Category Archives: the youth cartel

THE ROLE OF TRUST (a small excerpt from Leading Without Power)

Trust is, perhaps, the single greatest factor in leadership. And, while trust is often lacking in hierarchical power structures (in churches or businesses), the funny thing is that it’s one of the few facets described in this book that is possible within traditional hierarchical power structures (if you want a good book on this—trust in the context of traditional power structures, that is—I recommend Stephen M. R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust).

The reason trust is possible even in hierarchical systems boils down to this: Trust is 100% dependent on honesty. If a hierarchical power-based leader is fully honest and transparent (a rare occurrence, to be sure), it’s possible to instill trust. But, more often than not, the mindset of a leader in utilizing role power and hierarchy has a mindset that says, “I know things you cannot and should not know; they are not your job to know them.” If the leader were, somehow, able to be completely honest with herself (another rarity), the truth would be closer to, “Being less than transparent and fully honest with you protects my position of power, control, and authority over you. You are more dependent on me when I know more than you do.”

Ah, but this tactic just doesn’t work.

Trust is 100% possible to build. Here’s the equation I’ve come up with for building trust:

(Pure Intention + Action and Honesty) x Time = Trust

Of course, trust is very easy to lose (in a second).

It is also possible to rebuild trust after it’s been lost. But the equation gets more complex:

(Owning Up + Checking In + Pure Intention + Action and Honesty) x Time2 = Rebuilt Trust

I have an axiom I teach in my youth worker coaching groups when we’re talking about trust: Without trust and safety, your ministry will not experience communion. And without communion, the ministry will be clubbish and wimpy.

If you’re my leader and I don’t trust you:

  • We will likely have friction (or at least be poised for it).
  • Small things will flash into big issues.
  • I will resist collaboration.
  • I will be skeptical of your leadership and motives.
  • I will hoard information and resources.
  • I will avoid engaging in the non-work relational glue that makes great teams.
  • I will unconsciously believe bad rumors I hear about you and be skeptical of good rumors I hear about you.
  • I will struggle to advocate for you.
  • I will subconsciously (or even consciously) not contribute to the larger vision you are casting.

of course, i go on to unpack the role of the Trust Guard, one of the 9 metaphorical job titles described in my new book Leading Without Power. this book is available at a pre-release special price of $10.99, and includes free (domestic) shipping — just use the code getlwp at checkout. but only until the end of this month when the book releases!

my dream is that church staff teams, youth ministry teams, and other church and ministry teams will read this book together and prayerfully consider how to take collective ownership of the 9 roles described in the book.

2 sentence book reviews, part 5

here we go — a week of 2-sentence book reviews on 39 books. i allow myself one sentence for a summary and one sentence for my opinion of the book.

a note about today’s reviews: since i act as the publisher for The Youth Cartel, i’m deeply involved with the development of the books/resources we publish. i’ve not included them in past “2-sentence book reviews” series. but i decided that’s silly, since i’ve read them all multiple times. the one tweak i’m making in my normal review format is that i’m excluding the star ratings — just assume they are all 5 stars! (also: i didn’t include all our Viva or NEXT curriculum releases, as i’m less involved in them — but they’re excellent also!)

Youth Cartel releases

think-vol-4THINK Volume 4: Relationships & Sexuality, by Jake Kircher

6 downloadable interactive and dialogical curriculum sessions intentionally designed to honor both scripture and the intelligence of teenagers. jake’s series is unique in its approach, and so well suited to postmodern teenagers who are weary of simply being told what to believe.

finding-jesusFinding Jesus in the Old Testament, by Eric Ballard

10 downloadable sessions highlighting an old testament character story with specific connections to how jesus completes the story. such an excellent and unique resource, helping teenagers see critical connections to life with jesus.

the-real-jesusThe Real Jesus: A Devotional, by Jen Bradbury

based on jen’s research (summarized in her excellent book, The Jesus Gap), this devotional invites teenagers to consider jesus’ question to peter — “Who do you say that I am?” — through 50 readings, scripture passages and sets of reflection questions.

soul-pirate-handbookSoul Pirate Handbook: A Devotional for the Good Life, by Luke Lang

a devo using metaphors from pirates to dig into a life of adventure. this is the best young teen devotional i’ve seen in a long time — so fun (and solid); yar!

sunday-comicsSunday Comics, vol. 1: Prophets, Priests, and Kings, by Gregg Jones

50 lessons (!) and 50 fill-in-the-blank comic/coloring pages (all downloadable) covering a big chunk of the OT. this is the most inventive curriculum (really ideal for young and middle teens) i’d seen in a very long time, and i knew we just had to publish it.

