Tuesday, October 16, 2012

4 reasons to empower young leaders

You need young leaders in your organization and you need to start empowering, listening to, and pushing them forward now and not later. Truth is I'm not a young leader anymore and really I hate to type that! We have some amazing young leaders on our team and I am blown away by how much they bring to the table. Yes they are learning as they lead and yes they make mistakes but they also bring fresh energy and perspective that our church needs. Young leaders...
  1. See what could be // they see potential where we see problems. Because young leaders are not bogged down by what did not work in the past they quickly see opportunity and are willing to take a risk. They just don't have the same baggage many of us have.
  2. Question // they really do want to know why we do what we do. Young leaders push organizations to explain their mission, vision, and strategy. You need to be asked why more often and I do too!
  3. Embrace opportunity // they are ready for a new challenge and they are ready to do significant work. Young leaders thrive when they are asked to do significant things with their life and not go through the motion of constant maintenance.
  4. Give life to the organization // they simply bring joy and a ton of laughter to the team. Young leaders give organizations hope for tomorrow. They give everyone a reason to share, mentor, and invest in more than the demand of our to-do list today.
I'm so thankful for the young leaders serving on our staff. You can find many of them listed here on our staff page. How we empower young leaders today will shape the future of our churches and ministries tomorrow.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Our next adventure at Grace Community...

A few weeks ago we took a Sunday to reveal our next big adventure at our church. At our north campus we challenged our people to continue to move from one service to two. It's so exciting to see our north campus continue to reach north Clarksville and get to see life change week after week. For our south campus we are have reached the point where we feel it's time to build a facility. We have rented a school for the past 5 years and God has allowed us to maximize that space to the point where we simply have to create more seats so we can see more people hear about Jesus. You can watch our lead pastor Chad Rowland cast vision for these next steps here by video but what excites me more than adding services or building facilities are the five things our church is praying for as we move through this journey.
  1. That God would protect us from treating temporary things as if they are eternal
  2. That God would give us generous hearts
  3. That God would not allow space to keep us from reaching people now
  4. That God would one day allow us to share Truth with every single person in our community
  5. That God would enlarge our influence beyond our city walls
Dreaming big and so excited to see what God does next. If you are out there and you follow this blog I would love for you to hop in and join us for one of our services at our online campus. You can check that our at www.gcomlive.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

4 ways to thrive with social media

Most ministries out there are plugged into some form of social media. Most of use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or have some kind of blog but the question you need to ask is are you using it effectively. The answer for most ministry leaders is no. Most churches, kids ministries, and student ministries simply have no strategy for how they use social media. My friend Terrace Crawford just wrote book that I hope you will check out that can really help you develop a social media strategy called #GoingSocial. Terrace helped me figure out how to leverage social media years ago and we have both been leveraging the technology to make a difference for our ministries for years. Finally he put all he has learned in a book to help church leaders navigate the world of social media. Yes it can be confusing but trust me this is a topic you need to process with your ministry team. How are you utilizing social media in your context? Here are 4 quick tips for all of you processing how to get better at leveraging this communication tool for ministry...
  1. Learn from others using social media well >> Find some people you respect using social media well and learn from them.
  2. Be Consistent >> Using social media well only happens when you use it consistently. Make it a part of your routine.
  3. Be Responsive >> Social media is about relationships and that only happens when you are responsive to others. Leave comments, make new friends, communicate with others. Make sure you are having an online conversation.
  4. Be Strategic >> Know your target audience for every social media avenue you use and stay focused.
I hope you will take time to check out the book #GoingSocial this week. You can join the conversation on Facebook here and also on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

7 TRUST BUILDERS for your team

One of the foundational elements of a healthy organization is trust. When your parents, students, volunteers, or other staff members think of you and the ministry area you lead do they believe the best? Do they believe the ministry you lead is one that will be able to rely on? This past week our staff here at Grace Community Church processed the idea of what the trust builders are for our ministry teams. Trust is earned over time and can be eroded in the same way. Here are seven trust builders we landed on for our team...
  • Follow Through > simple...deliver on what you say you are going to do.
  • Consistent Feedback > our volunteers need us to help them know how they are doing as they serve. When we consistently give balanced feedback (good and bad) we enable to them to see we have their best interest in mind.
  • Knowing People Personally > everyone loves to be known and cared for. When we get to know people on a personal level we advance the trust process.
  • See Potential > when we can look into others and see the potential of what God can do through them people begin to trust us. This happens because we see what others can't see in themselves.
  • Be Prepared > everyone is busy, always strive to be prepared when you are responsible for leading.
  • Ownership of Ministry > be willing to own the good and the bad of what is going on with your ministry. No need to cover things up, just be real and keep improving.
  • Clear Communication > this is the last on the list but it might be the most important. Communicating consistently and clearly helps people to know the direction of the organization. Clear communication can build trust because people have or can find the right information! People will never embrace the mission of vision of your ministry if they don't have clear communication from the leadership.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Onward: leadership lessons from Starbucks

It's not very often that you get an inside look into a company during their darkest days but that is exactly the journey that the book Onward takes us on. This book tells the story of how Starbucks worked through the banking and housing crisis from 2008-2010. I know that does not sound like a fun read but it is really a powerful story of resilience. The true mark of an organization is how they respond to struggle. This is an inside look of how a founder of an organization came back to help lead that organization through crisis. The book is packed with leadership lessons for all of us in ministry but here are my favorite notes from the book.

