Deny Your Father and Mother (Following Your Ministry Calling)

Over recent years, I have been continuing to hear similar things in conversations with mostly younger youth workers, sometimes with the older ones as well. As I am processing their next step in ministry or looking back over a previous ministry position that did not work out, this a continued, related theme. Decisions limited by […]

The Difference Between Program and Ministry

Years ago, I sat in at Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention, listening to Kara Powell, talk about her research connected to the new Sticky Faith book. I remember her on the main stage talking about programs being a tunnel to ministry but not being our ministry.  She warned the crowd to make sure to […]

Middle School Camp Mistakes and Misses

I just returned from taking a group of my middle school (5th-8th grade) students to a “camp” experience, put on by a nationally known and acclaimed organization.   Initially, I was planning on writing a review and some thoughts, when I returned offering up some hints and helps along with what I expected to an […]

Building Next Level Leadership Teams

We all want long-term, invested volunteer leaders in our ministries. We want to build a connected and cohesive team, willing to follow us.  I have people ask me all the time how I get to a point where I actually have a waiting list of folks who are willing to be a part of my volunteer teams. […]

Top 10: “Mama Always Said…” (youth ministry lessons?)

In honor of Mother’s Day, yesterday.  Here is a Special Top 10 List Dedicated to Moms and the Things They Teach Us… EVEN ABOUT YOUTH MINISTRY!?  10. Share Your Toys!- If you have a great idea or great resource share it with other people in youth ministry! 9. Clean Out Your Ears!- Stop talking sometimes […]

This is “A Way” to Lead Your Youth Ministry

We lead people. That is what we do. More often than not, the term “pastor”  in our leadership role in youth ministry is interchangeable with words such as “leader”, “director” or even “coordinator”. In fact, that might be the title that is on your door or card.  We directstudents, volunteers and our paid staff. We […]

Race, Grace, and Place (A Personal Youth Ministry Story)

We sat quietly looking at our Sr. pastor, sitting across from us in our living room.    On the coffee table sat a stack of brand new Bibles and a neat stack of papers with a shortlist written on them.   It was late and he had just arrived at the church’s home that we were living […]

“Middle Years” Life Transitions: Understanding 5th-9th Graders

THE MIDDLE YEARS (5th-9th grade, Ages 10-14) IS A HUGE TIME OF LIFE TRANSITION.  IT MIGHT EVER BE ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TIMES IN A PERSON’S LIFE!   DO YOU KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THAT TRANSITION THAT IS HAPPENING IN THE LIFES OF THESE STUDENTS?   HERE ARE AT LEAST TEN OF THE LIFE TRANSITIONS THAT ARE […]

“Don’t Walk This Tightrope Alone?” (The Nets of Youth Ministry)

Would you ever venture out on a tightrope without a safety net below? If you would, you are a braver person than me! I like my safety nets and for that fact my legs and face intact!    Isn’t that sort of what we do in youth ministry.  We put ourselves on a tight rope, up high in […]