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Hansen hopes to empower youth leaders to join the suicide prevention movement

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communication, Dakotas UMC


Chris Hansen will present at the Dakotas Conference Youth Worker Academy, kApril 17-19, 2020, at Storm Mountain Center, near Rockerville, South Dakota.

When Chris Hansen began his career as a youth pastor twenty years ago, suicide was the third leading cause of death among young people, ages 13-24. Today, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults.

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” says Hansen. “We need more people on the suicide prevention team. Youth need to know that someone knows and loves them beyond their parents.” 

Hansen has 20 years of experience working with youth, ministry, and ministerial leadership. Currently, he is a coach and consultant with Leadership Harbor in Lincoln, Nebraska, a group that seeks to guide others to be the best spiritual leaders than can be. 

“I get inspired by helping leaders be the best version of themselves,” says Hansen. “I work at adding value, meaning, and pouring into youth leaders who work with junior and senior high kids with no budget and limited support.”

He was invited by great friends and colleagues to be part of the leadership development team that seek to equip people to make a difference. Hansen says it is a step that has helped him deepen his faith and live out his call.

“I am a coach, a dad, a husband, and a follower of Christ,” he says. “Years ago, I decided to make a difference in the lives of youth. Today, I am being the best thing I can be by coaching others how to lead through and touch the lives of others.”

Social pressures, bullying, and suicide are felt in every community today, Hansen points out. “It is a no brainer to me. When youth suffer or suicide happens, it is a tragedy felt by everyone in the faith community. Often it is the youth pastor that needs to step forward for the congregation, especially the youth.”

As a coach and consultant, Hansen walks youth leaders through the steps to be ready to deal with young people dealing with the societal pressures of today’s culture. “We walk through tools and techniques for debriefing, support systems, and taking care of ourselves,” he says.

April 17-19, Hansen will present four workshops at Storm Mountain, for the 2020 Youthworker Academy. See the details and register here.

Graphic of Sail and Leadership Harbor logo

Chris Hansen, the presenter, is with Leadership Harbor, in Lincoln, Nebraska, a group that seeks to guide others to be the best spiritual leaders than can be. 

  1. Identifying and investing in our leaders—Building a team of volunteers in your youth ministry is likely the most important component to a successful ministry, second only to your own spiritual and personal health. Participants will dive into what it means to retain your team by investing in and adding value to them.  
  2. Keep calm and lead on—You are the youth pastor. Can you keep calm when suicide or issues of bullying impact your youth and ministry?  What about your leaders and students, will they stay calm? In this workshop, participants will unpack suicide prevention and bullying prevention with a simple approach that will help you stay calm, ask the right questions, lead, and move.
  3. Time to shift gears?—Whether you’ve been in ministry for ten years or ten minutes; it’s never a wrong time to take a step back and ask why?” Why do you do the things you do in your ministry  As a Leader?  Why does your ministry do things the way they do?  Maybe it’s all working well, but perhaps it’s not.  As things in our world move faster and forward more quickly, let’s evaluate if a gear shift in your ministry or your self is necessary.
  4. Yesterday ended last night; be intentional with today!—Intentionality is the key. Being intentional is harder than it sounds, but it is paramount to living our best life and leading our best ministries for our students and leaders. When we commit to intentional living, things start to happen; goals are met, lives are impacted, purposes lived out.  Know your why and then start living with intentionality.


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