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.

Beating Discouragement

We often feel inadequate for the task of youth ministry

and sometimes wonder if we should give up. I have been there but I have learned 3 massively motivating lessons that I have returned to when I start to wonder why I am doing this. These three quick life-giving lessons have helped me to find strength, vision, and passion to go the distance. The first of these is…

How Not to Make a Bad Decision

You’re two bad decisions from disaster…

At Vanguard College where I work we had a guest speaker come and do some training for the staff and faculty.  The one line this guest used that gets quoted by my president often is that, “we are only two bad decisions from closing our doors!”

You may not think that two bad decisions are not going to shut down your youth ministry but they may cost you your job at worst and at the least, your creditability will take a hit.  The key is that too often we make emotional decisions or decisions from the gut. Sometimes this works but often it does not.

The key to making a good decision is that it must be an educated one.  I have a view that for every decision that needs to be made there are at least a thousand options. The key is to look at as many of the options as you can, choose the best option, and then move on.

Here are three simple steps to making an educated decision.

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