  • No business can do well for its shareholders without first doing well by all the people its business touches.
  • When we love something, emotion often drives our actions. This is the gift and the challenge entrepreneurs face every day. The companies we dream of and build from scratch are part of us and intensely personal. 
  • That, as I've said, is what merchants do. We take something ordinary and infuse it with emotion and meaning, and then we tell its story over and over and over again, often without saying a word. 
  • Work should be personal. For all of us. Not just for the artist and the entrepreneur. Work should have meaning for the accountant, the construction worker, the technologist, the manager, and the clerk. 
  • Creating an engaging, respectful, trusting workplace culture is not the result of any one thing. It's a combination of intent, process, and heart, a trio that must constantly be fine-tuned. 
  • Companies pay a price when their leaders ignore things that may be fracturing their foundation. Starbucks was no different. 
  • Starbucks is in the business of exceeding expectations. That means we have to admit it when we are not as good as we think we should be. 
  • This is why, I think, so many companies fail. Not because of challenges in the marketplace, but because of challenges on the inside. 
  • Without confidence, people could not perform 
  • What elements about Starbucks, we asked ourselves, are ritual and what elements are merely habits? 
  • We forgot that “ones” add up. 
  • The world belongs to the few people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
  • I've always believed that innovation is about rethinking the nature of relationships, not just rethinking products, 
  • Growth had been a carcinogen. 
  • Success is not sustainable if it's defined by how big you become. 
  • Pursuing short-term rewards is always shortsighted. 
  • Exploring an imperfect idea can often lead to a better one 
  • At its core, I believe leadership is about instilling confidence in others,

Thursday, October 4, 2012

7 ways to motivate your team

Maintaining momentum and motivating our volunteers is a constant battle that every leader has to give attention. This week we hit fall break here in our community and it is a good reminder to look around an evaluate how we are doing in motivating our team . Last year I had the chance to hear Kendra Flemming talk about how she motivates her volunteers at North Point Community Church and I wanted to share these today on the blog. Kendra is a next level leader and you can follow her blog here. Check out this list of 7 principles that attract volunteers to our ministry and can keep our teams motivated.

We are initially attracted to things that are visually appealing //  Some volunteer connections are bound in relationship but many times we are drawn in simply the look and feel of an environment. Branding, clear communication, and environment matter.

We are naturally attracted to excellence // No one wants to feed time, energy, and talent into something that is mediocre. Be committed to progressive excellence.

We are increasingly attracted to things that are celebrated // What we celebrate becomes attractive to our volunteer teams. Celebrate what matters most.

We are relationally connected to dynamic communities // Excellent leaders attract other great leaders. Dynamic attracts dynamic.

We are selfishly attracted to things that are personally beneficial //  leaders stay when they are serving and growing at the same time. Make sure your volunteers are growing and being rewarded!

We are attracted to fun! // Environments that are fun, where we laugh, attract people! We have to create margin for fun.

We are ultimately attracted to leaders and organizations with integrity. //  Know what we value and live what we value

These attraction factors help to motivate our volunteers. The end goal is to empower volunteers for the long haul. Motivated volunteers are going to thrive and serve longer. What are you doing to motivate your team? In this list of 7 is there one that stands out?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Do you really believe in what you are doing?

I have a good friend who NEVER believes the best about his sports teams. Ask him how things are going and he will tell you that his teams are not doing well. It could be the line, the quarterbacks, the defensive backs, or coaching that leads to his doubt. I finally asked him why and he told me that when he did not allow himself to believe in the team it was easier for him to process the outcome. He is probably right because I choose to believe the best about my teams and it sure does hurt when things go bad!

The perspective of my friend might help with our sports teams but rarely will it help with any organization, department, or team you lead. If others are going to follow you they need to know you really do believe in what you are doing. If you don't believe in what you are doing why would anyone else. Belief helps people...

  • Move Forward >> when leaderships displays belief in the mission then people are more likely to take a step of faith. Over and over in the Bible God used men and women to call people to action. Those leaders had nothing but belief in their God to lean on and the people responded.
  • Never Quit >> when I see a leader believe and lead strong even in hard times I am encouraged to not give up and to keep pushing.
  • Trust the Leadership >> when people see you believe then they can trust that you will make the best decision for the organization. Belief drives us to vision and away from selfishness.
If you see people around you not moving forward, quitting, and not trusting leadership maybe it's time to step back and see if you still really believe. When have you seen the power of belief make a difference in your organization or ministry?

Monday, October 1, 2012

5 reasons we partner with Compassion International

This Sunday we announced that Grace Community Church was officially partnering with Compassion International to do ministry in Guatemala and specifically in Guatemala City. Sunday was a day I will never forget as I watched people hear the story of Compassion and respond by sponsoring kid after kid. Here are a few big reasons why we are now working with compassion to reach Guatemla for Jesus...
  1. Changing the life of one child can change the destiny of a family // when you help a child break free from poverty you impact an entire family and open their family to be engaged by a local church and have hope!
  2. When we partner with Compassion we are partnering with the local church // when we send mission teams into any country we want to support the work of the local church. Compassion only works through the local church and works to connect us with local churches.
  3. We want our families to be able to meet their sponsor kids when on mission trips // that simple, connection is a powerful thing!
  4. We want our mission trips to be focused on spreading the message of Jesus // Compassion is not just about freeing people from poverty it's also passionate about seeing people discover Jesus.
  5. Compassion helps us give our families a way to do mission work together // every family can work together to sponsor a child and change a life. I have seen it work in my home for five years as my kids have loved on our sponsor child in Kenya.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Connect teens to your church

Many people spend tons of time looking at the statistics of how teens respond to the church when they graduate and head to college. The statistics can be discouraging and we are all trying to find ways to help teens discover faith in Jesus that endures beyond high school. Here is one idea that we all need to begin to embrace. If we want teens to be a part of the church after high school then we better connect them to the church during high school. If teens are a part of the church and not just a youth ministry during high school then they will look to connect with the church in college. Here are a few ways we are trying to make this happen week after week in our context...

Empower teens to serve now // we make every effort to give away important leadership roles to teens. Serving connects teenagers to other adult mentors and the heartbeat of the church.

Mission trips and serve events connected with the church // anytime a teen goes on a foreign mission trip they go with other leaders from the church. Our student ministry also joins our church in serving our city through several events we do every year uniting the church and our youth ministry.

Plan your worship gathering with the teen in mind // we try to always keep in mind with our service plans, series, worship sets, and stage look that teens will be worshiping with us. Allow teens to have a voice in your planning. This also allows teens and parents to worship together. We believe that makes a difference.

