Plenary Speakers

Our speakers all have different backgrounds and stories, but they are Christians who are committed to spreading the good news of the Gospel to all nations.

Avery Stafford

Avery Stafford

Lead Pastor, Common Ground Church

I serve as lead pastor at Common Ground Church in Beaverton, OR. I hold a B.S. in Christian Ministry from Abilene Christian University, an M.A. in Pastoral Studies from Multnomah Biblical Seminary, and a D.Min. in Missional Leadership from Multnomah. By God’s grace, I have served in pastoral ministry for over thirty years. Musically, I have recorded six albums and written a catalog of songs. In November, 2021, Wipf & Stock published my new book, When Collaboration Mirrors the Trinity: Leveraging Unity to Bless Our World. My favorite moments in life are enjoying the Oregon coast with my wife and experiencing Pacific Northwest adventures with family and friends.

When describing myself in one word, I usually say “bridge-builder.” Many generous people have poured countless time and energy into my life, which is a testament to God’s grace and favor. I am committed to doing the same for others. I want people to discover the depths of the love of God in their lives. In that sense, I am a bridge-builder.

Favorite movie genre and favorite movie: Science Fiction and Fantasy, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Favorite Ethnic Food: Chinese

How you like to spend your free time when you aren’t speaking at Student ConneXion: Anything music (writing, singing, recording, listening)

Dez Johnston

Alpha Youth Director – Europe, Middle East & North Africa, Alpha

Dez is the Director of Youth for EMENA at Alpha International, where he serves and supports leaders within Europe, Middle East, and North Africa. He is an ordained Baptist Minister who led an incarnational church plant in an area of mass deprivation in Scotland whilst being the Alpha Scotland Youth Coordinator, previous to becoming the Director of Scotland. Keeping him busy at home are his wife Fi, daughter, Amber, Cody, and newest addition, Finn. When he is not cooking for his family, Dez loves music, the PlayStation, hats, and sunglasses! He also has a small addiction to really, really old books and working out new ways of communicating our culture.

Favorite movie genre and favorite movie: Thriller/Jurassic Park

Favorite Ethnic Food: Dim Sum

How you like to spend your free time when you aren’t speaking at Student ConneXion: Vegitating with my family with popcorn and snacks a plenty

Hung Thach

Hung Thach 

Team Leader, Cru

Hung and his family fled from war torn South Vietnam in 1975, came to the United States, and was sponsored by a local Church in Chattanooga, TN. He and his wife Angela have been married for 27 years and have three children, Caleb, Brooke, and Jericho. They have served with Cru for the past 25 years, and Hung currently serves as the Team Leader for Cru’s High School ministry in Los Angeles.

Favorite movie genre and favorite movie: Action/Braveheart/Marvel End Game

Favorite Ethnic Food: Vietnamese

How you like to spend your free time when you aren’t speaking at Student ConneXion:Traveling with family, watching movies, date nights with Angie, and working out

Shelbi Shutt

Shelbi Shutt

Pastor of Teaching and Gather Formation, A Jesus Church

Shelbi is a pastor, speaker, and writer. Over the last 8 years Shelbi has worked as a pastor of youth and spiritual formation, and she currently serves as the pastor of teaching and gather formation at A Jesus Church in Portland, Oregon. Shelbi is also currently working on projects with The Fuller Youth Institute, Alpha Youth, and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. She has the opportunity to share her unfolding story of steadfast hope with thousands of people across the country. In all she does, Shelbi is passionate about seeing people come alive to the power of God’s presence in and through their weaknesses.

Favorite movie genre and favorite movie: I love a good thriller/mystery- The Bourne Trilogy 

Favorite Ethnic Food: Mexican food

Register Soon!

Student Connexion strives to provide a launching point for youth into a lifetime involvement of SERVING JESUS through missions and ministry by connecting them with the mission field of TODAY! Join us on November 10-11, 2023.

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