalition Canada council as well as the board for City to City Canada. Dwayne and Aimee have been blessed with four children. He is currently assisting organizations think through matters of governance, strategic planning, team building and fundraising.
Hilmer has been married to Meagan for 17 years and they have three children: Rowan, Kiara and Whitney. Originally hailing from Chiliwack, BC, Hilmer spent almost 10 years working as a sales representative. It was during this time that Hilmer began to feel God’s call to pursue pastoral ministry. In 2012, Hilmer and Meagan made the decision to move to Hamilton, ON, where Hilmer obtained a master’s of divinity and began ministry as a pastor in the Hamilton area. In April of 2021, Hilmer accepted the position as the pastor of Fellowship Church in Burlington. As a family they really enjoy life in Ontario—except for the winters! In his spare time, Hilmer enjoys reading, playing hockey, spending time with friends and watching the Blue Jays!
When it comes to ministry, Hilmer loves preaching and teaching the truth of God’s Word and seeing individuals transformed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His desire is quite simple—to see the church committed to prayer as it strives to disciple, encourage and build up followers of Christ for the glory of God and the good of our city.
Janet Surette is a Canadian Bible teacher, conference speaker, and children’s book author. She learns, worships, and serves with her family at Southshore Bible Church in her adopted hometown of Barrie. Janet and her husband Glen have been married for 28 years and they are relishing this life stage with mostly adult daughters who are working, ministering, attending university, and playing competitive volleyball. Janet cherishes any opportunity to encourage listeners to apply God’s wisdom to their lives – for their joy, for the good of their families, for the health of their churches, and ultimately for the glory of God.
Avery Surette is a second-year varsity athlete at Redeemer University, studying English and math. She is passionate about investing these important years in meaningful activity, and encouraging her peers to do the same so that their generation can reach adulthood strong, healthy, wise and ready to positively impact their communities for Christ. When Avery’s not playing volleyball or studying, you can find her adventuring, reading classic literature, working out, making music and enjoying the many treasured people in her life.
Jim R. Vanderwoerd has taught social work in Christian universities for more than 25 years. He’s gone on poverty marches, lobbied governments and taught courses on poverty. But he’s not sure if that makes him an expert or not.
Julie Kingma is passionate about working with young adults and helping them to flourish in both their physical and mental health. She is an experienced nurse practitioner with more than 25 years of experience working in diverse primary care settings and across all age groups. Julie currently serves as the director of student health and wellness at Redeemer University, where she operates the Student Health Clinic on campus. She also works with Beyond ADHD and specializes in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of ADHD among transition-aged youth and adults. During her spare time, Julie loves to be with her husband and three children, as well as their unruly dog, Buster.
Kim DeJong is a registered social worker specializing in supporting teens and young adults through mental health challenges like depression, anxiety and stress. Kim’s varied roles, including foster parent, teacher, counsellor and pastor’s wife, give her a wide range of experiences to build connections and provide care. Currently serving as adjunct faculty and manager of field education at Redeemer University within the applied social sciences program, she draws on her experiences to guide students through internships as they prepare to make an impact in the field of social work. Kim has been married to Bill for 29 years, raising four sons and gaining a daughter-in-law along the way.
Morgan Braganza is an assistant professor at Redeemer who teaches social work. She is also a researcher who studies how to have hard conversations in caring ways. She has spoken to many groups of people (including teens and adults) about this topic (because lots of people find having difficult conversations to be difficult). Her aims are to help people learn how to build stronger relationships, better handle conflict and react more positively toward hurtful comments while still showing kindness toward others.
Dr. Peter Neumann is the vice president, academic at Redeemer University. He has been involved in post-secondary education for over 22 years, teaching mainly theology but also dabbling in other areas. He also served for 11 years on pastoral staffs in Richmond Hill and Markham, ON. He lives in Pickering, ON, with his wife, Sharon, two young adult children, Nathanael and Mikayla, and two dogs.
Sam is an ordained pastor with many years of experience in ministry, and he currently serves as the student life chaplain at Redeemer University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in christian education, a master’s degree in theology, and a master’s degree in divinity, focusing on youth, family and culture. He is pursuing a doctorate in non-profit organizational leadership at Tyndale University and Seminary.
Stewart Cameron has lived experience with poverty, abuse, homelessness (as a youth and adult), incarceration, grief and severe addiction. These experiences nearly cost him his life over and over. He aims to help those stuck in the system of personal and systemic poverty with his education and lived experience. He hopes to break down cultural frameworks that don’t offer space for men to be themselves. His passion is to share the grace and love to those suffering in poverty because that is what God did for him.
Is Jesus Really Good News for the Poor?