When we serve with teens, worship with teens, and encourage teens to be on mission with the church then we begin to place healthy adult relationships around them. Connecting teens to the church is not just about a healthy youth ministry it also demands a vibrant church who will make an effort. Teens know when they are wanted. Lets start making the connection.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

controlling meeting madness

Meetings...we need them but so many of us seem to be drowning with them at the same time. They control our schedule to the point we have little time to get the work done we just met about with some leader, board, committee, or group. We are a church that is seven years old and over the almost six years I have been here we have gone through different levels of meeting madness. I feel like just this semester we have found a flow that is working for our family ministry team and our staff as a whole. The best way to control meeting madness is to have an effective plan. The point of meetings is to accomplish work as a team so we want to make sure they are effective not out of control. Here is our meeting strategy for our staff right now at Grace Community. Thought you might want to see our flow and I hope it helps...
  1. all staff meeting [once a month] > our entire team gathers once a month for an all hands on deck staff meeting. Here we get to celebrate wins, cast vision, and focus on the big rocks that need everyone to give attention and effort.
  2. family ministry team meeting [once a month] > our entire family team gathers for lunch, training, and encouragement once a month. This helps to make sure we are all fighting together to create engaging environments for the next generation and also partner with parents. We are better when we are connected together.
  3. department meetings [twice a month] > on our off weeks departments (youth, kids, college, campus, worship, etc.) gather to make sure we are getting our work accomplished in our areas. This ensures we have enough time in between meetings to bring back progress after a meeting. 
  4. staff development days [three times a year] > we make sure and block off three days each year where we get away and connect away from the office for a day and just get work done together. These are days to talk vision, long range planning, and team building. We just want to make our church better on these days.
How have you learned to manage meeting madness in your organization?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

the power of a series

In every environment the use of series or themes is a powerful way to communicate big ideas and connect the dots with your teaching. I really feel like the use of the series is a needed asset for every next generation leader when teaching. The other option is to do a regimen of one night talks that struggled to help teens and kids connect where you are going as you teach. It really does not matter if you subscribe to an exegetical or topic approach to teaching, the right series title and graphics help communicate your end goal for the series. Here are 4 reasons why the use of series is important...
  1. Grabbing Attention / the use of series help capture the attention of your crowd because you are communicating a big idea with the series theme.
  2. Promoting Something New / people love things that are new and the use of series help you always have something new to pump every 3 to 6 weeks. (we try to not go longer than 4 weeks)
  3. Planing Better Talks / when we use a series we learn to spread out our content. Using a plan for your talks allows you to break what you teach down into segments and not be tempted to teaching everything at one setting. Less is more.
  4. Guiding Creativity / creativity thrives when there is a framework to work from. Boundaries actually help us see true creative potential. When you use a series your whole team has a guide to work with.
Would love to know if you use series in your next generation environments?

Monday, September 24, 2012

3 tips when immersed in a culture of controversy

If you follow the NFL at all you know that all off season the New Orleans Saints have been immersed in a controversy called "bounty gate" that led to the suspension of coaches and players. The result of all that controversy has led to three straight losses by a very talented team. Controversy can wreck any team in any organization.

For several years I served a church that had an extreme culture of controversy. Seriously, there always seemed to be a new controversy and someone was always being blamed for the situation. At every level of the church controversy seemed to always be right around the corner...another situation...a new problem...another big deal...another fight. Many of you leading in churches know exactly what I am talking about. Here are three rips when trying to lead in a culture of controversy.
  1. FOCUS // never allow other people to draw you away from your mission and into their controversy. Churches addicted to constant controversy have long abandoned their mission to make disciples and instead turned inward. If you are going to lead this kind of culture you will have to constantly help everyone focus on what matters most.
  2. CHANGE THE TARGET // if a culture is going to move away from the addiction of constant controversy then you will have to change the target. You have to define what the real win for the organization is. Trust me you can do this even if you only run your department in a church. Help your ministry move toward a healthy target. Changing the target is the heart of true leadership in any organization.
  3. LEAD COURAGEOUSLY // it will take courage to avoid the trap of fueling controversy and not move along with the crowd. You may have to stand alone and a healthy influence in a culture of dysfunction. Trust me, it's worth it and your organization needs you to be a solution instead of ignoring the problem.

Friday, September 21, 2012

5 favorite conferences for next generation leaders

I believe every next generation leader needs to get away at least once a year and hit a conference. At a conference you get to network, refuel, question, learn, worship, and reflect. It's worth the time and the resources. If you are thinking about hitting a conference this year here are my 5 favorite for next generation leaders.
  1. The Orange Conference / seriously there is no other conference out there where your entire next gen team can connect and grow together.
  2. Catalyst / really does not matter East, West, or one day versions. This is a conference every leader needs to hit.
  3. National Youth Worker Convention / every year the team at Youth Specialties does a great job of helping student pastors refuel and gain a bigger perspective in ministry.
  4. Kidmin Conference / our team has not found a better conference that focuses on reaching kids for Jesus. Amazing experience.
  5. Drive / this is a conference that North Point Community Church hosts to allow people a glimpse into their culture. Best conference I have been to hosted by a church.
What are your favorite conferences?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

community of innovation

Innovation doesn't happen in a vacuum because it always impacts other people. I know we all think that innovation happens when we hole up in isolation and come up with the next great idea. Sometimes innovation happens that way. Great ideas also happen in the midst of community when we see what others are doing, learning, teaching, and thinking. Other people help us see new possibilities and many times take our original idea to entirely different level. We all need a place where we know we will be pushed to think strategically, dream bigger, and take risks.

For me one of those places has been the Orange Conference because it's there every year I get to link arms with a larger Orange family and be encouraged to embrace innovation. During those few days we all embrace the idea that innovation is possible at every level of our ministry. We are pushed to go further, faster because we are surrounded by other people headed in the same direction we are. My staff, volunteers, and my Orange friends spread out across the country have become my community of innovation. We are pushing each other to take the risk innovation brings. That is my community of innovation...do you have one?

You can join our community or innovation! Registration opens for OC13 next Thursday, September 27. For more information, please visit www.TheOrangeConference.com.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Freeing" Your Volunteer Team

One of the best parts about the Orange Conference is getting to meet other leaders from across the country who are constantly thinking  about and leading next generation ministry. One guy I have been blessed to be able to learn from is a guy many of us call Shef. Check out this these ideas from Shef about how to change your volunteer culture...

"Freeing your volunteers." That statement can mean a million things and it really sounds good when you say it. This afternoon Tom Shefchunas helped us wrap our minds around creating ministries full of volunteers who are pumped to be there, using their talents, and seeing progress. Many of our ministries simply just have volunteers serving out of obligation. Freeing volunteers means we are actively create a culture where leaders thrive. Freeing your volunteer team is not about changing people it is about changing the culture. Here are some steps to creating that kind of culture...

Resolve yourself that this will take time. >> You don’t see a culture change your realize it has changed, change takes time. Changing a culture takes intentional long term attention and focus!