dont-do-thisDon’t Do This: Learning from the Screw-Ups of Youth Ministry Leaders, by Len Kageler and Jonathan Hobbs

though the real stories of ministry failure in this book range from hilarious to truly painful, the point is to learn. really, this is such an engaging and helpful book, and would be great to read as a team.

slaying-biblical-illiteracySlaying Biblical Illiteracy: Helping Teens Trust God’s Word, by Matt Andrews

a pocket-sized quick read offering pragmatic and creative ideas for bible engagement. i’m 100% confident that if you read this book, you’ll be trying one of its ideas within weeks.

survivalSurvival: A Devotional, by Eric Ballard

each devo has 3 parts: a fiction bit about two high school guys hiking the appalachian trail (and the crises they face), a connected real-life survival tip, and a devotional application. this devo would be a blast to use during a summer trip (camp or another adventure).

seminars for the 2016 Middle School Ministry Campference

i just finished finalizing the seminars and late nights for this year’s Middle School Ministry Campference. i’ve written this many times, but the Campference is the most fun youth ministry event i’ve ever attended or been a part of. we overlay an amazing weekend of content (great main sessions and seminars) over a retreat vibe, with lots of hang time and conversations and weirdness (in a good way).

AND, the regular registration deadline is almost upon us — just two more weeks. after september 30, the group rate goes away, and the regular rate jumps up another thirty-five bucks. but, heck, the event is October 14 – 16 — so you should be registering before the end of this month anyhow!

here they are — the AMAZING 2016 list of seminars and late nights, presented by some of the most amazing and brilliant young teen ministry experts in the world:

Friday Night

  1. Adam McLane – Understanding Teenagers & Social Media (seminar)
  2. Tom Shefchunas – Double-Dog-DareAthon on Inviting “Outsiders” to Church (dialogue)
  3. Katie Edwards – Walking Middle Schoolers Through Difficult Times (dialogue)
  4. Alan Ramsey – Growing to Love 6th Graders (and Seizing the Opportunity) (seminar)
  5. Matty McCage –Four key investments today’s volunteer requires

Late Night Friday

  • How-To Sharpie Tattoos (Crystal Kirgiss)
  • Let’s Talk Confirmation (Heather Lea Campbell)

Saturday Morning

  1. Kurt Johnston – 7 Sins of Communicating to Young Teens (dialogue)
  2. Heather Flies – Effective Ministry with Middle School Girls (seminar)
  3. Scott Rubin – JH Ministry with HS Ministry in Mind (dialogue)
  4. Kenny & Elle Campbell – Leveraging the Uniqueness of Middle School for Faith Formation (seminar)
  5. Crystal Kirgiss – Developing Talk Series for Middle School Retreats and Camps (active learning)

Saturday Afternoon

  1. Mark Oestreicher & Tom Shefchunas – Pastoring LGBT Teens (and those wondering) (dialogue)
  2. Heather Flies & Crystal Kirgiss – Being a Woman in Youth Ministry (dialogue)
  3. Scott Rubin – Next Steps for New Believers (seminar)
  4. Kenny & Elle Campbell – Our Best Games and How We Play Them (active learning)
  5. Kyle Whitcroft – What Your Middle School Ministry Can Learn from an International Nonprofit (seminar)

Late Night Saturday

  • Multi-Site Youth Ministry (Kurt Johnston & Tom Shefchunas)
  • How-To Tiny Books (Crystal Kirgiss)

Sunday Morning

  1. Adam McLane – Working with Introverted Teens (dialogue)
  2. Kurt Johnston – Leadership: What I Know Now That I Wish I’d Known Then (seminar)
  3. Katie Edwards – Leading & Developing a Team (seminar)
  4. Crystal Kirgiss – 9 Ways to Engage Scripture Directly & Creatively (active learning)
  5. Mike Branton and the CIY Team: Maximizing Ministry Through a JH Intentional Space

Things I’m Excited About

holy cow, it’s september! i was traveling for most of two weeks — taking my son to college, then leading two YMCP cohorts in a row. but this week i’m at my desk (which, to be honest, is mostly my picnic table in my backyard — i do live in san diego, after all). and i’m feeling waves of excitement and anticipation this week. there’s just so much good stuff.

here’s a small smattering of that…

Riley and Max

my two kids are both at college (riley at University of Redlands in redlands CA, and max at Regis University in denver). and both are doing really well. riley’s a junior, and has a job this year as the head of the RAs for the program they’re in, which includes two dorms. max is a freshman, and finding his way on a grand adventure.

