Starting Fresh: 4 Keys Starting Right In A New Youth Ministry

I recently started a new full-time youth ministry gig about 6 months ago. For a while I was the shiny new toy at our church, and that was fine! But in reality, it can be difficult to start fresh at a new place, with all of the cultural learnings, expectations from leaders/students/parents, as well as different people pushing their own agenda. But here are some of things I learned in this transition, and maybe it can help you if you’re ever starting fresh somewhere.

Starting Right In Youth Ministry

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A Roadblock to Evangelism in Youth Ministry: You? Me?

In my years in full-time youth ministry I have seen a number of  youth ministries who have developed a culture of evangelism… The distinguishing factor? The ones leading the ministry live and breathe evangelism in their lives outside youth ministry. (Or you could say they live and breathe evangelism in every area of their lives). But, for many of us, the only people we talk to about Jesus are our students in our own ministry…

However, if you and I are not living out evangelism in our lives outside of youth ministry, we should not expect our students to be committed to reaching their friends and family either…

Roadblocks to Evangelism

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Evangelism: Is Your Youth Ministry Marginally Missional?

It’s possible you have seen the video above? Whether or not you have seen it before, I would encourage you watch it and then use it as a lens to look through as you survey your youth ministry.

For me, my huge takeaway is this: I often put an huge amount of my time into the creation of programs and events, while only putting a small amount of time into teaching my students how to share their faith. If we stand back and really think about it, we have a huge number of potential student ‘missionaries’ in our youth ministries.

And here’s the hard reality for us: Read more

FREE Q and A Webinar from with Dr. Jim Burns!

Don’t miss this!!! Share this with your parents!!!! Our friends from are doing another FREE Webinar!

Dr. Jim Burns leads a free Q and A webinar on Tuesday, March 19 at 2 pm (central) It’s a chance for you to ask your questions about parenting teens… register here:

Jim Burns

Please Pray for Veteran Youth Worker and Friend, Byron Porisch

Twelve years ago a veteran youth worker took a chance on a young inexperienced British guy and asked him to come and work and study youth ministry in Ann Arbor, MI. My life has forever changed because someone saw potential in me. Today, I would like to ask you to pray for the guy who gave me a start in youth ministry.

Byron Porisch

Recently, he has been diagnosed with Glioblastoma multiforme, which is a form of cancer represented by tumors in the brain. While Byron has great peace in all of this, I would ask you to pray for him and his family as they navigate through many new challenges.

Byron is the kind of guy who is Kingdom minded and there are so many youth workers in fulltime ministry today who came through under Byron’s leadership. He’s invested so much into 30+ years of ministry, let’s invest time to pray for him…

Here’s a video I posted on Byron’s Facebook page. You can like the page too, and stay up to date on how he is doing. Most of all, please pray for him and his family. Write a note on the wall and let them know where you are from. (They have a prayer map going… It’s pretty awesome).

Thanks for listening… Thanks for praying…


FREE Easter Lessons And Devotions For Your Students!

YM360 Easter_2013_Blog_Hub


My good friends at youthministry360 have just launched another round of free resources, just in time for Easter!

They’re giving away three different Easter Bible study lessons, PLUS a set of 10-day Easter devotions for your students. It’s solid stuff that will help your teenagers prepare their hearts and minds for Easter. Easter is such a powerful time for Christ-followers. These tools will help you lead students to both reflect on and celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection.

To download these free resources, head on over to the ym360 Easter Vault at

Enjoy and feel free to spread the Easter Love!

Phil <><


3 Reasons Why I Loved SYMC 2013

If you followed me over the weekend you could not escape the fact that I was at The Simply Youth Ministry Conference! If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know I am huge fan of the conference and also part of the IT3 Team, (The ‘In the Trenches’ Team who helped to design and pull of the conference).SYMC 2014

Here are 3 reasons from this years conference as to why I am deeply committed to going as a participant, as well as being invested in creating the conference with other youth workers: Read more

HOTEL HOTEL 2 [OFFICIAL] Hilarious Video from SYMC 2013

Thanks for Josh Griffin over at – Saw this last night at SYMC. Brilliant and hilarious. All shot at the J.W Marriott where we are staying… It’s a nice hotel!


Be Sick Be Loved: John Acuff – SYMC 2013

This was a great session with the Jordan Howerton Band and Jon Acuff! Here are some of my notes from Acuff’s message:

How do we be stronger and truly allow God to make us stronger… We find a new orientation to who we are first. 

1. Start before we are ready. Fear will often stop us from feeling like we are ready for ministry… We sometimes feel too old or young… There’s always something we are not ready for and always a fear that we have about our next step in ministry… But, if we really believe God’s strength that becomes our strength, we will be ready… It’s not about our strength.

Even Jon Acuff admits he gets to to do stuff he is not ready for…

“I get to do stuff I am not ready for… BUT, we’ll never step into something God is not ready for.” Read more

REPOST: How to Answers Teenagers Toughest Questions – SYMC 2013

Answers to Teenagers 50 Toughest QuestionsToday at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference I am leading a peer panel on how to answer teenagers toughest questions. Here are some guidelines and ideas I am providing for people in the peer panel. They might also be useful to you too?

When answering teenagers questions here few things to consider: 

YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW IT ALL: It’s OK to admit to students that you need time to research or pray through an answer. Students don’t expect you to know everything, so don’t expect this for yourself!

EXPECT QUESTIONS FROM TEENAGERS! This is the time in their lives when they reconstructing and putting together a whole new world in their brains. Students are beginning to think abstractly and see things in a whole new way… Questions are your friend since they can become the pathway to students processing and eventually owning the truth. Questioning is not a bad thing, it’s part of their brain development! We have an incredible opportunity to come alongside them as they deal with some of their greatest felt needs… So, expect and embrace questions!

WHAT BIBLICAL TRUTH CAN YOU DRAW FROM? Students are getting enough poor information from search engines and well intentioned friends. God’s Truth is the best starting point we can give them…

WHAT OUTSIDE ISSUE COULD BE IMPACTING YOUR STUDENT? In other words, what is the context? Understanding the context is often the doorway into finding out their specific issue or need. Context will allow us to tailor a better answer with them…

WHO NEEDS TO BE INVOLVED IN THE QUESTION? If you are volunteer, have you spoken to your youth pastor or pastor? Do the parents need to know? Do you need to report this to an official? Or, are there ‘experts’ in your church who can help you with a particular question?

BECOME AN EXPERT IN RESOURCES: You might not know all the answers, but you should work hard to know where to find them.  There are many youth ministry resource companies who can help you.

GET THEM TO PROCESS THROUGH THE ANSWER:  Give them some of the “work” and help them own the answer more effectively. When students go through a process of digging for the answer, it will more likely stick with them. When we can get them to do the work and begin to verbalize what they are learning, they are more likely to own what they have learned. A messy journey alongside a student as we help them discover and process an answer is far better than a well-crafted answer from you and I.

What would you add to this list? What tip is the most helpful one for you? 

Phil <><

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