Get great people in the room. >> organizations have to get the right people on the team, the right people off the team, and the right people in the right seats. Nothing defines your team like the people on your team. A healthy culture can push people to be more! Look for people with time (willing to give their time), mature faith, and character.

Decide this is not your ministry >> Leadership is a stewardship and I am just leading once small part of it. We often build our ministry around our personality with no other foundation of a volunteer team. Not a good idea. Will my ministry outlast my time leading it? We have to empower team to the point when we leave it moves forward with strength!

Simplify your strategy and define the volunteer’s job and role. >> If you want your leaders to feel like they are important give them something important to do.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Making Exponential Change

When I go to conferences I am the guy who loves to hit every session and every breakout. I know I am sick but you never know what God has for you. This past year at the Orange Conference I had the chance to hear one of my favorite leaders, Carey Nieuwhof,  process the idea of leading our organizations through exponential change. Here are my notes from that session...

Leading change is one of the hardest things any leader has to do. Most next generation leaders love change. We love change because we know it will help the ministry grow. The people you lead are not always as excited about change because you are changing their routine. Our team at Grace Community Church understand this process because we are a little addicted to change. We also have experienced the pain of change when the people resisted the process. Today at The Orange Conference Carey Nieuwhof talked us through the process of making exponential change in our church culture. Check out these 5 steps to take and look for his ebook on this process summer of 2012.

1. Start by casting a vision bigger than yourself (your organization)
Outward vision attracts people.
A bigger vision implies bigger change.
Plot and share trajectory. Reveal where we are doing and what happens if there is no change.

2. Focus on the why behind the what.
Why is the best question a leader can answer.
Why unites.
How and what divides.

3. Set realistic expectation for everyone
Understand but don't be deterred by the cost.
People will leave.
Change before decline. Courageous leaders ask questions in their best days.
Changing what's working can create greater long term success.
Asking questions early leads to a season of conflict.
Conflict is not fun but you will have to make change before others see the need.
The greatest threat to your future success is your current success.

4. Communicate in concentric circles.
Make sure the people most invested have the most information.
Dialog with the core. / Don't make changes in isolation.
Get input from the committed. / Many times people don't want to make decisions they just want input.
Get information to the congregation.
Vision to the crowd.
Invitation to the community.

5. Be prepared to change again. You are never done.
Don't rest on your success. Don't trust in your success more than the need to change.
Stay committed to the vision but not necessarily to the methods.
Hold your model loosely and your mission tightly.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why not unite?

What would happen if student pastors, kids pastors, college pastors, and all our volunteers united behind one unifying idea? What if we all worked together to reach the next generation for Christ and partner with parents? Truth is that this is happening all over the country as segregated ministries inside the church begin to work together instead of fighting against each other. Great things happen when we unite. There is one place every year I go to gather with next gen leaders so I can process what family ministry can be and that place is the Orange Conference. In seven months thousands of leaders will unite for several days and you join the movment by registering your team next week when registration opens. This week we have an Orange Blogger's week and several of my good friends are going to be sharing some thoughts about the process of thinking and leading Orange. Check these blogs out this week and follow along with the discussion!

Participating bloggers include:
Amy Fenton Lee, The Inclusive Church
Benjamin Kerns, Average Youth Ministry
Ben Read, Youth Min
Cass Brannon
Henry Zonio, Youth Min and Culture
Jared Massey, Small Town Kid Min
Jenny Funderburke
Jeremy Lee, Uthmin
Matt McKee
Matt Norman, It’s Pastor Matt
Michael Bayne
Nick Blevins
Sam Luce
Tom Pounder, Ministry Blackboard

Registration opens for OC13 next Thursday, September 27. For more information, please visit www.TheOrangeConference.com.

Friday, September 14, 2012

a new rap...just for parents!

Not much to say other than thanks to all the moms and dads out there investing in your family. This one is for you. Check this out...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

5 ministry traps that destroy pastors

It's sad but we all know pastors and ministry leaders who fell into disastrous traps that destroyed their chance to lead their ministry. The truth is we are no different than any of our friends who fell and many of us are living life way too close to many of the same traps. Being aware of common traps can help us avoid major trouble. Here are a few traps to watch out for constantly...
  • out of control finances > nothing causes trouble like money. Financial trouble just leads to stress at home and that leads to stress at the office. Lack of discipline just pushes pastors to the the edge with an already stressful job.
  • isolation > when you try to lead alone you tend to make poor choices and push away needed healthy relationships. Leading in a vacuum only leads to bad decisions.
  • unhealthy relationships > we always have to guard against unhealthy emotional and physical relationships with the opposite sex.
  • unsustainable pace > an out of control work pace leads us to trust ourselves more that we trust God. When we trust ourselves we are simply open to tragic mistakes.
  • ministry amnesia > so many times we forget why we really do this and focus on numbers, buildings, and long range plans. Forgetting who called us and why we do this can lead us to nothing but selfish motivation.
Would love to know how you work to avoid these common traps? Praying that you and I will not be another leader who gets stuck. Fight to stay free and focused on Jesus!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

feuds, fights and the church you work at

We have heard of family feuds and recently many of watched the Hatfield and McCoy series the History Chanel produced. Feuds are messy and people always get hurt. The sad truth is that in many of our churches we have ministry feuds where people take sides and fight to win at all cost. One ministry area lines up against another and fight to protect their turn. Ministry feuds are fueled in two ways...
  • BLAME // we want our way and when another ministry area gets in the way we blame them for our lack of progress. If "THEY" would just get out of our way then our ministry would be thriving. It even makes us feel good when we have someone to blame even if they work in the office down the hall.
  • GRUDGES // we hold past struggles and problems over the other ministry forever. We never let anyone forget how the other ministry held us back. We our past memories of hurt as we negotiate to get what we want.
If you are in a feud I really don't care how your ministry feud started. There is simply no place for it in ministry and there is no way Jesus could or would ever endorse such an all too common behavior on church staffs. Feuds can only be stopped by brave leaders who will embrace humility and communicate. Embrace humility admitting you do not have all the answers and you are willing to fight for a healthy staff culture. Communicate by sitting down and working out a strategy that helps every ministry thrive in your church setting.

