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Cultivate Conference 2023

The Cultivate Conference 2023 has been Cancelled. Please check back again for Cultivate 2024 conference information. Thank you!

Date(s): -

Event category:

Presentations and Lectures

Fresno Pacific University and Central Valley Youth Network are proud to present the Cultivate Conference. This annual youth conference will take place on March 4, 2023, on FPU’s main campus and will explore how youth groups can “Prepare to Serve”. Cultivate Conference will help high school students and youth leaders explore the “why?” around missions, equipping youth with the tools to better serve the Kingdom of God in our city and around the world.

Cost & Admission:

The Early Bird ticket registration is $15 per attendee and is available through February 10. Registration includes the main sessions, breakout speakers, a t-shirt, lunch and snacks throughout the day. Youth Leaders bringing groups larger than 8, contact Martha Fregoso for possible youth leader ticket discounts at

Register for Cultivate 2023



Photo of Joe Romero

KEYNOTE SPEAKER | Joe Romero Joe is the Youth & Young Adults Pastor at Via Fresno and Founder of YTH Collective, a non-profit ministry focused on unifying, equipping and championing youth and young adult pastors and next gen leaders in the Central Valley. Joe has been pastoring for 11 years now and is passionate about seeing young people experience God in ways that propel them into their calling and into their mission field.  

Fun Facts: I’m a homebody, love being home with family. I can’t eat the same meal over and over and not get tired of it. I wasn’t raised in the church and started following Jesus my freshman year in college. And too many times I get compared to Baker Mayfield, QB for the LA Rams. 

Photo of Melanie Howard

Melanie A. Howard, Ph.D. (or, “Dr. Melly” as her students call her) is an Associate Professor and Program Director of the Biblical and Theological Studies Program as well as the Chair of the Division of Biblical and Religious Studies at Fresno Pacific University. Her teaching and research focus especially on the Synoptic Gospels, literary approaches to biblical literature, and non-traditional hermeneutics (including feminist and disability approaches to biblical interpretation). Dr. Howard is an active member at Willow Avenue Mennonite Church where she has served in several lay leadership roles.   

Session Title: What (Not!) to Do When Meeting Someone New: An Exploration of Biblical Models  

About Session: Have you ever met someone new and didn’t know what to say? Do you feel unsure about how to interact with someone who is different from you? In this interactive workshop, participants will have the chance to explore several different biblical accounts of encounters between different groups and individuals. Using these encounters as models for how Christians should (or should not!) engage in mission, the workshop will give participants an opportunity to identify and practice appropriate techniques for engaging different people and cultures.   

Photo of Brian Davis

Brian Davis has served as Campus Chaplain at FPU – the best University in the world! - since 2011. He was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley and has a passion for helping others experience a loving and transformative relationship with Christ. Brian has led and served on many short-term mission, service, and learning trips to locations such as India, Thailand, Germany, Mexico, and the Bay Area.   

Session Title: “Just be Yourself!” Best advice for leaders or bad counsel from a marvel movie?” 

About Session: The mantra “just be yourself” can be empowering advice that leads to a life of freedom, transformation, and service to others. But what happens when we lie to ourselves about who we are? Using the temptation of Jesus from Matthew 4 as a case study, this workshop will identify three lies' Christians often believe about themselves, help us to become more aware of how they affect us and build tools for overcoming them. 

Photo of Sophia Magallanes-tsang

Dr. Sophia Magallanes-Tsang is a Latina Pentecostal Bible scholar who specializes in Hebrew Wisdom Literature and Old Testament Studies. She is an Assistant Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies at Fresno Pacific University. One of her current writing projects is “Reading the Word Interculturally” through Baker Academic Publishing.  

Session One: Intersectional Identities in the Bible in Dialogue Cross-culturally  

About Session: This session will discuss the intersectional identities of biblical characters in order to demonstrate how God uses those intersections for his purposes. Participants in the session will assess their own intersectional identities. They will then choose a biblical character to look to as a template for ministry as well as a dialogue partner in their ministry endeavors.  

Session Two: Reading the Bible Together in an Intercultural & Cross-cultural Way 

About Session: This session will provide practical ways in which participants can practice cross cultural and intercultural engagement in their study of the Bible in their personal study of it and in community locally as well as abroad. Participants will get a chance to practice basic cross cultural and intercultural skills during the session with the Bible itself as well as with each other. 

Photo of Quentin Kinnison

Quentin P. Kinnison, Ph.D., M.Div., is licensed in both the American Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention, holding over 30 years of congregational experience in various ministry positions. He teaches Christian ministry courses and theology of disability courses for the Special Education program at Fresno Pacific. Kinnison is editor and contributor to A Road Too Short for the Long Journey, and author of Transforming Pastoral Leadership, and co-author of Welcoming Children with Special Needs (with Dr. Julie Lane). 

Session Title: Ministry That Makes a Difference  

About Session: What is "good" ministry and how do we do it?! In this session, we will investigate the Kingdom values that make ministry meaningful and influential in the lives of people we care for, whether as a pastoral leader or as a lay person caring for a friend. 

Photo of Carlos Huerta

Carlos Huerta is from the small farm town of Caruthers, CA, growing up in a single parent household, from humble beginnings. Carlos is a first to graduate from college and is an FPU alumni, having run both track and cross country at FPU. Carlos now spends time serving churches, non-profits, schools, and individuals, helping them find economic solutions to their  community’s deepest needs. Carlos attends Midtown Church in Fresno is married with two children, 8 and 3, and spends his free time finding equitable solutions for the least, the last and lost In Fresno and the Central Valley in the name of Christ.  

Session Title: I don’t know what to do, God, how can you use me?

About Session: Service is at the heart of how Jesus lived his life, a servant leader. In your service in Fresno, the central valley and beyond, there will be much need, and sometimes you may not know how you what to do. In the story of 2 Kings 4, we see a widow in much need and the Prophet Elisha takes a posture that feels countercultural today. In this session, you’ll hear about the heart of a prophet and his work in community to listen to a need and find a creative solution to impact the life of someone who could often go forgotten. 

Photo of Brad Issak

Brad Isaak is the Associate Pastor of Youth & Families at North Fresno Church and Adjunct Professor at FPU. He has been a youth pastor for 12 years serving students on staff at churches in Fresno, Selma, Kingsburg, and Clovis. He loves learning and telling stories about how the way of Jesus has deep meaning for our experiences of both suffering and hope. Brad is a massive fan of The Lord of the Rings, Premier League Soccer, The Office, and Kendrick Lamar. 

Session 1 Title: Z Essentials: 3 Big Findings from Researchers 

About Session: We know Gen Z is unique. Come discover some data from studies on the strengths and struggles of your generation and how these considerations might shape how you and your friends might serve and share the good news of Jesus today. Then you can tell us what the researchers missed or got right! 

Session 2 Title: I Served. Now What? 

About Session: You’ve had an incredible mission’s trip and you’ve seen God work in amazing ways. But now what? Does the experience stop when the trip ends? Learn and brainstorm together about what to expect and the ways you can keep your love for God and people alive long after the mission’s trip is done. 

Marcus Marshall

Marcus Marshall has a passion to connect and reach the lost and help raise up the next generation. He attended the Bethel School of Ministry and now attends peoples church.

Session Title: Preparing to Serve

About Session: Acts 16:8-10 God is calling us to serve people. He says whenever you did it to the least you have done it to me. Through this session you will be inspired and encouraged to see the lord in more places than inside the four walls of the church BUT in all the world.