Archive - November, 2012

Unfiltered Magazine: A New Magazine Helping Youth Workers Thrive In What Matters Most

There’s a new online magazine designed to help youth workers thrive with what matters most. Unfiltered is the first-ever magazine designed to help you, the youth worker, thrive in life…outside the church walls. Real stories by real youth workers on topics about… Your heart.

In this first edition, contributor to youthworktalk.com and friend Darren Sutton shares his heart in his article

So often in youth ministry it’s easy to take care of others while neglecting one’s own heart and soul. I have previewed this edition, it is certainly a must read!

To get more information and to subscribe, you can

Phil <><

Youth Ministry Realities: 2 Quick Ways to Tell if you are Focused on People or Programs.

People are more important than programs… But are they really?

You see, if you are like me, there have been too many times when I have allowed programs and details to get in the way of true discipleship and authentic relationships with my students and leaders.

And the bottom line is this: No matter how effective we are at running great programs, eventually students will see through the shallowness and seek out a different place to belong.

So, how do you know if you are too focused on programs instead of people? Here are two quick ‘checks’ I continuously make as I go about youth ministry. Continue Reading…

Leadership: Do You Have A Pyramid In Your Youth Ministry?

Do you have an effective way to invest in other leaders? Are your leaders investing in others too? Having an effective leadership ‘pyramid’ helps to ensure that we are investing in a small group of leaders who in turn, will invest in others.

In the last week I have finished up reading a practical book on small group ministry by Bill Donahue and Russ Robinson called Even though this book is not specifically aimed at youth workers, there is a great deal of practical advice and leadership wisdom that I gleaned from it. On the chapter focused on developing a small group coaching structure, I was reminded of leadership pyramids and the importance of being intentional with our leadership investment. Here are some insights I gleaned.  Continue Reading…

WINNER of Simply Youth Ministry Conference Announced!

Thank you to everyone for the kind wishes on the birth of my son! It was great to see so many tweets, shares, likes, and comments for this giveaway! I just love this conference and I hope that if you did not win, you can still go!!! Go ahead and contact my good friend Matty McCage at (615) 349-7111. Tell him Phil Bell sent you and he will take good care of you!

THE WINNER: Bryan Drum. 

I have done some digging and found that he is a 10 year plus Youth Minister at Midway Christian Church in Winder, GA.

Congrats Bryan! I will be in touch with you soon and give you details of how you can claim your giveaway!

Phil <><

Why And How Should ‘Family’ Be A Central Component To Your Youth Ministry

Thanksgiving is just around the corner for those of us over here in the USA. Even though I am British, I still love this holiday since it brings families together and gives us all a chance to breathe before the run up to Christmas. With family in mind, today I would like to challenge you to consider how the idea of family should be threaded through the DNA of your youth ministry. Let me explain what I mean:

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

There is an abundance of scripture that refers to God as our Father, His people as His children, and the many references to family. It is in the very design of every human being to be a part of God’s family and to be in relationship with Him and our family around us. It is foundational design that every church and organization should be fully aware of as they design environments that help people feel a sense of belonging to a family. Doug Fields once said,  “Until a student is environmentally comfortable, he or she will not be theologically aware.” Or another way of putting this: Continue Reading…

5 Books to Buy for Volunteer Youth Workers This Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner… How are you investing in volunteers this year?

If you are in full-time ministry and want some recommendations of good books to buy your volunteers, look no further. Below is a quick list of 5 books I have read.  They are super practical as well as very insightful. Check them out:

 by Andy Blanks – So insightful and practical! Andy does an incredible job of helping youth workers to teach the Bible in a way that is transformational, relevant, and easy to follow.

by Danette Matty – Danette does a great job in helping volunteers see the big picture as well as the details!

by Josh Griffin and Doug Fields – Super practical wisdom for any volunteer to glean! It’s an easy read!

by Leneita Fix – Yes, Leneita blogs at YouthworkTalk, but her book is phenomenal! Leneita does a great job in helping youth workers understand the different kinds of students in our ministries, and how to effectively minister to them.

Yes, I know, this is Phil’s book! However, 10 others contributed to it and created super practical answers for volunteer youth workers to use and adapt. It’s a brilliant short reference manual to keep handy when those tough questions come up!

What would you add to this list. Give me your top 5!

Phil <><

Simply Youth Ministry Conference Registration Giveaway! Tweet, Comment, or Like to Win!

I am excited to announce that last week my wife gave birth to our first son, (we have two girls). Because I am so excited about the new little guy, I have convinced my friends at Simply Youth Ministry to allow me to give away one registration to in Indianapolis, March 1-4.

You could join the likes of , , , and more than 150 classes to learn from. Check out the 

Three ways to win!

1) COMMENT below on this post.

2) TWEET the following and get entered twice:

I just entered to win a FREE registration for @SYMConference from @PhilBell http://wp.me/ppcai-102 #symc #stumin

3) ‘LIKE’ Us on and mention The Simply Youth Ministry Conference on our wall and your name gets entered a third time!!!

DEADLINE: 9am Thanksgiving Day.

Youth Ministry Resources: FREE Thanksgiving Stuff!!!

The folks over at ym360 are offering some great Thanksgiving resources. They’ve got a Thanksgiving page that features three Thanksgiving lessons and a handful of Thanksgiving games. The best part? It’s all FREE!

If you’re interested in downloading one or all of the Thanksgiving resources from ym360, simply head on over to .

If you have any questions or problems with the download, the ym360 team is standing by to help out.

Youth Ministry Mentoring: Students Need ‘Fans’

I have never been a sports fan.  I wasn’t brought up around sports.  I was horrible at them.  To this day I trip over my own feet.

That was until I got into college.  I went to UMass Amherst, during the years that we had a close to amazing basketball team. I got totally caught up in the games, the fun,   and the midnight madness.  I shouted the names of my favorite players along with everyone else.  We became fanatics.  We bought the shirts, and proudly donned maroon and grey in honor of our school.   Players took the court.  Thousands of us were there to let the team know they were loved and we were all in this together. Continue Reading…

Helping Students Discover Their Potential In Your Youth Ministry

Our small group conversation had taken many paths this day. Honestly, I can’t remember how it ended up here. All of a sudden a very animated Anthony blurts out, “I hate it when adults tell me I have potential.”

“Why?” I inquired. In my own mind that is a great word that helps others understand that we were made for more.

Anthony continued, “Well, first of all I mostly hear the word from teachers or my parents when I am getting lectured. It never really seems positive. Also, I don’t ever feel like I am allowed to just mess up. It’s like everyone just thinks I am this screw up. When I do something right, it’s like that was a mistake.” I wanted to make sure I understood where he was going, “So what I hear you saying is that you feel like people just think you can’t get ever get it right. When you do that is just a deviation from the norm. What you want is people to see that you are really not trying to mess up. It just happens sometimes.” (Yes I used the word deviation. Yes I had to explain what I meant by that.) His eyes went wide, “Exactly! I don’t feel like adults really believe in me when they say that. It’s like they can’t see I’m trying.” Anthony got quieter now as he looked at me pleadingly, “Mrs. Leneita, I am trying. Why can’t people see that?” Continue Reading…

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