Culture Soup, Maps and Mirrors

How do you make sense of it all?

The 30th annual MTV Video Music Awards 2013 took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on August 25. Over 13 million viewers, most of them under 25, were treated to the now notorious performance by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. One month later, a Google search of Miley provides 827 million pages in 0.26 seconds. Pop culture is currently consumed with everything VMA.

Welcome to the world of today’s teens. This is their culture. Culture is what we believe, what we do, and how we live our lives. It binds us to those who think and live in a similar manner. It’s the values, attitudes and behaviors that drive how we live our lives. might find it easier to think of it as the “soup” in which our kids are swimming. It is like lifting the lid on a pot of soup only to discover what you see on the surface isn’t really what the soup is all about. You need to stir it up to be sure of its contents. The same can be said of youth culture. There is much below the surface to be considered.

4 Ways to Break Up Cliques


My older sister went to our church’s youth ministry but it didn’t last long.  In fact after only lasting a short time she decided to never go back.  The simple reason was that the group of girls in her age bracket were a clique and there was no way she was going to get into that group.  Dealing with cliques in your youth ministry is one of the most important issues you can address to make sure students want to come back.

The Six Key Conditions for Health and Growth

Okay, now might not be the best growing season where you live but I know that with the correct conditions any youth group can begin to experience better health and growth even now. Just the same way that living things need warmth, water, sunlight, and nutrients youth groups require some essential elements to thrive. Without these elements or if your group is deficient in one of these areas, your students are not going to grow as they should. So what are these six key conditions?

The Three Top Go To Sites for Icebreakers, Games and Activities

It’s Friday afternoon and you are in charge of the games for the evening. Everyone is counting on you for that perfect mixer to add light and life to the event. It’s the activity that will get kids meeting and greeting setting the stage for all that will transpire that evening…No Pressure! But don’t sweat the small stuff! Here are the top 3 go to sites where youth workers and pastors are getting the best stuff

3 Tips On Helping Students Deal With Porn

If you spend more than five minutes working with students you are going to have a guy or yes even a girl come to you after a service, during a trip to McDonald’s or in the middle of your small group and say that they struggle with looking at porn.  Unfortunately, this is such a pervasive and prevalent issue in our society that you must have a response ready in that moment.  Here are three tips when talking to the student that I have found helpful.

Introducing Youth Ministry Unleashed

Ron PowellHi Folks,
We are looking forward to sharing ideas that are working in youth ministries today. Some of what I share is what we are discussing in class, things I have written in articles, or great stuff that others are sharing out there. I know that you are crazy busy so I am happy to sift through stuff and give you something quick and easy that you can use right away. Of course I am always open for suggestions about things that you would like to hear about and would love to get your comments about the material that I am sharing with you. Please subscribe if you want to keep hearing from us and if you subscribe you can have an e-book that I wrote on some crucial youth ministry basics!  –Ron


Tyson HowellsHey Everyone,
Youth ministry can be frustrating at times or even it can cause us to feel completely ineffective.  However, I think the reason we are all involved in youth ministry is because we have a blast pouring and investing into youth.  This blog is simply a chance for us to share tips and ideas of how we can do that effectively.
Sometimes it will be thoughts shared from a personal experience, other times it will be lessons from a book our class I teach and maybe there might even be the odd rant.  However, it will always be about us helping each other unleash the best possible youth ministries.  –Tyson

Welcome to Youth Ministry Unleashed

Hello Everyone,

Why in the world would we (we being Ron and Tyson) want to start a blog about youth ministry?  Well the simple answer is that we want to serve and help.  We are two guys that teach youth ministry at Vanguard College and have over 25 years of youth ministry experience.

So really this site is about helping you unleash the full potential of your youth ministry.

We will be sharing about what we are learning and also from our failures and some of our successes.  Also we look forward to hearing from you and learning from you.

We look forward to helping you in this wonderful journey of youth ministry!