A Leadership Lesson From A Youth Ministry Veteran: Part 2

In my previous post I talked about the audacious faith youth ministry veteran Byron Porisch. Last weekend, I was able to share some fun memories about Byron at a celebration his church threw for him. Byron is the guy who gave me my opportunity to move for England to the United States twelve years ago. He’s also battling an aggressive brain cancer and I would love for you to pray for him and his family.

Today, I want to share a key leadership lesson that has made a huge difference to me and the way I lead others in my ministry. Understanding and living out today’s leadership lesson from Byron is a foundational lesson for every leader. Failure to learn this lesson can be devastating…

Secure Leadership

I’ll never forget the question I once gave Byron in my early years of youth ministry. I will never forget the impact of his answer and exactly what it meant.

Me: Byron, how is it that students, volunteers, and parents are so attracted to your leadership? What makes you so magnetic? 

Byron: (Laughing hysterically), Ha! I’m so uncool, it makes me cool… 

Now, you might be reading this and wondering how this statement can be life altering and so impactful? Let me explain what Byron really meant by this statement. What he was actually saying was:

I’m so comfortable with who I am, people are attracted to my confidence in God’s unique identity for me… 

Again, you might wonder how I am able to take Byron’s statement and arrive at the statement above? You see, at the time Byron made this statement, he was in his fifties, had been in ministry for over twenty five years, and was clearly the older guy in the room. While many others were getting out of youth ministry, Byron continued to live and breath youth ministry and pour into younger leaders like me.

When he referred to being “uncool” I knew exactly what he meant. You see, Byron didn’t care about age or titles, he embraced his uniqueness of the day. While the students knew he was the older guy in youth ministry, they also saw his great confidence, great passion, and being completely secure in being the “uncool” older guy.

In our world today, people are drawn to leaders who are confident and comfortable in their unique identity. Yes, we will follow charisma and vision, but they will not follow insecurity for long. So often, because of insecurity, leaders will change who they are, and so often with devastating results:

  • They compromise their ethics. 
  • They try to be a friend to students instead of being a leader
  • They promote themselves above Jesus
  • They constantly play the comparison game and live a life of leadership inferiority
  • They leave a ministry too early because they think they don’t have what it takes
  • Their insecurity eats them alive and they dampen the growth of leaders around them

There are many I could add to this list, but I think you get the point. Again, the bottom line to all this is:

When we lead with confidence and assurance of our unique identity, people will follow us.

What’s your take away from this? How has insecure leadership impacted you? How have insecure leaders impacted you?

Phil <><



photo credit: mariachily via photopin cc

A Leadership Lesson From A Youth Ministry Veteran: Part 1

Last weekend, I was honored to attend and speak at a celebration for a good friend and youth ministry mentor, Byron Porisch. Byron is the guy who gave me my opportunity to come the States twelve years ago; to work and study in youth ministry.

Byron has an agressive form of brain cancer… His church (the same church I interned at with Byron), threw him a incredible celebration that he could enjoy and experience. As I considered what I would share at this celebration, it was not hard for me to focus on Byron’s standout quality as a leader. It’s a quality you and I should strive for, and one that you and I should ask God for.

Youth Ministry Leadership

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Youth Ministry Mission Trip FREEBIE: Helping Parents Connect

helping-parents-connectAll programs and trips have short comings in youth ministry and one of them for student mission trips is that parents are not involved. Mission trips are better when parents work hand and hand with youth workers. In Helping Parents Connect, Doug Franklin outlines how parents can be involved in their students’ mission trips before, during, and after the trip. This tool is designed to get you involved from the beginning and to help parents grow with your kids through this experience.

Get hold of this great FREE resource from our friends at LeaderTreks (Click Here)

How to Deal with Criticism in Youth Ministry: An Interview with Brian Berry [VIDEO POST]

Last week I caught up with friend and youth ministry veteran Brian Berry. Brian is the author of a NEW book called Criticism Bites as well as As for me and my Crazy HouseIn this video interview with Brian we took some time to talk about his new book as well as some great practical tips in dealing with Criticism.


You can pick up his book at Simply Youth Ministry, Amazon, or check out Brian’s Blog! 

Phil <><



The Most Crucial Youth Ministry Discipleship Question???? Who’s Discipling You?

In the previous two posts we’ve look at youth ministry discipleship. Discipleship is more than filling in the blanks, and it can be messy, unplanned, and takes a lot of relational time. Today, I have a challenge for myself I want pass on to you too… Here’s why:

The way we are discipled will often correlate into how we disciple others… Who’s discipling you?