We have one mission and we are on one team. Let's start leading like it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

4 ways to be a better speaker for teens

Speaking in any environment is challenging. Speaking to a room packed with wild middle school students is a entirely different experience. Every week all of us who lead teens face the same challenge of connecting with a generation that demands effective communication if they are going to pay attention. Seriously, teens tune out poor communicators and it does not matter if you are leading a game, making announcements, or giving the message for the night. Teens demand effective communication so it's on us to get better at this speaking thing. Here are 4 ideas we stress with all our communicators in our student ministry...
  1. Set a time limit // seriously, 20-25 minutes is enough in your weekly environment. If you can't communicate your message with effectiveness in 20 minutes to teens they probably will not be able to retain it. Sure you will have weeks when you go over with a closing illustration but seriously set your timer because less is more when speaking to teens.
  2. Teach one BIG IDEA // we call this teaching toward a bottom line. Teach every message so teens can walk away with one big idea for the night. Teaching one big idea forces you to focus your talk and limit what you say. Focus leads to better communication.
  3. Be real // seriously teens just need you to be you. Nothing turns teens off like someone trying to be something they are not. Just be real, be you, be transparent. They need to hear from you not Andy Stanley or Louis Giglio. Nothing wrong with mentors but God wants to use you to be an effective speaker.
  4. Teach truth // I should not have to say this but never shy away from teaching the Bible to teens. They need to hear you teach the Bible in way they can grasp not 4 tips to be happy or have a better attitude in life. Teens need truth...have the courage to teach the Scripture with passion. If you have 20 minutes you better make it full of truth!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

reactivating the family in student ministry

Had the chance to do my first Google Hangout with Jeremy Zach and Andy Broad this morning to talk about the process of reactivating the family within the context of student ministry. At some pint we have to step back as student pastors and understand that our mission has to include partnering with the family...being for them...letting our guard down and inviting them to work with us. In this hangout we talk about some practical ways we are trying to reactivate the family in the student ministries we lead. Jeremy is on the XP3 team at Orange and Andy is the student pastor at Eastern Hills Church in Buffalo, NY. The hangout is around 15 minutes and I would love to hear some ways you are working to partner with families in your student ministry...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A MUST HAVE worship album for your youth ministry

A few months ago I was talking with a friend who serves on the North Point student ministry team and he told me about an album they were making for their student ministry. We got to hear some of the stuff live at the Orange Conference and now the new album from the InsideOut team at NP is available on iTunes and Amazon for you to grab.

There are 5 songs on this album that we are planning on adding to our song rotation for our student ministry. Each track is a great example of where song writing is headed when we want to connect with this generation of teenagers. Teens need and want sound doctrine and simultaneously embrace creativity. This album will push the teens you lead to embrace Jesus as their ultimate prize in life and your band will love leading these songs. Take some time and go buy the album here! Right now you can only buy the CD but I promise you want to get this quickly and start prepping your team to lead these songs!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

5 Ways to Set Your Volunteers up to Thrive

Volunteers...chances are the ministry you lead is filled with them and you need to know that a healthy volunteer team leads to a thriving ministry. Your volunteers need to be set up to make the biggest impact possible. You may not know it, but you play a huge role in that process. Instead of complaining about what your volunteer team is not doing make sure and process how you are setting them up to thrive while serving. Here are a few ways to set your volunteers to do big things in the ministry you lead...
  • Communicate consistently >> Make sure you are giving your team the info they need at the right times in the week. The right information can free a volunteer to lead with confidence.
  • Celebrate what matters most >> What is celebrated will be repeated. Make sure you and recognizing behavior that you want repeated and integrated into your culture.
  • Give your team the needed tools to succeed >> Fight to give them what they need to accomplish their mission.
  • Do what you say you are going to do >> Building trust means that you follow through with the promises you have made. Work hard at delivering on your commitments.
  • Give away significant opportunities >> Make sure your volunteers are actually able to do challenging and rewarding ministry. You want leaders not chaperones!
Healthy volunteers can make a huge difference in the ministry you lead. How are you trying to set your volunteers up to thrive?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

You need your own small group!

Yea, I am serious. You need your own small group and it does not need to be filled with kids, teens or college students. If you serve in any family ministry area you can never allow your passion to connect with the next generation to keep from from needed relationships with other adults. You need community and connection just as much as the teens or kids in the ministry you lead need it. Here area a few reasons you need your own small group...
  • You need real friendship not connected with the ministry you lead. // yep, you need adult relationships that have no connection on the ministry you lead. Having these relationships will help you have a bigger perspective and in end simply make you a better person!
  • You need to set the example. // you are asking people in your ministry to connect in small group so you need to set the example in your life and have that same community in your life. You are setting he example for your ministry but also for your own kids if you are a parent!
  • You need others who will help you grow spiritually. // living life, studying the Bible, processing big ideas, having fun, and processing pain IN COMMUNITY leads to growth. Growth in isolation leads to a false sense of progress that is only knowledge based. Community frames what we learn so we can apply it in real life.
I know for me I struggled with the idea of being in a small group since I was "doing" so much in ministry. Being in an adult small group was one of the best moves I ever made in ministry.

Have you struggled to find community outside your ministry?  If you are in a small group how has it made a difference in your life?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

4 reasons to join a coaching network

Coaching is a big deal these days. It seems that everywhere we turn there is a leader offering a coaching network. I know many of you out there might be skeptical of why you even need coaching but I promise that this new wave of mentoring is a good thing. Finally leaders across our country are blocking off time and offering one on one mentoring to help other leaders go further faster. I feel like it's a good trend and here are 4 reasons you might want to join a network...
  1. You are in a season of change >> in times of constant change or struggle coaching networks can help you stay sane. There is nothing like having a group of leaders around you during times of change who can have your back.
  2. You are in a new ministry role >> when you are starting a new position coaching networks can help you get a better foothold on leadership needs in your new setting. New brings opportunity to reboot!
  3. You need a new perspective >> many times when you are facing challenges during a season of ministry it is good to have an outside perspective to help you navigate key decisions. A coaching network can give you a group to help you gain that fresh perspective.
  4. You are looking for some fresh training >> many times leaders have been to several conferences and they just want to mix it up with their ongoing learning. Plugging into a coaching network is a great way to learn tons from other leaders right where you are at. 
Maybe it's time to check out a coaching network. If you are a student ministry leader my friend Terrace Crawford is putting together his next coaching group. Terrace is a leader who gives his group a ton of personal investment and connects them to other high impact ministry leaders. Check out what he is doing this year on his blog.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why Holiness Matters

