One-on-One Discipleship

 You mean Coaching?

One of the big buzz words among church people these days is coaching. By “coaching” what is meant, is that you find a caring person who will challenge you to grow in areas of your life. There is an element of coaching involved as that person helps you to set goals then keeps you accountable to reaching those goals. At the Youth Ministry Institute, we take this so seriously that every student does One-on-Ones with a prof.

3 Shifts To See New Students Come To Your Youth Ministry

We all want to see students who don’t know Jesus come to our ministry but let’s be honest, it doesn’t happen that often.

Why is that? I am sure we are working hard and trying our best to pour into the students we have and to reach out to those who don’t know Jesus yet.  We might see a few new students show up but never what we were hoping for.

There was a season that I was working as hard as I have ever worked but we never saw new students.  Then there were three shifts that took place and everything changed.  Our youth ministry started to have students show up in droves that didn’t know Jesus, that didn’t know church culture (hello F-bombs, alcohol and drugs) and were from different religions.

Exciting New Resource – BEFORE YOU SAY GOODBYE


  • Only 1 in 3 people who attended church as a child still do so as young adults.
  • 1 in 2 young adults continue to identify with the Christian tradition they were raised in.
  • 3 out of 5 young adults who stop attending church will also drop their affiliation with any Christian tradition.

These are just a few of the facts from the Hemorrhaging Faith Survey. They are quite disturbing and depressing when we realize these are not just numbers. These statistics represent the people we work with and are investing in. These numbers can also raise lots of questions, finger pointing, and blame. However, in the end most people come to the place, ‘So now what? or ‘What should our response be?

Create a Compelling Vision

He sat at his clean desk on his first day at the church. A white sheet stared up at him from the desk, like the eye of a Cyclops. “Now what am I supposed to do?” he thought in a George-Costanza-ish moment. “I have all this training, done hundreds of hours of volunteer work. But now I am overwhelmed with the enormity of the task.” Mental paralysis sets in. Where do I start?

There are so many variables. So much to consider when giving direction to a youth ministry but something needs to be done.  It is one thing to have a general philosophy of youth ministry and quite another to implement it. Having a clear vision makes all the difference. Here are some steps for developing and inspiring vision.

The Secret to making Resolutions you can keep! (and a man who ate bicycles!!)


If you have given up on resolutions because they only deliver a sense of failure, I guess you could make easily achievable resolutions like these:

a. Get  out of bed most days of the week if you feel like it
b. Eat junk food when it’s available
c. Use the washroom a few times a day…  🙂

And maybe for some people, these would be a challenge… but if you want to make lasting changes in your life or ministry, there are a few painless secrets that winners get working for them, that you could start using today.

What Running Has Taught Me About Youth Ministry

Every year I am getting older…

…(I know, what a brilliant line). But as I get older I am finding that my fitness is declining rapidly.  To combat this a couple of years ago I started running.  I agree with you, I was not a fan of running, but I am a fan of training for a race.  My wife and I finished our first half marathon this past summer within our goal time.  Now I am starting to train for a full marathon.

As anyone who knows me would say, I am not an elite athlete.  In fact I don’t even consider myself an average athlete anymore.  However, running has taught me some key lessons that I think can help anyone that works in youth ministry.

Finding a Mentor

Need a Mentor?

Wouldn’t it be great to have an older, seasoned mentor who has gone down the road of ministry ahead of you who shares costly pearls of wisdom with you, one to one in a weekly meeting… I bet it would but don’t count on it coming from a senior leader in your church or organization! Frankly, while this is what we would love… it is a lot harder to find than most people will admit… So what can you do to find that coaching, wisdom and encouragement that comes from a mentoring relationship???

Well, I am glad you asked because I have discovered that there are ways to meet that void in my life without paying hundreds for a personal life coach or a personal trainer… In fact here are some mentoring possibilities that have worked and still work for me!

Depth vs Fun

Do you need to sacrifice one for the other?

I will often hear youth workers talking about and critiquing their ministry or another one. They often use the words depth and fun. It will go something like, “Ya, that youth ministry has lots of students but all they do is fun and games, there is no depth”. The other thing I will hear is, “In fact our numbers are down but there is depth to our youth ministry. We are just trying to dig deep with these students.”

In the important youth ministry book, Sticky Faith they make the case from extensive research that students want time for deep conversations and not more games (pg. 141-142). As I was reading this section in Sticky Faith I found myself agreeing but only to a point.

My question is why does it have to be depth or fun, why can’t it be both? Leonard Sweet called this approach to learning “edutainment”. I think that our efforts need to focus on discipleship that is engaging and yes, even entertaining.

Here are some ways this can be accomplished.