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Youth Ministry Leadership: Who Do You Trust?

Who do you trust?

Recently I was asked to go on a mission trip to Guatemala with a team of adults. The cool thing about this experience is that its being led by our Senior Pastor, and he views this as an opportunity to disciple 20 or so people for a few months leading up to the trip. He is a strong leader who also has a strong heart, so I was excited to glean any insights I could from him in this process!

We had a meeting a couple of weeks ago and we were discussing a concept in the book “The Tale of Three Kings” by Gene Edwards. It brought us into a discussion about leadership, and how we can lead by faith (and trusting God) like David, or we could lead based on the “crowd”, like Saul, and what direction the crowd going. That REALLY caught my attention! I started to think about my own flaws as a leader who sometimes leads out of insecurities, and what effect that might have on the decisions I make as a Youth Pastor.

Trust Gods Hand

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The Essential Leadership Qualities Of Effective Youth Ministry Veterans

Today we continue our series looking at leadership in youth ministry. If you and I want to be successful in youth ministry and have a lasting impact, there are some key qualities we should be aware of and strive for. Take a look:

Youth Ministry Essential Leader

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A Leadership Lesson From A Youth Ministry Veteran: Part 2

In my previous post I talked about the audacious faith youth ministry veteran Byron Porisch. Last weekend, I was able to share some fun memories about Byron at a celebration his church threw for him. Byron is the guy who gave me my opportunity to move for England to the United States twelve years ago. He’s also battling an aggressive brain cancer and I would love for you to pray for him and his family.

Today, I want to share a key leadership lesson that has made a huge difference to me and the way I lead others in my ministry. Understanding and living out today’s leadership lesson from Byron is a foundational lesson for every leader. Failure to learn this lesson can be devastating…

Secure Leadership

I’ll never forget the question I once gave Byron in my early years of youth ministry. I will never forget the impact of his answer and exactly what it meant.

Me: Byron, how is it that students, volunteers, and parents are so attracted to your leadership? What makes you so magnetic? 

Byron: (Laughing hysterically), Ha! I’m so uncool, it makes me cool… 

Now, you might be reading this and wondering how this statement can be life altering and so impactful? Let me explain what Byron really meant by this statement. What he was actually saying was:

I’m so comfortable with who I am, people are attracted to my confidence in God’s unique identity for me… 

Again, you might wonder how I am able to take Byron’s statement and arrive at the statement above? You see, at the time Byron made this statement, he was in his fifties, had been in ministry for over twenty five years, and was clearly the older guy in the room. While many others were getting out of youth ministry, Byron continued to live and breath youth ministry and pour into younger leaders like me.

When he referred to being “uncool” I knew exactly what he meant. You see, Byron didn’t care about age or titles, he embraced his uniqueness of the day. While the students knew he was the older guy in youth ministry, they also saw his great confidence, great passion, and being completely secure in being the “uncool” older guy.

In our world today, people are drawn to leaders who are confident and comfortable in their unique identity. Yes, we will follow charisma and vision, but they will not follow insecurity for long. So often, because of insecurity, leaders will change who they are, and so often with devastating results:

  • They compromise their ethics. 
  • They try to be a friend to students instead of being a leader
  • They promote themselves above Jesus
  • They constantly play the comparison game and live a life of leadership inferiority
  • They leave a ministry too early because they think they don’t have what it takes
  • Their insecurity eats them alive and they dampen the growth of leaders around them

There are many I could add to this list, but I think you get the point. Again, the bottom line to all this is:

When we lead with confidence and assurance of our unique identity, people will follow us.

What’s your take away from this? How has insecure leadership impacted you? How have insecure leaders impacted you?

Phil <><



photo credit: via

A Leadership Lesson From A Youth Ministry Veteran: Part 1

Last weekend, I was honored to attend and speak at a celebration for a good friend and youth ministry mentor, Byron Porisch. Byron is the guy who gave me my opportunity to come the States twelve years ago; to work and study in youth ministry.

Byron has an agressive form of brain cancer… His church (the same church I interned at with Byron), threw him a incredible celebration that he could enjoy and experience. As I considered what I would share at this celebration, it was not hard for me to focus on Byron’s standout quality as a leader. It’s a quality you and I should strive for, and one that you and I should ask God for.

Youth Ministry Leadership

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How to Deal with Criticism in Youth Ministry: An Interview with Brian Berry [VIDEO POST]

Last week I caught up with friend and youth ministry veteran Brian Berry. Brian is the author of a NEW book called as well as In this video interview with Brian we took some time to talk about his new book as well as some great practical tips in dealing with Criticism.


You can pick up his book at , , or check out

Phil <><



The Most Crucial Youth Ministry Discipleship Question???? Who’s Discipling You?