Holiness...not a word we enjoy to throw around very much. We say it and we immediately know it is something we are not. We see it as an unreachable idea since it's a word we use to describe God. We avoid it because we believe we can never match up to the power of the idea. We don't teach on it because it has been abused and turned into to a list of do's and don'ts. If we follow certain rules we will then be holy. The problem is that how can a list of behaviors lead to holiness when it is a word we use to describe the very heart of who God is. God is holy, without blemish, without fault. Seems impossible but still in the Bible we are called to strive for holiness. Yes it's in the Bible...God is calling us to holiness. That should be enough for our generation but we still make so little of sin and seem to embrace it as the new normal. We allow grace to cloud the needed tension in our call to be holy. I am working through a book from a young leaders named Tyler Braun called Why Holiness Matters. This is a needed examination of holiness from a next generation leader trying to navigate our current cultural context. I am in the middle of processing the book but I wanted to share some of the early highlights that stand out to me and encourage you to check out the book. We need young leaders to help frame doctrine in a way that people can embrace and live out today. This book is simply a call to not run from holiness but to confront it and strive toward it in the middle of our evident imperfection. This week I am going to give away a copy of the book. Just leave a comment with your name, email, and name of the church you serve at and I will draw a name at the end of the week and mail you a free copy. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from my time processing the book...
  • We've gone from a holy, set-apart people of God to a people with shared beliefs who live no differently than the culture around us.
  • Holiness is new affections, new desires, and new motives that then lead to new behaviors.
  • God is calling us to a better way. Will we reflect the world around us or the God inside us?
  • In a Christian culture that does not value innocence, it is no wonder our generation is often indistinguishable from the culture around it.
  • His (God's) holiness is incredibly intimidating to us, especially because we have been taught holiness is found in perfect living.
  • The consequences for sin are not merely found in God's wrath, but in the ruined relationships all around us.
  • As it burrows its way further into our minds, shame leads to indifference, intolerance, lack of vulnerability, and lack of intimacy with others.
  • In our desire to be noticed we often end up forfeiting the ability to live a humble life. Our eyes seem forever fixed on ourselves.
  • Holy life is found by engaging in relationship with God, who pushes us into vulnerable relationships with others.
I hope you will pick up this book and process it for no other reason but to take another glimpse at the idea of holiness. I believe God could use this book to help our generation reframe holiness and embrace a different way to live it out. Check the book out and make sure and leave a comment this week (August 27, 2012) to have a shot to win a free copy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

4 ways to be effective with multi-site family ministry

More and more family ministry leaders are having to figure out how to facilitate ministry on multiple locations as more and more of the churches we serve are embracing a multi-site strategy. We launched our second campus over a year ago now and it has been a learning process week after week. After a year I strongly believe that this will not be our last campus addition because it has allowed us to engage a local community instead of asking the communities in our city to come to one location. The fact that it's working is pushing our family ministry team to find ways be be effective at both our locations. Growth has pushed us to figure this out and figure it out fast. It has been messy at times but we have committed to being flexible and having fun as we learn how to make this work on multiple locations. Here are 4 ideas that have helped us be more effective as we have lived in the multi-site model the past 1 1/2 years. Check these out and feel free to jump in a let me know some lessons you have learned...
  1. Duplicate the environment and constantly cast vision // Give your new campus the best tools possible and duplicate the environments. Make sure that when a parent walks into any campus they see they same branding and quality. Set your new campus up with the tools you wish you had when you launched your first location. You have a strategy so make sure and put it into motion at every campus. You also have a new leaders that will need to hear the vision repeated over and over. Why is just as important as what on your new campus.
  2. Invest in the volunteer base and help solve problems // Launching a new campus demands high impact volunteers. You will need to make sure and invest in those leaders. New locations also bring new problems. Let your volunteers know you care about their success by helping solve their problems. Helping solve problems communicates we care and for a new campus that is so important.
  3. Be present and add staff ASAP // Your family ministry staff has to be present on the campus in order to build relationships but you also have to work to find your point leader for that campus quickly. If your campus grows you need to add family ministry staff as soon as you can. Adding a staff member who can focus will help the campus become more effective on a week to week basis. All our family ministry staff spends time on both sites. Bring present helps us put everything into the proper context.
  4. Embrace uniqueness and innovate // A new campus will form a new culture and you need to be ready to embrace the uniqueness. A new campus also gives you a chance to innovate in a smaller setting and try some new things out. Allow your new campus to dream and think outside the box. Go ahead, try something new on your second or third campus.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

minor changes can make a big difference

I know this picture does not make much sense to you but for our team at Relevant Student Ministry they know it is an aerial view of our Wednesday night venue we rent and a new traffic plan for middle school parent pick up. This is just one minor change that is going to make a big difference for our ministry this year. It will keep teens safe and maximize the limited space we have. Last night was our first night to try it and besides a little frustration from parents having to face a new system it changed the dynamic of pick up process. What I am learning this semester is that as you grow it is mostly overlooked systems like parking, small group space allocation, and people flow that will help your ministry grow. I know we all love new banners, t-shirts, projectors, or lights but at some point as you grow effective systems are the key to maintaining momentum. The best thing any student pastor can do as they grow is to allow gifted administrators to lead the process of system innovation. Listen to those leaders. Allow them to dream and create effective systems. Give them freedom to try new things out. When you let these leaders help you then you will find you have more time to cast vision, connect with teens, and focus on doing only what you can do as the leader. Want to keep growing? Just reminding you that you might want to do a systems check and make some minor changes for major impact!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

5 ways to set young leaders up for success

I am a huge football fan and love my Tennessee Titans and Volunteers. This week we found out that the Titans are naming their young second year quarterback Jake Locker as their starting QB. Jake is young with tons of potential and now this is his time to lead the team. There is a lingering question floating around with fans right now...is he too young? Does he need to wait? These are valid questions but at some point this young quarterback has to be given the chance to lead and prove himself. I know none of us are general managers of an NFL franchise but even in our organizations young leaders need a chance to shine. Young leaders are most effective when they are set up to succeed. Yes, there are things you can do to help the next generation of leaders to have better chance of making a difference. Here are a few ways to set young leaders up for success...
  1. Never leave them on an island // isolation leads to mistakes and frustration. Young leaders need to know they are part of a team and there are others they can come to for advice and clarity. Leaders who have proper support learn quickly and lead with confidence.
  2. Allow mistakes to happen and embrace teachable moments // we all learn from mistakes but many times young leaders need help framing how the mistake impacts the organization. Young leaders need freedom to make mistakes with help from others to help place mistakes in perspective.
  3. Provide consistent feedback // we all need feedback but young leaders need it more frequently. Consistent feedback keeps everyone on track and fuels improvement.
  4. Define clear expectations // young leaders have to know what you want from them. What are your expectations. You will never be able to hold anyone to expectations they do not understand. Make sure you set the bar in a way that young leaders can embrace and work toward.
  5. Push for excellence and celebrate wins consistently // demand hard work and consistently celebrate wins. Look for wins everywhere. Celebrate wins even in the middle of hard times. Young leaders need to know what is celebrated in your organization because that is what will be repeated.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