Jim Vanderwoerd and Stewart Cameron
Jesus said he was good news for the poor, but what does that mean for us today? Should you give money to the homeless on the street? Go on a poverty protest march? Volunteer at a food bank? Or just pay your taxes and let the government take care of it? A Redeemer University social work alumnus and and a social work instructor will together lead activities to help answer these and other questions.
Everything Feels Overwhelming - What Can I Do?
Julie Kingma and Kim deJong
Do you ever feel like life is too much sometimes? So many things can make us feel overwhelmed, including academic pressures, social expectations, relationships, uncertainty about the future and feeling lost when it comes to making decisions. Also, we might experience overwhelm due to mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression or stress. In this talk, we will explore practical ways to navigate tough emotions and combat feelings of overwhelm. Plus, we will dive into spiritual practices that lean on Jesus to help you find ways to stay centred and grounded when life feels chaotic.
Live Your Life to the Fullest!
Explore how you can live your lives to the fullest amidst a secular world by understanding what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Discuss practical ways of applying this knowledge in your daily lives to fulfill your calling.
Creation Care - Learning From Scripture and God's World
Dress appropriately, as this session will be held outside if weather permits. In this session, we will 1) consider what God's word has to say about His creation, our place in it, and our responsibility to care for it; 2) see what we can learn from studying God's world; and 3) look at a project on Redeemer's campus that protects water quality and improve habitats in the Tiffany Creek Watershed.
How to Have Hard Conversations with Your Friends Without Ghosting Them
Let’s be real. Sometimes, having honest conversations is hard! Sometimes it is easier to ghost someone than to tell them that you are mad at them for doing something hurtful, tell them that you’ve made a big mistake or tell them something deeply personal about yourself. The thought of conflict, rejection or being cancelled can be really scary. At times, it can feel easier to avoid these things and ghost people than to have a difficult conversation. In this workshop, we will talk about how to have hard conversations so that we can develop deeper relationships and respond to Christ’s call to love others.
Called to Change the World: Seriously?
Does Jesus want me to change the world? This idea may seem exciting or maybe intimidating. Christians are called to live a life that matters for Jesus. And we also hear stories of believers and even non-Christian celebrities positively impacting the world in seemingly huge ways. But what does it look like for me, an average Christian, to "change the world" for Jesus? In this workshop we will explore what Jesus really expects of believers and the many ways to faithfully live out our Christian calling.
How Snapchat Shapes Us
In this session, we will examine the burdens and blessings of using Snapchat. What is driving this app's popularity, how does it transform our relationships and how might it even be discipling us? By examining features like Snapstreaks through a theology of technology, this session will help you build discernment, wisdom and virtue into your use of this not-so-neutral app.
Made For Christ: How to Live a Meaningful Life in Our High School and College Years
Janet & Avery Surette
Believe it or not, the scriptures have a say in how we spend our free time – and it is radically different than our culture’s perspective. This workshop applies passages about wisdom and the life of Jesus Christ so that we can be further equipped to live meaningfully for the kingdom of God in our highschool and college years. You may even be shocked to discover that these culturally radical methods of time usage contribute not only to the kingdom of God, but to finding individual purpose and happiness – almost like we were made for this. Join us for some instruction, a panel discussion, and a Q & A period about how to make the most of your high school and post-secondary years.
3-on-3 Basketball Tournament
Grab a couple friends and see if you have what it takes to score big in the tournament. Only available Friday evening from 9:30–10:30 p.m., weather permitting. Sign your team up at the check-in table when you arrive on Friday.
Board Games and Quiet Activities
Don't feel like being active or super competitive? Come over to the Dining Hall (centre of Founders Hall) and play a board game, do some colouring or get crafting. This space will be open during all break and activity times. No sign up required to join the fun.
You won't want to miss the Redeemer gymnasium set up with lights, sounds, fog and bunkers. Lazer Tag To Go brings the ultimate competition and 30 players will face off each game. See if you can get your name on the leaderboard. Sign up at the check-in table on Friday to choose your time slot.
Mario Kart Tournament
Room 210, Founders Hall
Get ready to race. We are organizing a Mario Kart tournament for Nintendo Switch. Sign up at the check-in table on Friday to choose your timeblock.
Outdoor Games (spikeball, disc golf, etc.)
Enjoy some fresh air while joining in on a fun game or two. Various games will be available in the Quad (outdoor space by Founders Hall) during all break and activity times. No sign up required, weather permitting.
Soccer Dome Activities
You won't want to miss the fun in the Soccer Dome: indoor soccer, flag football, and volleyball. The dome will only be available on Friday evening from 9:30-11:30 p.m. and sign up will be at the check-in table on Friday.
The conference will be held at Redeemer University. We are inviting youth to stay overnight on campus where they will receive food and accommodations on campus.