Archive - Leadership RSS Feed

Finding Support In Youth Ministry: Accountability is a MUST…

This week we begin a 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 accountability

“I am a ROCK, I am an island.”

The lyrics to this forgotten song are also the phrase of death when it comes to anyone in youth ministry.  Isolationism is the silent killer of your soul.  We begin with a quiet wound.  It might be from life, or something isn’t going quite right in youth min. It’s feasible that we buy into that “ministry” lie of perfection. Hurt turns to frustration to anger and to despair… Continue Reading…

GUEST POST: How To Lead Others With More Experience Than You

One of the most common issues young/new youth workers seem to struggle with is how they are supposed to lead someone who is older or more experienced than them. It’s a good question.

I had my first youth ministry job at 18 years old fresh out of high school as the Jr. High Director at my church. Many of the volunteers who served on my team had been my youth leaders only months earlier and now I was suddenly in a position of authority over them. They had more youth ministry experience than I had, and all of them were older – some by quite a few years. How could I possibly be their leader?

Trekking above Pheriche. Photo by Didrik Johnck

Continue Reading…


The Youth Cartel decided to set out on an innovative idea.  What if there was a one day training for youth workers that served a number of purposes?


Here’s what they were thinking: 

• It would be cheap. ($25 a ticket.)
• Mostly local youth pastors would teach the workshops (to give them a voice.)
• The day running on a Saturday 9-5 would be filled with 6 shorter workshops (45 minutes) so the attendee could walk away with several pieces of wisdom to apply to your ministry.
• 1/3 of the proceeds of the day would go to a local charity that serves youth in some way.
• Anyone across the country can submit an idea for a workshop.
• No one is paid to come, even for travel or expenses. This aids in voices from the surrounding areas being prominent, while inviting other youth investing agencies (like World Vision, Youth Mission International, Simply Youth Ministry, Reach New England and others) as sponsors to underwrite the expenses. Continue Reading…

3 Essential Steps To Help You Refocus In Your Youth Ministry

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The Sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus” ― Alexander Graham Bell

“Focus!” At times, that’s a tough thing to do in youth ministry isn’t it? The nature of our ministry will often be a moving target with changing issues and challenges. Working with students is anything but predictable. While we cannot change the foundational nature of youth ministry,  there are certain areas that should always stay in focus regardless of the changeable landscape of youth ministry. If you are struggling to stay focused and manage ministry well, you should keep reading…

Youth Ministry Focus

Just this week ‘Dave’ (one of my elders), came into my office and gave me some clear focus that I want to pass onto you today. Here’s what he said: Continue Reading…

Youth Ministry Productivity: Part Three – Horizontal Spaces

I’m not a naturally organized person.  I had to train myself to be administrative – some would say I haven’t done a great job of that!

My office easily overwhelms me – and when it looks like a bomb went off in there, I just try to avoid the fallout.  Seriously – I found myself working in the student center or Starbucks just to avoid looking in my office door!

So I developed a routine so I could live with myself!  It’s my mastery of the horizontal spaces.

Youth Ministry Productivity Part Three

Continue Reading…

Youth Ministry Productivity: Part Two – 3 Keys to Getting Things Done

People often ask me, “John, I am trying to be more productive, but I don’t know what tools will help me.  What do you use?”.  Actually, people rarely ask me that, but if they did, here is what I would share. The first step, before you begin choosing a tool that will help you, is to develop a system to organize everything you have going on, every task, thought, responsibility, engagement, and idea.

Youth Ministry Productivity Part Two

Here is a simple 3 step process process to do get things done:

Continue Reading…

Youth Ministry Productivity: Part One – The Productivity Vacuum

I work in what one would call an “open office.”

Places like “Google,” claim this space filled with no dividers, just desks and those passionate about the same mission is conducive to work. Not so much for me…  Instead it deflects my ability to be productive.  There are a myriad of reasons why.  One is that those of us sharing the space have different perspectives on what “office time” is for.  When I come to said “office,” I am there to get the administrative “stuff” out of the way. My relational time is for when I do not have “tasks” to accomplish. Except I work with others who see “office time” as “connection time.”  That’s right they want to “chat” while I want to figure out my “to do” list.

Youth Ministry Productivity Part One

Fortunately, I figured out how to remedy this atmosphere that is a “productivity vacuum,” for me.   Continue Reading…

Relational Investment – The Difference Maker In Youth Ministry Volunteer Development…

How do you know if your volunteers ‘get it’? How do you know if your meetings and training are effective? What should training look like? With limited time, how can you make the most of volunteers busy schedules?

If I am honest, there is an insecurity in me that tells me I am not doing enough, or that there’s not enough time and resources to effectively train my leaders… Ever feel this way?

Volunteer Youth Ministry copy

Recently, I went back to a previous church for a birthday and was able to see a number of former volunteers who I had invested in over the years. One of my former volunteers sat down with me and shared something that took me a little by surprise… He shared that I had been one of the most influential people in his life… As they say in England, I was ‘gob smacked!’ To be honest, as I tried to think back to my time with him, I could not put my finger on what I had done to make this difference. Instead of over thinking things, I sat back and listened as he shared what made the difference to him. He said something like: Continue Reading…

Creating a Youth Ministry Volunteer Meeting Outline That Works.

In our , we talked about creating a volunteer training schedule that works. As a part of that, I included our regular planning meetings that are scheduled every couple of months. (I don’t believe I need meetings every month with my busy volunteers – Their time is precious, so I meet every couple of months).

Iphone Planner

So, what makes a volunteer meeting effective? What do we need to cover? Well, as I said in the previous post, every ministry is different and there is not one size fits all. However, I can share with you the basic format I follow to ensure we cover the most essential aspects in 90 minutes or less… Continue Reading…

Creating a Youth Ministry Volunteer Training Schedule That Works.

How often should volunteer youth leaders meet? What should be the focus of the meeting? How much is too much when it comes to meeting frequency? How can we build community as a team together?

These are just a few questions I get asked quite regularly by youth workers. My first answer is always, “It depends on the culture of every church. No one size fits all, but there is definitely a good balance that needs to be found when creating and developing a great team of volunteers.

Youth Ministry Calendar

I don’t know what your context is, but here is a basic schedule with the purpose for our meetings throughout the year. This is not THE way, it is just a way that works in my context.  Even if you are a volunteer, you might want to steal a few ideas for your youth pastor / director / minister… Continue Reading…

Page 3 of 15«12345»10...Last »