4 marks of a great small group leader

It's fun to watch new small group leaders start the year off leading their groups. With the new school year cranking up this is the time when the foundation for a great year is constructed. I use the word constructed because a healthy small group never happens by accident. An effective group happens when a small group leader takes some intentional steps as they lead, right from the beginning. I have never met a group leader who walked into group with out a plan and had things go well. Great small group leaders have a few things in common. Great small group leaders are...
  • Consistent // great small group leaders make being present a priority. We only have a limited amount of hours to invest in our groups so not showing up leads to a lack of connection. The best group leaders try to block off time and make group a priority.
  • Prepared // great small group leaders walk in with a plan. It is amazing how being prepared helps bring confidence when you sit down with your group. Being prepared allows you to be fully engaged with the group.
  • Flexible // the best group leaders stay flexible. Group dynamics change over time and flexibility allows you to be effective as the group changes. Great small group leaders understand that even when all the plans change, God can still work!
  • Connected // effective small group leaders work hard to stay connected to the group. Texts, connecting at church, visits to ball games, Facebook, and email updates to parents all help group leaders stay connected and available.
When group leaders are consistent, prepared, flexible and connected to the students and parents they are leading they are going to be used by God. Help your leaders focus on these four areas and your team is going to thrive!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Morning...

My Monday mornings have been significantly different over the past few years. In the past Monday was a day filled with excitement as our team worked toward our big day of ministry on Wednesday. Everything in me was focused on getting to our program, doing our thing, watching how God was going to work in the lives of teens at our "youth ministry." I would not say it out loud then but what mattered most to me was not what happened on Sunday morning but rather what was to come in the ministry I lead. The church I was shaping in our student ministry not the church I served on Sunday had captured my heart. When I came here to Grace Community I was determined to never go back to this place. With Grace I was able to embrace my full role as a pastor, serving the church, investing in families and not just a pastor to teens. I believe our churches need more of us to embrace our role as pastor and care about them just as we care about the individual ministries we lead. Mondays should become days where we process all God did through our church just as much as we work toward our own personal ministry goals reaching kids, teens, or college students. If you are out there and your can't embrace the church you serve in this way it's probably time to begin to ask God to give you that kind of church where you can serve, love, and live life with the same passion to give you the ministry you are called to lead. Jesus never said he was going to build his kingdom on your children's ministry or youth ministry. The idea Jesus had was the church and it is time we fight for it as much as we fight for our personal ministry areas. Your church needs your leadership and creativity. Your church needs you to lead just like you lead in your ministry area! You are a pastor so start serving on Sunday mornings like it!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

after night ONE

Last night we had our first night of the semester for our middle and high school ministries. We put hours and hours of work into publicity, planning, practice, and preparation. (that is a lot of P words!) We prayed and we wondered what God was going to do. Last night came and God honored our efforts and today we are excited about how everything went. Night one is very important but what you do the day and week after is also critical. Night one reveals so much that you can work on for the weeks to come. If we learn from night one and make adjustments we set the ministry we lead up for health for the year to come. Here are a few "after night one" areas every student and college ministry has to evaluate...
  • Environment // what was the energy like in the venue? Were people connecting? What was the vibe in the hall and in your large group room pre-service? Was there proper signage and volunteers spaced through the facility? Make time to process how you did creating the environment you wanted to create. We learned we needed a few additions to our main hall and we are working on that this week.
  • Parking and People Flow // our parking situation was terrible on night one and we had some issues moving people around. We worked on a new plan this morning. This is a big deal to parents so it has to be a priority.
  • Band and Production Teams // we try to see where our band is at and where we need to go. Night one is always a challenge but we can also learn where we need to head as a worship and tech team form night one. Proud of our team last night but I am already excited to see how our team responds next week.
  • Message // this is personal but you have to evaluate how the talk went. How was the length? Did the bottom line get communicated? Did teens engage with the series?
  • Volunteer Team // we have to make sure our volunteers felt supported and make sure we get feedback from them. I promise, your volunteers saw aspects of last night you missed. Check on how they did and what they learned.
When you process all those areas you will have a better plan for week 2. Week 2 is the week where teens are checking to see if we are real. Make sure you use what you learned after night one!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

FREE STUFF / event idea for Dads and Daughters

Helping dads of pre-teen and teenage daughters connect is not easy so when I find a good idea I have to pass it on. Every year we have a dad and daughter formal here in our area and it is a highlight for my girls. Some of my friends who run a web site called Stuff You Can Use have offered a great resource I am hoping student pastors will check out. Right from their site you can download a complete guide to how to pull off a Dad and Daughter date night in your student ministry. I can promise you if you try this event it will go well. Dads are looking for help to find ways to connect with their girls. You have the power to make it cool. It is a perfect partnership. Best part is that they are giving the packet away for free. Go check their idea out and also make sure you check the website out often. It is a great place to gain some really creative ideas to try in the ministry you lead.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

