When Sports Compete With Youth Ministry – Part 2

In my previous post I talked about the reality of sports (and other extra curricular activities), and how they often collide with our youth minisrtry events and programs. In this post I want to look at practical steps I take to help sports and youth ministry work for me and the families I minister to. Or another way to put it, here is how I I try to create teamwork between youth ministry and sports:  Continue Reading…

When Sports Compete with Youth Ministry – Part 1

Recently, I have spoken to a number of friends in ministry who are frustrated by sports schedules and the negative impact on their ministries. Here’s the kind of scenario I often hear:

“We had a retreat planned, and the week before students dropped out because of a Basketball game”

“Parents asked me to change the start time of my retreat because of a volleyball tournament”

“How can parents expect their students to grow close to God if they never show up to youth group because of sports”

I am sure you have more of your own stories to share (and I have a few of my own). To be honest, in my early years here in the States, (I am from England), I was shocked by the amount of focus that sports take up for the average student. Like many of you, I have been frustrated in the past when it comes to priorities of sports schedules over church activities. However, for me, I am finding the way I view the sports and ministry determines whether I react in competition or if I partner in teamwork.

Viewing the Situation Differently: Continue Reading…

I Quit Ministry

Did I fool you with the title of this post?

I was nearly fooled by a bunch of my volunteer leaders this morning on April fools day. My first email arrived from Trent, and I must admit, he had me for about 20 seconds. Take a look at some of the messages I received this morning:

Phil – so sorry mate – but I must resign from the high school ministry immediately. Andrew (our awesome Middle School Director), told me that he had a spot for me in the middle school and its too great of an opportunity to pass up. Cheers. Trent.

I was going to wait on this, but when I saw that you were going to talk about the spring and summer schedule, I wanted to be fair with you and let you know I am not going to be part of the High school team anymore.

Sorry to let you all know this way, but I have decided to quit High school ministries after our big party in May…

Andrew,  and I sat down in Chicago and he made a compelling argument about middle school ministry. I have been praying about it since then, and I just feel I should go in that direction immediately. I need to step out of high school. Continue Reading…

Youth Questions on Youtube

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is launching a youtube channel specifically for students who have questions about faith and life. He, along with a panel of youth leaders will be answering students questions on a weekly basis. Spread the word with your teens:

Transitioning in Youth Ministry: In Transit – Tim Ciccone

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A few weeks back, I posted a book review about In Transit – A Youth Workers Guide to Navigating a New Beginning, by Tim Ciccone. This week I came across a video interview of Tim explaining the book a little more. If you are considering making a transition, this book is a must read that will help you finish well and begin strong.

You can follow Tim on or check out his website: 




Simple But Effective Training for Volunteers – Part 3: Consistency

Today I want to wrap up with a quick but crucial training tip I give all my volunteers. In my previous post I talked about the importance of using questions effectively to help students gain truth and application in their lives. In addition, I expressed the importance of keeping training for volunteers simple: “Effective training is better when it is simple, memorable, and practical”.

Today’s tip is probably the easiest to remember yet perhaps the most crucial: Consistency is Key. Consistency is the knot that ties everything together. Continue Reading…

Simple But Effective Training For Volunteers – Part 2: Questions!

In my previous post, I expressed the importance of keeping training for volunteers simple: “Effective training is better when it is simple, memorable, and practical”.

Today I want to focus on how leaders can help students learn God’s truth better through using good questions. The simple but effective teaching principle is this: “Don’t just preach it, let good questions help you teach it”

Here’s the background I give my leaders:

They Just Don’t Get It! As leaders, we all want students to “get it” and to apply God’s truth to their lives. Sometimes the answer is so obvious to us, but no matter how hard we try to drum it into their heads, they just don’t seem to get it!  My answer is this, “We can’t make them get it, it’s our job to lead them and help them to get it”. That’s where good questions come in…

Why Questions? Above anything else in the adolescent brain is the desire for autonomy. We can’t expect that they will arrive at good conclusions by simply telling them. Yes, Millenials of today will give time to listen to adults, but they still need to feel like they are a part of the learning process. This is why it is important to ask good questions. By “good” questions, I refer to questions that are asked within a Biblical framework and not simply a students opinion.  Continue Reading…

Simple But Effective Training for Volunteers – Part 1: Time

I love my volunteer youth leaders! They give up their evening and weekends for some of the most craziest stuff in youth ministry. Recently, I was able to spend a weekend at with some of them. The conference was a great opportunity to get feedback and evaluate how they were growing. Ultimately, it was a wonderful opportunity for me to consider how I was helping them to grow into their leadership and effectiveness as youth leaders.

The big takeaway for me was this: Effective training is better when it is simple, memorable, and practical. Volunteers are busy and have many to plates to spin. It’s better to give them small steps or give them small bites to chew on. Over time, I am finding the small steps add up to significant impact!

As we consider the simple, memorable and practical principle, here are some training I will be giving my volunteers about how best to use their time to impact students lives. (This is something a learned a while back from one of books):  Continue Reading…

Family Focused Student Ministry – Part 5: Students

Many of the students in our ministries come from broken homes or difficult situations, (not all, but many). Statistically many of them are living with only one parent and have seen divorce. It’s important that I see the big picture of my ministry as a model to these students who need to see how a dad / husband acts and lives. In the same way, many of my students need to see how a mom / wife acts and lives through the example of my wife. Even if students come from great families, it’s vital that my students get the inside scoop to myself, my wife, my kids, and the way we live… Scary thought?

Here’s what I do: Continue Reading…

Family Focused Student Ministry – Part 4: Parents

Many parents are busy, stretched, and stressed. Everything I do must be intentional about their helping families – not hurting them. The way I schedule, the way I communicate, and the way individually support parents should be a passage to helping them (and ultimately helping their kids). If I can partner with parents effectively, it could be one of the best ministry investments I make!

It’s God’s design that parents disciple their kids, (Deuteronomy 6:7). Unfortunately, many models of youth ministry either take over the role of parents, or do not intentionally partner with parents to support them. Continue Reading…

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