In the previous two posts we’ve look at youth ministry discipleship. Discipleship is more than filling in the blanks, and it can be messy, unplanned, and takes a lot of relational time. Today, I have a challenge for myself I want pass on to you too… Here’s why:

The way we are discipled will often correlate into how we disciple others… Who’s discipling you?

Discipleship Questions

So my challenge for myself and for you is simply this: In the coming weeks, I am challenging myself to create time and space to seek out Godly people in my life to help disciple me. It does not matter how old or experienced we are, we all need to look up to a ‘Paul’ in our lives who has the time to invest in us. I already have a few great guys who have invested in me, but if I am honest, my life and schedule has taken over recently.

As you look for people to disciple you, what should this look like? Here’s what I am looking for: 

1. They are available and have the TIME: We live in a fast paced world. Some of the most Godly men and women are ineffective because of one foundational deficiency: They are simply too busy. For you and I, I would seek out those people who are good time managers or have more time on their hands. Some of the best people to disciple you are in their retirement years because they have more time and will MAKE time for you. I know it might be awkward asking an older guy or gal to meet with you at first, but you will be blessed if you do so… Who at your church or in your community is strong in their faith and has TIME?

2. They help me dig into God’s Word and prayer: Years ago when I lived in the UK,  I met regularly with a guy called Chris who studied the Bible with me. I will never forget his passion, his knowledge, and the basic bible study skills he gave me. The way I personally study the bible and the way in which I help others study is because of Chris. What are you learning and what are you passing on?

3. They can speak into my family life: When I first arrived at my current church, I sought out a guy who teaches a number of our family and marriage classes. After a few coffees with him, I asked him to look out for me and gave him permission to check in with me about my family. To this day Bob has sought me out to meet for coffee on numerous occasions. We have dinner with him and his wife regularly and they have been a huge support to our family. We are learning from them in so many ways and are incredibly thankful for the Godly wisdom they provide.

4. Ask them to look for areas of weakness: I have always made it a point to seek out Godly leaders around me as a way to grow and glean from them. On the odd occasion, leaders like this will offer to help in some way where they see a need in my life. Years ago, a guy named Dan could see I was struggling as a young leader and offered to meet with me regularly so he could help me become more assertive and confident as a leader. I’ll be honest, at first it stung to hear that he could see I was lacking in a tender area of my life. Yet, after I gathered myself up off the floor from my crying, I agreed to meet with him. Dan was right about what he saw and I needed his advice… Who are are you letting in to speak truth into your life?

Sometimes the hardest thing to do as a leader is ask someone to look for areas of weakness and allow them in to help you…

Remember this key: The way I am being discipled with impact the way I am discipling others. It does not matter how old or wise I think I am, I am always going to need to have a ‘Paul’ in my life to disciple me, as I look to disciple the ‘Timothy’s’ in my life.

In the next 4 weeks I challenge you to seek out one or two Godly people to disciple you. Are you in?

Comment and let me know if you are? Let’s commit to this together!

Phil <><


A Key to Getting Things Done: Do Less!

There’s always more to do in youth ministry isn’t there? Today I was reminded of a principle that I had learned a long time ago…But it was clear today that I had completely forgotten it:

Getting stuff done always takes longer than you think… Therefore, schedule less.

Youth Ministry To Do List

I know that reading the above statement could make you say, “Well duh, that’s obvious!” I am with you. It should be so completely obvious. But, when push comes to shove, if you are anything like me, I love to pack in as much as I can in my ministry day. I am ever the optimist of what I can get done and what can be accomplished by days end. Continue Reading…

Starting Fresh: 4 Keys Starting Right In A New Youth Ministry

I recently started a new full-time youth ministry gig about 6 months ago. For a while I was the shiny new toy at our church, and that was fine! But in reality, it can be difficult to start fresh at a new place, with all of the cultural learnings, expectations from leaders/students/parents, as well as different people pushing their own agenda. But here are some of things I learned in this transition, and maybe it can help you if you’re ever starting fresh somewhere.

Starting Right In Youth Ministry

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Faith Ownership In Students: Part 1 – Active or Passive Learning?

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling… Philippians 2:12 (NIV).

As youth workers (and parents), I believe our drive, our vision, and our implementation of ministry programs should be centered on this important goal:

Students should live like disciples even more so when they are outside our ministry environments.

Youth Ministry Faith Ownership

For our part, are we helping students own their faith or depend on us and our weekly programs? If we are honest, this is a scary question to ask isn’t it? But, as we ponder this question, I want to ask three additional questions in the next few posts. Here’s the first one: Continue Reading…

Finding Support in Youth Ministry: How Much Should I Tell My Spouse?

This week we continue our  series of posts about the importance of finding support in youth ministry. If we want to hang in for the long haul, it’s essential to find the right people and practices to avoid painful pitfalls:

Youth Ministry Spouse

“How Much Should I Tell My Spouse?”

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