How To Honor Graduating Students While Keeping The Big Picture In Focus.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am new this school year to my church and its Youth Ministry. In the past years, Axiom (Student Ministry) has had “Grad Nights” to honor the Seniors, where all Seniors come dressed in caps and gowns, and some of the core leaders go through each student and affirm/challenge them in their future endeavors. Each Senior gets a going away present from the staff, like a Bible or inspiring book. I really like it, I think its great!

But as for this school year, I wanted to take a little bit of a different approach. Not a huge change, just a few small & subtle differences that I think can make this night a huge hit:

cap on books

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Everybody’s Urban: An Interview with Leneita Fix

Last week I got the chance to catch up with friend, youth worker, writer, and contributor to, Leneita Fix. Her new book with Jeffrey Wallace is  - Here’s a quick interview that covers the content and purpose of the book.


You can pick up her book at or at

Phil <><

Great leadership is as simple as a cup of coffee…

Great leadership is as simple as a cup of coffee.  I was reminded of the reality of this statement recently when I went on a java run for my staff.  When I entered the office with four cups of joe I was greeted with joy, excitement and appreciation.  There was a new mood in the room as we talked and drank.  I was actually a bit perplexed at the energy it brought to the team.  As I thought about it, I realized this simple gesture did three things that are necessary for every leader to do.

Youth Ministry Coffee

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Youth Ministry & The Art of Running the Race…

A couple of months ago the ministry I work for decided to use the NJ Long Branch Marathon as a fundraiser.  At first I didn’t think much of it.  I’m not a runner.  As a matter of fact I am an asthmatic who is beyond athletically challenged.  This race was for my husband to complete, look at him,  he is built like a runner.   Then our office needed someone to step up and be part of a two person half-marathon relay.  This would mean an almost 7 mile “race.”  Can we revisit that I AM NOT A RUNNER?  Yes, you’re already there I had to start training.

marathon youth ministry

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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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Youth Ministry Mission Trip FREEBIE: Helping Parents Connect

helping-parents-connectAll programs and trips have short comings in youth ministry and one of them for student mission trips is that parents are not involved. Mission trips are better when parents work hand and hand with youth workers. In Helping Parents Connect, Doug Franklin outlines how parents can be involved in their students’ mission trips before, during, and after the trip. This tool is designed to get you involved from the beginning and to help parents grow with your kids through this experience.

Get hold of this great FREE resource from our friends at LeaderTreks

Time to Rethink Our Youth Ministry Worship Time…

This week we have been discussing worship in our youth ministries. Today, let me share my own recent experience and what I am learning practically and philosophically.

Recently I’ve really been wrestling with this idea of worship, and by that, I’m referring to the music part of worship we have every Wednesday night for 15-20 minutes. In my ministry context, we have a solid band led by 2 adults and compromised of a bunch of students and a couple other adults. They do a great job at scheduling the band, planning the set, and leading students into that time of worship. But there’s some struggles we are facing…

Youth Ministry Worship

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