Empty Nesting

i love having my kids around, and we miss them. but there’s undeniably some pretty awesome stuff about empty nesting. not the least of these is that i now have regular access to a car!

Growth in YMCP

i’ve never been a part of something so strongly at the crossroads of my gifting and impact on youth workers as the Youth Ministry Coaching Program. we currently have 260 graduates and about 40 in current cohorts. and it’s looking likely that we’ll launch about three more cohorts this fall, and something around 8 or 10 cohorts in 2017. in addition, we’re expanding our offerings under the “coaching” umbrella: we’ve already launched 1-on-1 Coaching, and are days away from launching another cool low-cost growth opportunity. this all has me energized and thankful and hopeful and full of anticipation.

2 Campferences

we’ve scaled back on events at The Youth Cartel, putting more emphasis on the things we’re best at. but two of our events still have me very excited. the first of those — the Middle School Ministry Campference — is coming up very soon (October 14- 16), and i’m in the thick of planning and organizing. this is quite literally my most favorite youth ministry event i’ve ever attended or been a part of. it is my tribe.

we also just inked the contract for the Women in Youth Ministry Campference, our 3rd time around (now in a new location!). it will be next spring, and we’ll get stuff out soon on that. but i attended this event last year, and even though it wasn’t great for the Cartel financially, it’s so powerful and unique that we just felt a spiritual compulsion to do it again. it’s missional for us, and mind-blowingly good.

New Products

we have some exceptionally good resources that just released — three, to be exact: Slaying Biblical Illiteracy (a short and practical book), Don’t Do This (a highly instructive book of failure stories by youth ministry leaders), and Sunday Comics (one of the most creative curriculum resources i’ve seen in a long time). (oh: we also have brand new editions of our downloadable curriculum series — Viva and NEXT.) and we have some revolutionary and practical and creative resources in the pipeline right now — i’ve been working on these and finding great energy in them!

Starting a New 7th Grade Guys Small Group

last night i started yet another middle school ministry small group. i have nine 7th grade guys in my group this time around. and i’m particularly pumped about my TWO new co-leaders: chris davis (a former co-worker from my YS days), and joel sullivan (one of my son’s buddies and bandmates). i refuse to be that youth ministry guy who only talks about his experience in youth ministry back in the day.

Anniversary Trip to Italy

my amazing wife and i have talked about a trip to italy for years. we almost went for our 25th anniversary about six years ago. we had it planned for earlier this year (for our 30th), but postponed it due to my son’s HS graduation. but we’re going next may, and it’s likely going to be 2.5 weeks long. we’re in early planning stages now, and super excited.

i could list a dozen more things i’m pumped about. maybe i’ll post some time about a new sense of calling i have for a particular sort of ministry as i move deeper into my 50s. but that’s enough for today.

i hope that you’re also finding excitement and energy and renewal in your life and work!

our 3rd Women in Youth Ministry cohort of YMCP

At The Youth Cartel, our flagship program–the Youth Ministry Coaching Program–is experiencing some amazing growth. With more than 250 graduates now, we continue to refine and tweak and see massive transformation in the lives of participants and their ministries. Just the other day, a fairly recent grad who has simultaneously jumped into our Level 2 cohort and our Coaching Certification training emailed me, writing:

As I stand waiting to board my flight from Chicago home, I’m struck with an overwhelming appreciation for the Cartel. A little over a year ago I didn’t know The Youth Cartel existed and as I reflect over the past year, I can’t believe how far I’ve come-how I’ve grown in ministry, what I’ve learned, but more importantly how my life has so drastically changed from being bitter and focused on the past to future-focused and hope-filled. Thank you for the role that you and the Cartel have played in that transformation. I am forever grateful!

If you’re not familiar with YMCP, you should read this overview.

If you’re wondering about the 8 cohorts we’re currently filling, click here.

But I’m particularly pumped about the four topic-specific cohorts we’re currently looking to fill. So i’m posting about each of them, four days in  row.

Tuesday, I wrote about the new Ministry Architects cohort co-lead by April Diaz (from the Cartel) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (VP of Coaching at Ministry Architects).

Wednesday, I wrote about the new Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry cohort I’ll be co-leading with Kurt Johnston of Saddleback Church.

Yesterday, I wrote about the 2nd Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian Context cohort.

And, today: the THIRD (woot!) Women in Youth Ministry cohort:

There’s something about the mixture of a group of likeminded individuals coming together and the accountability of a trained coach that does wonders for your growth and development as a leader and youth worker. We’ve learned that journeying with a safe group of peers provides fertile soil for long-lasting change.

