NextGen Youth Mental Health Conference 2024 – Pastors

 Continuing Education Event Powered By AACC

April 11-13, 2024 | Atlanta, GA

Super Early Bird Savings Deadline

February 23

$249 AACC Member Price

$289 for Non-AACC Members

Explore and understand the mental battles your church is fighting.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “There is no university for a Christian like that of sorrow and trial.” As a pastor, your experience ministering to others has likely taught you this truth. The Lord is wholly committed to the growth of those who love him, and He will use whatever means He deems necessary to lovingly mature his people – including trials (James 1:2-4). 

As a pastor, you’re a shepherd. You lead God’s people, teach them God’s word, and help bear their burdens throughout life’s God-ordained trials. You know that the word of God and its authority never change, but cultures, circumstances, and societies do – and with change, comes new challenges.

At the NextGen Youth Mental Health Conference, you’ll have the opportunity to investigate the common struggles of today’s adolescents and learn helpful tools your church can use to minister to the next generation.

For three full days, you’ll hear from renowned experts in counseling, mental health, and ministry, such as 

  • Dr. Jay Strack, founder of Student Leadership University
  • Dr. Matthew Stanford, CEO of the Hope and Healing Center and Institute
  • Dr. George Barna, Director of Research and Cofounder of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University
  • Dr. Tim Clinton, Founder and President of the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Tickets are going fast, so don’t hesitate to reserve your ticket. Secure your spot at the NextGen Youth Mental Health Conference today and experience firsthand the difference that a Christian youth mental health conference can make in the lives of the church you lead. 


Preconference Workshops

Professional Tracks


CE Credits Available

April 11-13, 2024 | Atlanta, GA

Pre-Conference Workshops

Thursday, April 11

Morning Workshops (8:30 – 11:45 AM)

001. Grace for the Children: Finding Hope in the Midst of Child and Adolescent Mental Illness Matthew Stanford, Ph.D.

002. Stress, Anxiety, and Depression: Emotion Regulation Skill Building for Youth Gary Sibcy, Ph.D. 

003. God Attachment, Self-esteem, and Faith Mercy Connors, Ph.D., and Megan Clunan, Ph.D. 

004. Loneliness and Isolation: Keeping Teens Safe in a Technological World Mark Mayfield, Ph.D. 

005. When the Pressure is Too Much: Kids, Performance, and Perfectionism in Sports, Academics, and Everyday Life Karl Benzio, M.D., and Zach Clinton, M.A. 

006. The Connection Between Non-suicidal Self-injury, Eating Disorders, and Body Image Amy Feigel, M.A.

007. Toxic Stress: The Effects of Childhood Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences Shannae Anderson, Ph.D. 

008. Ethical Dilemmas and Challenges in the Mental Health Treatment of Children and Adolescents David Jenkins, Psy.D. and Lon Lynn, D.O. 

Afternoon Workshops (1:30 – 4:45 PM)

010. Hurt 2.0: Inside the World of Today’s Youth Chap Clark, Ph.D.

011. Recent Trends in Mental Health and Substance Use Concerns Among Adolescents John Eklund, M.S.W. 

012. Problematic Internet Use and its Impact on Anxiety, Depression, and Addictions Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D. 

013. Crisis Point: The Prevalence of Youth Suicide and Suicidal Ideation Jennifer Cisney Ellers, M.A., and Diane Sharp, Ed.D. 

014. A Biblical and Clinical Approach to Homosexuality and Emerging Gender Identities and Ideology Kathy Koch, Ph.D., and Christine Sneeringer, M.A. 

015. Bridging the Gap: Opportunities and Challenges to Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Underserved Populations Mark Crear, Ph.D., and Jeff Wallace, Ph.D.

016. Healing through Play: Play Therapy Techniques with Traumatized Children Terra Mattson, M.A.

017. Psychopharmacological Treatment and Collaborative Care for Child and Adolescent Mental and Behavioral Disorders Stephen Grcevich, M.D. 

Main Conference Workshops


Friday, April 12

Morning Workshops (8:00 – 9:30 AM)

101. Empowering Youth: Navigating Mental Health Challenges Post-COVID-19 D. Fredrica Brooks-Davis, Psy.D.

102. Implementing a 12-step Recovery Model in Your Local Church or Community for Youth John Eklund, M.S.W. 

103. Reaching Teens Beneath the Surface Chip Clark, Ph.D. 

104. Riding the Waves of Emotion: Practical Skills for Emotion Regulation in Teens Shannae Anderson, Ph.D.

105. Bringing Why would the Team Together: Effective Ethics and Collaboration when Working with Youth Lon Lynn, D.O. and Mercy Connors, Ph.D.

