NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 21, 2016 – While pursuing a field of study to help prepare for a traditional career, many of today’s college students are searching for ways to combine their faith, gifts and passions to make an immediate impact in their communities. However, as students pursue this call, they may find limited resources to support them in their faith and leadership development.

Created out of The United Methodist Student Movement, Imagine What’s NEXTencourages and supports students who dream of making a difference in the world right now for Christ. As the NEXT community grows and connects across the globe, it will serve as a pool of partners, perspectives, and resources to assist individuals in their faith and leadership development.

The NEXT community will gather November 4-6, 2016 in Atlanta’s historic Tabernacle Theater for NEXT 2016. This event is designed to equip students with the skills needed to merge and connect their gifts with innovative discipleship, and effect immediate change within their communities. Launched in 2012, NEXT is organized by a “dream team” consisting of college students, campus ministers and other creative disciples from across the United Methodist connection. NEXT is sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s (GBHEM) Office of Collegiate Ministry.

“NEXT is a unique gathering of young adults who are discerning, or reimagining, ways to pursue their desire to make a difference in the world. It is a dynamic space where faith and action intersect with creativity and passion,” said Rev. Sheila Bates director of student faith and leadership formation at GBHEM. “NEXT is more than an event, it’s a movement! We are providing access to experts and resources in a supportive environment where students can recharge, renew and Imagine What’s NEXT.”

The NEXT schedule includes dynamic worship, innovative community gatherings, creative exhibitors, and connections to some of Atlanta’s most respected community experts, advocates and service organizations. Main stage speakers include worldwide traveling peacemaker, Shane Claiborne; sought after communicator and community strategist, Romal Tune; and global advocate for water rights, Farhana Sultana. The Saturday night featured musical artist is the highly acclaimed band, Stars Go Dim. Community partners providing service-learning opportunities include the Atlanta Community Food Bank, The Center for Civil and Human Rights, The Carter Library, and The King Center.

Students, campus ministers, chaplains, religious nonprofit or business leaders who have a creative idea, ministry or social entrepreneurial plan, or gift in the arts to share with participants are encouraged to apply to present a Ted style talk, lead worship or share their creative talents during NEXT. Travel expenses and free registration for NEXT will be provided for those selected.

To sign up, visit the registration site. Register before June 30 to use discount code EARLYBIRD and take $50 off registration fees. To apply as a speakerband, artist orexhibitor, complete the online application. For more information or help completing your application, visit the NEXT website at or contact Sheila Bates at sbates@gbhem or (615) 340-7570.

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to prepare global leaders for a global church and the world. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call on their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.

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