We think that women in youth ministry are the intersection of some of our favorite people: leaders, women, and youth workers. And this environment is a beautiful opportunity for my gifts and background to be used for other women!

This whole-life coaching program is all about developing and empowering women in leadership. Being a woman in youth ministry is different. It demands unique skills and awareness as we approach the challenges and opportunities due to our gender.

We will learn across a scope of subjects focused on leadership development and youth ministry realities in this changing culture. This specialized cohort will have 8-10 women in leadership, and meets twice for 2 days plus 4 times online (2-3 hours each). Each component is very intentional and structured to provide encouragement, training, challenge, and transformation.

A Few Details…

  • HOW MANY: 8-10 women will be accepted
  • WHO: Our group is from all over the U.S., and you do not need to be in full time ministry or a point leader. But each woman must be in youth ministry in some way.
  • MEETING SCHEDULE: This cohort will meet twice for 2 full day meetings (the first and last) in Northern Indiana and have 4 online meetings (2-3 hours each). The specific dates will be chosen by the group. The first meeting will be scheduled roughly 3 – 6 months after the group is filled.
  • 1on1 COACHING: Participants receive four 30-minute phone calls with me between our face-to-face meetings
  • CONNECTION: Private Facebook group for ongoing support and interaction
  • HOMEWORK: We will do a good amount of shared, cross-disciplinary reading. I believe that Leaders are Readers! Additionally, each participate will self-assign homework based on learning and necessary, personalized growth areas
  • COST: $2250 (+ participant travel costs)

Interested? Questions? Email April Diaz at april@theyouthcartel.com.

Ready to apply? Apply online at http://theyouthcartel.com/coaching.

Read more here: http://www.aprildiaz.com/blog/wymcohort2.

Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian Context cohort of YMCP

At The Youth Cartel, our flagship program–the Youth Ministry Coaching Program–is experiencing some amazing growth. With more than 250 graduates now, we continue to refine and tweak and see massive transformation in the lives of participants and their ministries. Just the other day, a fairly recent grad who has simultaneously jumped into our Level 2 cohort and our Coaching Certification training emailed me, writing:

As I stand waiting to board my flight from Chicago home, I’m struck with an overwhelming appreciation for the Cartel. A little over a year ago I didn’t know The Youth Cartel existed and as I reflect over the past year, I can’t believe how far I’ve come-how I’ve grown in ministry, what I’ve learned, but more importantly how my life has so drastically changed from being bitter and focused on the past to future-focused and hope-filled. Thank you for the role that you and the Cartel have played in that transformation. I am forever grateful!

If you’re not familiar with YMCP, you should read this overview.

If you’re wondering about the 8 cohorts we’re currently filling, click here.

But I’m particularly pumped about the four topic-specific cohorts we’re currently looking to fill. So i’m posting about each of them, four days in  row.

Tuesday, I wrote about the new Ministry Architects cohort co-lead by April Diaz (from the Cartel) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (VP of Coaching at Ministry Architects).

Wednesday, I wrote about the new Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry cohort I’ll be co-leading with Kurt Johnston of Saddleback Church.

Tomorrow: the THIRD (woot!) Women in Youth Ministry cohort:

And today, some info about the 2nd Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian Context cohort:

This whole-life coaching program is all about developing and equipping you as a youth worker within a Post-Christian context of ministry. How do you know if you’re in a Post-Christian context? Well, have you found traditional ministry strategies becoming less and less effective? Are you finding that it’s getting more difficult to get students to come to your church? Or that when you do, students have little to no church or Biblical context? Well, those are signs that your church or area may be Post-Christian. (You could also check out this post from Barna.)

Ministry within a Post-Christian world isn’t always easy. It’s a whole new world of ministry, which requires blazing a different trail in order to effectively reach students with the gospel. We will learn across a scope of subjects including theology, practical life realities, sociology, and issues defined by this group. Each time we meet is very intentional and structured to provide encouragement, challenge, and transformation. This cohort provides customized attention to your specific context and needs as a youth worker in a Post-Christian context.

Details

This group will launch roughly 3 – 6 months after filling. The group will collaboratively choose meeting dates. This includes:

  • Three 2-day, face-to-face meetings lead by Jake Kircher (author of Teaching Teenagers in a Post-Christian World, and the 4-volume THINK curriculum), with either April Diaz or Marko attending the first meeting.
  • Three online meetings for 3 hours each (via Google Hangout) led by Jake Kircher, and including guest contributors.
  • Participants get seven 30-minute coaching sessions (3 in-person and 4 via phone).
  • Access to a secret Facebook group for ongoing support, connection, and interaction.
  • We’ll do a healthy amount of reading and cross-disciplinary learning, as well.
  • Cost: $2500. We will work out a payment plan with you, if needed.
  • 8-10 people will be accepted.