Discipleship Questions

So my challenge for myself and for you is simply this: In the coming weeks, I am challenging myself to create time and space to seek out Godly people in my life to help disciple me. It does not matter how old or experienced we are, we all need to look up to a ‘Paul’ in our lives who has the time to invest in us. I already have a few great guys who have invested in me, but if I am honest, my life and schedule has taken over recently.

As you look for people to disciple you, what should this look like? Here’s what I am looking for: 

1. They are available and have the TIME: We live in a fast paced world. Some of the most Godly men and women are ineffective because of one foundational deficiency: They are simply too busy. For you and I, I would seek out those people who are good time managers or have more time on their hands. Some of the best people to disciple you are in their retirement years because they have more time and will MAKE time for you. I know it might be awkward asking an older guy or gal to meet with you at first, but you will be blessed if you do so… Who at your church or in your community is strong in their faith and has TIME?

2. They help me dig into God’s Word and prayer: Years ago when I lived in the UK,  I met regularly with a guy called Chris who studied the Bible with me. I will never forget his passion, his knowledge, and the basic bible study skills he gave me. The way I personally study the bible and the way in which I help others study is because of Chris. What are you learning and what are you passing on?

3. They can speak into my family life: When I first arrived at my current church, I sought out a guy who teaches a number of our family and marriage classes. After a few coffees with him, I asked him to look out for me and gave him permission to check in with me about my family. To this day Bob has sought me out to meet for coffee on numerous occasions. We have dinner with him and his wife regularly and they have been a huge support to our family. We are learning from them in so many ways and are incredibly thankful for the Godly wisdom they provide.

4. Ask them to look for areas of weakness: I have always made it a point to seek out Godly leaders around me as a way to grow and glean from them. On the odd occasion, leaders like this will offer to help in some way where they see a need in my life. Years ago, a guy named Dan could see I was struggling as a young leader and offered to meet with me regularly so he could help me become more assertive and confident as a leader. I’ll be honest, at first it stung to hear that he could see I was lacking in a tender area of my life. Yet, after I gathered myself up off the floor from my crying, I agreed to meet with him. Dan was right about what he saw and I needed his advice… Who are are you letting in to speak truth into your life?

Sometimes the hardest thing to do as a leader is ask someone to look for areas of weakness and allow them in to help you…

Remember this key: The way I am being discipled with impact the way I am discipling others. It does not matter how old or wise I think I am, I am always going to need to have a ‘Paul’ in my life to disciple me, as I look to disciple the ‘Timothy’s’ in my life.

In the next 4 weeks I challenge you to seek out one or two Godly people to disciple you. Are you in?

Comment and let me know if you are? Let’s commit to this together!

Phil <><


A Key to Getting Things Done: Do Less!

There’s always more to do in youth ministry isn’t there? Today I was reminded of a principle that I had learned a long time ago…But it was clear today that I had completely forgotten it:

Getting stuff done always takes longer than you think… Therefore, schedule less.

Youth Ministry To Do List

I know that reading the above statement could make you say, “Well duh, that’s obvious!” I am with you. It should be so completely obvious. But, when push comes to shove, if you are anything like me, I love to pack in as much as I can in my ministry day. I am ever the optimist of what I can get done and what can be accomplished by days end. Read more

Promotion Promotion Promotion: Maximizing Your Youth Ministry Exposure

We live in a world that is surrounded by marketing of all sorts… TV shows, sports figures, movies, and plenty more advertisements flood our day-to-day lives. And as somebody who works with students and tries to promote events and retreats, this can be quite challenging!

Youth Ministry Promotion

And so, I’ve “stolen” a few ideas from media around us, as well as created a few ways of my own to spread the word about any upcoming events in our ministry. I usually try to reserve using some of these tactics only when I really need to spread the word. Not all of these tactics are necessary to use for EVERY event you have, but maybe one or two of them are necessary. Read more

99 Things Every Guy Should Know: An Interview with Mike Hammer [VIDEO POST]

Recently I was able to catch up with friend and fellow youth worker, Mike Hammer. He is one of the authors of a great new book for guys titled, 99 Things Every Young Guy Should Know. I have looked through this book and it is highly practical for guys in your ministry. I could tell you more, but why not hear what Mike has to say?

If you want to pick a copy of the book, you can buy it over at Simply Youth Ministry or Amazon

Phil <><

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