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Keys To Youth Ministry Longevity: An Interview With A Veteran Youth Worker – Joel Snyder

What does it take to hang in for the long haul of youth ministry? How can someone stay at the same church for a lengthy period of time and see great fruit because of their longevity? What are some of the keys to staying healthy and happy in youth ministry? Today, we hear from youth ministry veteran Joel Snyder, who has been in youth ministry for 25 years at the SAME church!

1) Joel, you just recently celebrated being in youth ministry at the same church for 25 years! How did you do that?  Continue Reading…

Winners of 5 Copies of ‘Everyone’s Called to Youth Ministry’ Announced.

If have not checked out the outstanding new book by Darren Sutton, you really should. Below are the twitter names of 5 lucky winners, who either commented or tweeted, (or did both).










If you don’t see your name there and still want to pick up a copy, you can buy it over at LeaderTreks by

A Good Reason to Cancel Sunday School In Your Youth Ministry?

Is it possible that canceling ’Sunday School’ for your youth ministry once a month can actually help your students develop a stronger faith and connection with your church? Well, apparently this is true. According to a gigantic study by , two of the greatest indicators for a life-long faith after high school include: 1) Being a regular part of church worship services 2) Serving within the church. For many of us who have a Sunday morning student ministry program, we are aware that many of our students only attend our student specific programs, and there is the potential that they will hardly ever serve in church or attend regular services.

This could be a detriment to their faith walk… Continue Reading…

How to Recover from a Bad Day in Youth Ministry

Have you had one of ‘those’ days lately in your youth ministry? You know the one… A bad night at youth group where nothing went to plan… A student who made a horrendous mistake that you didn’t see coming… That parent who chewed you out and didn’t give you any grace… Or maybe your leader has not appreciated all your hard efforts…

No matter how hard we try, we can’t avoid having bad days in ministry… Working with people is messy, and we have to admit it, we are flawed people too… But how can you and I recover from one of those days?

Here are some things I have to be reminded of often: 

1) Tomorrow is a new Day: When you and I have a bad day, there’s often the feeling that we will never recover from our predicament. However, God is not done with us and no matter how much we’ve messed up, or how much someone else has hurt us, God gives us a fresh start each day. Seek the safety and shelter of God and discover His fresh start today!
2) It’s not about us: Sometimes we take tough days way too hard simply because we are hanging on too hard and trying to do everything in our own strength. Some of us, if we are honest, have been fueled by people pleasing in an unhealthy way. When a student rejects us, or parent is upset, or a leader in the church is hard on us, we take it too personally. It’s good to remember that our strength, purpose, and affirmation should come from God, not people. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about God, his plans, and his purposes. When you and I get caught up with people pleasing, we begin to elevate others and ourselves above God… Refocus on Him.

Continue Reading…

Leadership Realities: Your Followers Reflect Who You Are… Who Are They Reflecting?

I don’t think it’s unbiblical to say that followers will reflect their leader. Paul urges the Corinthians to Imitate him and he imitates Christ. It’s natural for followers to begin to take on the personality, habits, theology, and core values of the leader. Just walk into any organization and you can quickly see what the leadership stands for by seeing the employees at work. If you were to walk into a youth ministry, you likely could assess the core DNA of the group and ultimately the leader. But the big question is this:

If you are the example, what are your followers following?

If you are like me, it’s a challenging question to ask since it requires me to be gut wrenchingly honest. It scares me to ask this question since it means I might have to look to make changes in what I say and do on a regular basis. It annoys me to think that what I stand for is not being communicated to the leaders and students I oversee. However, as hard as it is to ask this question, it is this question that can become a doorway to health… Continue Reading…

Using Guest Speakers In Your Youth Ministry

Whether you are the paid guy or girl, or a volunteer running a ministry program, there is tendency to think that all the messages we give students have to depend on us from week to week. However, I have found that we have more impact on students when give them variation of speakers and utilize the people in our church and communities. Here’s an example from my ministry this week that would be easy for any youth ministry to follow: Continue Reading…

Are You Fixer Or Facilitator?

Does your ministry style and your ministry program (and philosophy), really help students to seek God for answers and transformation? Do students rely on you and your ministry SO much that they do not fully learn to depend on God? Is it our goal in ministry to help ‘fix’ students, or is it to facilitate a deepening faith when students navigate through pain or tragedy? Before you stop reading, maybe it’s good to pause and consider how you minister to students when trouble comes their way. If you are like me, I think I am helping them, but am I really?

Last week, Jason Ostrander from Simply Youth Ministry, created some chaos for me as I considered the way I minister to students who are encountering challenges and pain in their lives:

If we are the fixers of students, who are they going to go to after they graduate?

It’s a great question that I believe we must consider as we work with students. Continue Reading…

Too Focused On Numbers?

How do you know if you are too focused on numbers in your youth ministry? Is that even a bad thing? I would says, “yes, and no…” So when are numbers a bad thing and when are they a good thing? Is there a good ‘test’ to tell if we are too fixated with numbers? That’s where we are going today…

Go to a youth ministry gathering and you’ll meet other youth workers who will ask this question over and over as they play the comparison game: “How many students do you have in your ministry?” Or maybe you have met the youth worker who is always talking to others about their numbers and seems to be obsessed with how many show up? Now granted, there are times where the numbers discussions are healthy too. Here’s some of those instances: Continue Reading…

Regaining Lost Credibility In Your Youth Ministry

All leaders will mess up once in a while. Unless you are Jesus you are not going to go through ministry without making some mistakes along the way. If you are new in the trenches of youth ministry, you must accept that there are going to be some failures ahead of you. If you are a veteran, the same is true for you too. (Just don’t keep repeating the same mistakes).

But what can we do after we have messed up? It might seem like a mountain to climb, but credibility can be regained.  by Aubrey Malphurs presents some helpful and practical ways that we can look to regain credibility. Here’s a summary of some of the main ideas:  Continue Reading…

Youth Ministry Leadership: Keys To Gaining Credibility

In my previous post I looked at the realities of trust and credibility for the youth worker. But how can we overcome mistrust and earn credibility as men and women called to serve students? Today’s post will explore this question and give some challenging thoughts to chew on.

In his book, Aubrey Malphurs outlines a number of ways to cultivate credibility in our leadership. Here are a few that seem to be the most essential for youth workers: Continue Reading…

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