United Methodist youth workers gather in Birmingham for conversation and connection

April 27, 2023

Each year, youth workers from the United Methodist Church’s largest congregations (1,000+ in weekly worship) gather from around the country to discuss the unique opportunities and challenges of student ministry and church work within their megachurch / mid-megachurch contexts. The discussion topics are voted on and curated by those in attendance in order to reflect and honor the diverse perspectives that give strength to the United Methodist denomination. This annual event also provides a short, but impactful, reuniting of friends and an opportunity to form new connections.

Participants explain that this gathering called “Leading Edge” is far more than a conference; it’s a conversation.

Trinity United Methodist Church (South Central District) had the distinct honor to host and welcome this year’s participants to Birmingham from April 18-20 for Leading Edge 2023. 

The week was filled with holy conversations, holy friendships and holy compassion, as youth workers from Idaho to North Carolina and everywhere in between gathered in the Magic City. In total, 57 youth workers gathered to listen, learn, teach and worship God as one Church.

Trinity UMC’s Minister to Students Rev. Robert Sturdivant says, “During this time, we were reminded that we are better together and of the importance of cheering each other on in this work. The week was filled with reflecting on the gift that is youth ministry and the honor of partnering with families and our communities around the country to emulate Christ.”

He adds, “It was a true privilege to welcome these remarkable youth workers to Alabama and Birmingham. To demonstrate Southern hospitality and most of all, to give space for prayer, discussion, and song as we move together into God’s grace.”

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