106. Porn and Mental Health: Understanding the Dangerous Effects of Porn on Young, Developing Minds Jim Cress, M.A.

107. Building Resilient Children: Raising Them to Embrace Life with Confidence Kathy Koch, Ph.D. 

108. TBD Jay Strack, D. Min. and Jeff Wallace, Ph.D.

Friday Afternoon Workshops (1:30 – 3:30 PM)

201. Short and Long -Term Impacts of Sexual Violence: Critical Factors in Response and Care Jennifer Ellers, M.A.

202. Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction: Renewed Hope through Engagement, Adherence, and Recovery David Jenkins, Psy.D. and Brian Kelley, Ph.D. 

203. Are Too Many Kids Being Diagnosed with and Treated for ADHD? Stephen Grcevich, M.D.

204. Healing Depression for Life: The Personalized Approach for Youth That Offers New Hope for Lasting Relief Gregory Jantz, Ph.D.

205. Parenting from True Identity Dan Seaborn, M.A. 

206. How Far is Too Far: Helping Teens Set Healthy Boundaries and Self-control in Relationships Jason VanRuler, M.A.

207. Overcoming Shame: The Effects of Parental and Peer Connection on Self-Esteem and Hope Megan Clunan, Ph.D.

208. The Power of Psychological Safety: Creating a Trauma-Informed Ministry Chinwe Williams, Ph.D.

Saturday, April 13

Morning Workshops (8:00 – 9:30 AM)

301. Screening Youth for Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Heather Davediuk Gingrich, Ph.D.

302. Motivation, Decision Making and Transformation: Helping Parents of Adolescents with Behavior Disorders and Substance Abuse Issues Karl Benzio M.D.

303. The Love/Hate Relationship Between Teens and their Bodies: Eating Disorder, Body Dysmorphia, and Self-injury Amy Feigel, M.A.

304. Trauma and Disorders of Attachment in Children: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Gary Sibcy, Ph.D.

305. Raising a Generation of Courageous Girls: Identifying and Addressing the Root Concerns Facing Girls Today Terra Mattson, M.A.

306. Technological Infringement: Are Social Media and AI Impacting Development in Children and Teens? Jacqueline Wirth, Ph.D.

307. Under Pressure: Competitive, Sports, Mental Health and Resilience Zach Clinton, M.A.

308. Psychiatric Medication in Children and Adolescents Matthew Stanford, Ph.D.

Afternoon Workshops (1:15 – 2:45 PM)

401. Why Them?: A Child’s Journey through Loss, Death, and Traumatic Grief Laura Holmes, M.A.

402. Surviving the Dark Caves of Young Adulthood and Adolescence: Preventing and Overcoming Addictions, Depression, Anxiety, Suicidality, and Apathy Adrian Hickmon, Ph.D.

403. Bridging the Gap: How to Effectively Communicate with the Newest Generation(s) Mark Crear, Ph.D.

404. Culturally Competent Suicide Prevention: How Targeted Training and Intervention Make Greater Impact Diane Sharp, Ed.D.

405. Family Cohesion: Creating a Familial Culture of Flourishing and Spiritual Wholeness Mark Mayfield, Ph.D.

406. Going Beyond the Talk: Equipping Your Children to Make Choices from a Biblical Sexual Ethic Corey Gilbert, Ph.D.

407. Angry Outbursts and Defiance: Best Practices for Bringing Peace to the Family Tim Murphy, Ph.D.

408. Biblical Wisdom on Joy: The Key to Living Life Right-Side Up in an Upside-Down World Ron Hawkins, Ed.D., D.Min.

Conference Schedule

Thursday, April 11 2024 | Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center | Atlanta, Georgia



012:00PM – 7:00PM
Registration Opens




7:00-8:00 AM Registration Opens
08:30 – 11:45 AM Morning Pre-conference Workshops*
12:00 – 1:15 PM Lunch Break
1:30-4:45 PM Afternoon Pre-conference Workshops*
6:00PM-8:00PM Conference Kickoff/Keynote Session 1

*Pre-conference workshops must be purchased separately. 



8:00AM-9:30AM Workshop 1
10:00 – 11:30 AM Keynote Session 2
12:00 – 1:00 PM Ticketed Luncheon**
1:30 – 3:00 PM Workshop 2
3:30 – 5:30PM Keynote Session 3

**Luncheon tickets must be purchased separately.



8:00AM-9:30AM Workshop 3
10:00 – 11:30 AM Keynote Session 4
12:00 – 1:00 PM Ticketed Luncheon**
1:15 – 2:45 PM Workshop 4
3:00 – 4:00PM Keynote Session 5

**Luncheon tickets must be purchased separately.