Spencer Geren attended Florida State University majoring in Economics. He began his professional career with Lever Brothers Company (now known as UniLever), working also for Telerx Marketing. He is now working with Deoleo USA, a consumer products food company. His career in consumer products and business analytics has spanned both large and small organizations including sales, management and consulting positions, platform development, coding and end user reporting. He is married and has two grown children.
Joel Lusz graduated from Taylor University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and theatre arts in 1981 where he also played basketball for the Trojans. He received his Master of Arts degree in counseling psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1990. He is finishing his Doctor of Ministry with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Joel has worked in youth and family ministry in the local church since 1981 serving currently at Suntree United Methodist Church in Melbourne, Florida. He is a certified trainer of trainers with HomeWord. Joel has authored and contributed to over eight books and multiple articles appearing in respected youth ministry publications. He has been a mainstay presenter at the Youth Specialties National Youth Worker Convention since 1996. His expertise has been shared with youth ministers at nearly a dozen other national conferences. Joel is the founder and President of GoYouthMinistry.com LLC, a ministry that provides churches and youth ministers with video, multimedia, DVD, CD, speaking, bible study, message and book resources.
Dr. Jonathan Grenz has more than 20 years of ministry experience. He has served as associate pastor in youth ministry and Christian education, lead pastor and director of a parachurch ministry. His ministry experience has spanned the Midwest, northwest, southern California, western Canada, and now Florida. He has led numerous short-term mission groups and recently has enjoyed opportunities to teach pastors in the Philippines and Ukraine. He graduated from Taylor University College and Seminary with a bachelor of arts and a masters of divinity. He received his Ph.D. from Biola University. Jon is a full-time faculty member at Palm Beach Atlantic University, teaching Ministry Leadership Studies and Student Ministries. He is married to Susan and has two children, Jesse and Phoebe. Jon teaches the Systematic Theology core theology course for the Youth Ministry Institute.
Janet Earls has been serving as the Congregational Vitality Specialist for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church in the newly formed Office of Congregational Vitality, since June 1, 2013.
According to Bishop Carter, "Janet Earls has a deep spiritual commitment to lead others in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. She was a key leader in the growth of Grace Church in Cape Coral, one of our denomination’s most vital churches, where she was a member; at the same time, she has worked as a coach alongside some of our most distressed congregations. As a lay person, she will bring additional diversity to our conference leadership team through her experiences in corporate and congregational life."
Earls worked close to six years in the East Central District as a contracted coach as well as volunteering in district leadership roles. Janet was the past chair of the East Central District Center for Congregational Excellence; and for five years, she built a track record of success in guiding churches in crisis and coaching church leadership or transition teams through a vision process. Prior to working with churches, she has more than 10 years of experience coaching, teaching, facilitating and mentoring high performance teams in other secular industries.
Janet is a professional coach certified by Spiritual Leadership Inc. and the International Coach Federation and Kolbe Consultant. Janet was a member of the Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and was a Lay Delegate to the 2012 General Conference. She will return as a delegate in 2016. She is a member of First UMC Lakeland. Janet has been married to Lee for 33 years and has two adult children; Son, Ryan, married to Caroline living in Gainesville, and daughter, Jenna, living in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Dr. Jon Davis is a husband, father, pastor, teacher, scholar, musician, writer, and most of all seek to be a faithful follower of Jesus. He enjoys life's journey through many forms of music (classical / rock n roll / bluegrass); flourishes in the mountains; cool temps; autumn colors; college football; and Braves baseball. He is passionate about Berry College, where he graduated with a degree in religion and philosophy. He also graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and received a PhD in Christian Worship from the Graduate Theological Foundation.
He has served in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. Currently he is the Executive Director of the Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center. Living the sacramental life of discovering the presence of Christ in everyday moments is Jon's true mission in life.
Rob Herzog is the Vice-President of Research Operations at Florida Hospital. He has enjoyed a long tenure with the hospital beginning in private practice as a licensed mental health counselor. He graduated from James Madison University and then received a Masters degree from the University of Virginia.
The Rev. Tim Nunez is the Canon to the Ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. He served for nearly 11 years as the rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Belleview, Florida. Prior to that he graduated from the University of the South School of Theology and the University of Florida.
Jason grew up in the small town of Eden, North Carolina. While in High School he attended a local Wesleyan Church and grew up in their youth ministry. He accepted Jesus as Savior at an early age but really began to understand God’s love and forgiveness in his teenage years. One summer at camp he felt that God was calling him to serve as a pastor. Jason pursued his call and attended Southern Wesleyan University and prepared for ministry. Jason graduated in 2006 with a Bachelors of Arts in Religion. After college, Jason served as a missionary pastor in Caboolture, Queensland Australia (Keith Urban’s hometown). He has been serving in Seminole, Florida as a youth pastor since 2009. Currently he is at Heritage United Methodist Church. He is also a 2011 graduate of the Youth Ministry Institute. Jason’s prayer is that young people will come to know that Jesus loves them and has a plan and purpose for their lives right now.
Scott is currently at Riviera United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg where he has served as the Director of Youth Ministry since 2000 as well as the Director of Children’s ministry since 2008. Prior to arriving at Riviera UMC, Scott spent 8 years in a variety of roles within the mental health system including Case Management and Therapeutic Foster Care Supervisor. He is married to Laurie, his wife of 23 years and they have 3 children. Scott is a graduate of Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC where he earned a Bachelors degree in Psychology and played 2nd base for the baseball program.
Jon Michael has been serving in youth ministry since 2008. He is a graduate of they University of Florida and is currently the High School Pastor at Van Dyke United Methodist Church, where he has served since 2015. Jon Michael also serves as a verbatim coach for YMI and is a YMI Class of 2013 graduate. He is married to Jessca and has a daughter, Lily Grace. Jon Michael loves basketball, the YMCA, biking to work, Starbucks, and his family!
Joshua Joseph “JJ” is the Youth Director of The Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando, FL. For the past six years, JJ has experienced and observed the small church/youth ministry dynamic and has made uncommon strides to address the issue of slow to no growth in a small youth ministry setting. He is A Youth Ministry Institute (YMI) graduate, a father to his newborn son Isaiah, a husband to his wife Angela, and a man of faith who is committed to serving the youth by spreading the gospel as far and as wide as possible.
Sarah Beaver, a member of First United Methodist Church in Orlando, has volunteered in the youth ministry for over 20 years. She spent 14 years as a sponsor for FCA at Blankner School. Sarah recognizes the impact of youth ministry, as her daughter spent a year in youth ministry and her son in law is currently a youth pastor in Birmingham, Alabama. She grew up in the military and some of her fondest memories are from her EYC days. Currently, she is a BSF Children's Leader, teaching the book of John to toddlers. Sarah believes every young person needs a strong Christian in their life, pointing them to Jesus.