the numbers crunch

Numbers, we love them and hate them. When they are going up we celebrate. When they are lower we go into evaluation mode. When we talk about the ministries we lead we tend to mention them to our friends. Numbers are a factor for all of us but they can never be allowed to consume us. Seriously, I believe numbers can entrap us because we become addicted to them when we base our self confidence on what they are revealing to us. If we are not careful we begin to celebrate numbers more than life change in the people we lead. When it comes to numbers we have to learn to manage the tension they bring. Ignore numbers and you will not see clear and consistent trends. Hold them too tightly and your judgement will be clouded. When it comes to the "numbers crunch" here are a few rules to remember.
  • Always be honest // When we count we are always tempted to add on a few or estimate high. Trust me, don't do it. Inflated numbers never help anything. Be honest with how you track your numbers. Adding numbers that are not real always forces you to chase inflated numbers down the road. Honesty today helps you celebrate tomorrow when honest growth and life change happen. 
  • Track the data // I should not have to mention this but always keep recoreds of the numbers you want to track. Getting a count is good but being able to find that number in 2 years is priceless. Find a way to keep numbers safe so you can have needed data later.
  • Count and celebrate what matters most // Sure we track attendance in our weekly environments but we alo track stats that matter most. How many small groups are we launching? How many students are getting baptized? How many teens are plugging into our events and retreats? How many students are involved in mission trips and projects serving our community? Go ahead and have the courage to track what matters most to you!
  • Look for trends // stop reacting to numbers and start looking for trends. Numbers have to be examinded over a extended amount of time. Numbers can help you see trends that will help you plan and program more effectivly. Use data to help you make better choices. We can do all the right things and still not be effective if we are not paying attention to the data we track.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Connecting with a generation in a state of constant change

How do you create organizations, environments, and resources for a generation that is in a state of constant change? As a pastor that is what I do. I help lead an organization, create environments, and shape resources that help people discover and grow in Christ. What is tempting for me is to lead and create in a way that impacts the largest mass of people. The goal is to reach people. Seth Godin's book We are all Weird addresses the tension between marketing and creating for the mass verses trying to stand out by being often going against the grain of mass appeal. There is a tention to manage in this idea but Seth offers some great insight into the process of being OK with being a weird. The generation we are striving to reach is changing. Seth proposes that how we connect with them might need to change also because this people now embrace "weird" and many times push it forward. Here are my favorite quotes from the book. I have linked to the Kindle version on Amazon so go check it out!
  • From now on, mass market success will be the exception, the black swan. Mass is dead. Here comes weird.
  • The epic battle of our generation is between the status quo of mass and the never-ceasing tide of weird.
  • We shun the outliers, train students to conform and reward companies that create historically efficient mass market products.
  • The key element of being weird is this: you insist on making a choice.
  • Standing out takes time, money, and confidence. More of us have all three now.
  • Art at the edges is no longer an oddity, it’s the norm.
  • When we give people choice, we make them richer.
  • When an artist (not just a painter, but anyone creating new ideas and new work) is able to have his work amplified, it changes him and also raises the bar for those that would follow.
  • When you don’t feel alone, it’s easier to be weird, which sort of flies in the face of our expectation that the weird individual is also a loner. Social acceptance of weird behavior makes being weird more popular. 
  • The reason that people are walking away from mass is not so that they can buy more stuff. Material goods and commerce are not the goal, they are merely a consequence. The goal is connection.
  • We’ve been trained since birth to enforce the status quo. Our bias is to the many. To please the many. To sell to the many. To be organized to serve the many.
  • If you persist in trying to be all things to all people, you will fail. The only alternative, then, is to be something important to a few people.
  • The key lesson: humanity and connection are trumping the desire for corporate scale.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why we believe "youth ministry" matters?

Because we host an annual open house for new families in our community and new 6th graders entering our middle school ministry our team is forced every year to ask one big question. Why do we do youth ministry? I love that we are forced to revisit the question very year because all of us drift toward auto pilot unless we are challenged. Our open house forces our team to cast vision to a new group of families every year. Here is why we create environments for teenagers at our church...

Our mission at Relevant Student Ministry is to provide every teenager in Clarksville a youth ministry that will help them find Christ and grow in Christ.

We try to focus all our energy on what Jesus said was most important ("relevant") in life...

29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 (NLT)

Because of our mission we have created an environment for middle school students called The Mix and one for high school students called Remix. Here is why we created this environments...
  • The Mix and Remix are two environments we have created to help teenagers gather with other teens and set aside a few hours of your week to LOVE GOD. We want to give teens a few hours to focus on what matters most!
  • The Mix and Remix are places where it is safe to set aside all our assumptions about faith and God and seek our clarity…TOGETHER. It is OK to doubt, it is OK to question. Our hope is that in the middle of the search teens will discover the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.
  • The Mix and Remix are here because there are people all around us wondering what is life all about? We want to partner with teens as they strive to lead their friends to faith in Jesus Christ. We believe that teens lead other teens to Jesus.
  • The Mix and Remix strive to help provide every teen with an adult who will invest in their life as their small group leader. Every teen needs a few adults and a few friends that will help them grow in their faith.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Top 25 Youth Ministry Blogs of 2012

My friends over at the Youth Cartel just released a great list of the top 25 youth ministry blogs. As I read the list I saw some new blogs I want to check out and some others that have been amazing resources for me over the years. You can go over to the Youth Cartel Blog and read how they came up with this list here. I wanted to share the list because following a few blogs you trust is a great way to widen your perspective and gain some new ideas for the ministry you lead. Here we go...your top 25 blogs of 2012!

2012 RankNameURL2011 Rank
1Josh Griffinhttp://www.morethandodgeball.com/1
2Doug Fieldshttp://dougfields.com7
3Mark Oestreicherhttp://whyismarko.com2
4Adam McLanehttp://adammclane.com4
5Jonathan McKeehttp://blog.thesource4ym.com/10
6Tim Schmoyerhttp://studentministry.org3
7Fuller Youth Institutehttp://fulleryouthinstitute.org/8
8Adam Walker Cleavelandhttp://pomomusings.com/6
9Kurt Johnstonhttp://www.juniorhighministry.com/19
10Youth Specialtieshttp://youthspecialties.com/blog5
11Brian Kirk, Jacob Thornerethinkingyouthministry.com13
13Jeremy Zachhttp://www.reyouthpastor.com9
14Greg Stiergregstier.org16
14The Youth Cartelhttp://theyouthcartel.com/blog/NR
16Ian MacDonaldhttp://www.youthblog.org12
17Walt Muellerhttp://learningmylines.blogspot.com/18
18Youth Leader Stashyouthleaderstash.comNR
19Chuck Bomarhttp://www.collegeministrythoughts.com/NR
20Rachel Blomhttp://www.youthleadersacademy.comNR
21Mike Kinghttp://king.typepad.com/mike_king/17
21Jake Boumahttp://www.jakebouma.com/NR
23Kenda Creasy Deanhttp://kendadean.com/20
24Matt McGillhttp://lovegodlovestudents.comNR
25Terrace Crawfordhttp://terracecrawford.com/19