Some may look at the cost and discount their participation. We’ve come to believe, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” If this is something you’d benefit from, let’s find a way! At the same time, a helpful way to compare the cost is asking: What’s the cost of a job change? a divorce? a moral failure? This cohort is designed to help avoid all of those things and strengthen you as a youth worker, which will only lead to better ministry! That perspective makes $2500 well worth it! It’s one of the best investments you can make in your leadership. The learning you’ll have from the others in the group will be beyond a conference and these detailed bullet points! And you are worth the investment.

Details in summary:

FormatHybrid cohort – 3 face-to-face meetings of 2 days each + 3 online meetings of 3 hours each. 7 individual coaching sessions (3 face-to-face and 4 phone).

Price$2500

CoachesJake Kircher, with April Diaz or Marko

Launch Date3 – 6 months after reaching 10 participants

LocationGrace Farms, New Canaan CT (1:30 Northeast of NYC)

Interested? Questions? Email Jake Kircher at jake@jakekircher.com.

Ready to apply? Apply online at http://theyouthcartel.com/coaching.

Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry cohort of YMCP

At The Youth Cartel, our flagship program–the Youth Ministry Coaching Program–is experiencing some amazing growth. With more than 250 graduates now, we continue to refine and tweak and see massive transformation in the lives of participants and their ministries. Just the other day, a fairly recent grad who has simultaneously jumped into our Level 2 cohort and our Coaching Certification training emailed me, writing:

As I stand waiting to board my flight from Chicago home, I’m struck with an overwhelming appreciation for the Cartel. A little over a year ago I didn’t know The Youth Cartel existed and as I reflect over the past year, I can’t believe how far I’ve come-how I’ve grown in ministry, what I’ve learned, but more importantly how my life has so drastically changed from being bitter and focused on the past to future-focused and hope-filled. Thank you for the role that you and the Cartel have played in that transformation. I am forever grateful!

If you’re not familiar with YMCP, you should read this overview.

If you’re wondering about the 8 cohorts we’re currently filling, click here.

But I’m particularly pumped about the four topic-specific cohorts we’re currently looking to fill. So i’m posting about each of them, four days in  row.

Yesterday, I wrote about the new Ministry Architects cohort co-lead by April Diaz (from the Cartel) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (VP of Coaching at Ministry Architects).

Tomorrow, I’ll post about the 2nd Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian Context cohort.

And, Friday: the THIRD (woot!) Women in Youth Ministry cohort.

But today, I’m pumped to tell you about the new Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry cohort I’ll be co-leading with Kurt Johnston of Saddleback Church:

There has been an explosion of churches moving to a multi-site approach in the last few years. Understandably, a church’s decision to move to a multi-site approach is rarely (if ever) driven by the mission of the youth ministry. And as such, youth workers in these churches are often scrambling to figure out best practices, formats and structures, success metrics, and all sorts of other variables. We felt it would be great to host a YMCP cohort exclusive to youth workers wrestling with these questions.

This cohort will still embody the values and promises of YMCP: leadership development and growth in self-knowledge, problem solving and personal transformation. But Kurt Johnston, the leader of all youth ministries for Saddleback Church’s 17 campuses, will also guide some specific conversations on the uniqueness of multi-site church youth ministry.

As a bonus: The Youth Cartel and Saddleback Church will be hosting a 2-day mini-Campference on the topic of Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry. One meeting of this cohort (probably the first meeting) will coincide with this event, with the fee for this event being included in the cost of the cohort.

Details in summary:

FormatHybrid cohort– 3 face-to-face meetings of 2 days each + 3 online meetings of 3 hours each. 6 individual coaching sessions (2 face-to-face and 4 phone). One of the face-to-face meetings will coincide with a Multi-Site Youth Ministry mini-Campference co-hosted by The Youth Cartel and Saddleback Church.

Price$2500

CoachesMarko and Kurt Johnston

Launch Date3 – 6 months after reaching 10 participants

LocationSaddleback Church, Lake Forest CA

For more information (including pricing and a full overview of the Youth Ministry Coaching Program), click here.
To lock in your spot for one of the 10 spots, click here to apply and put down a $100 deposit.

announcing the Ministry Architects cohort of YMCP

At The Youth Cartel, our flagship program–the Youth Ministry Coaching Program–is experiencing some amazing growth. With more than 250 graduates now, we continue to refine and tweak and see massive transformation in the lives of participants and their ministries. Just the other day, a fairly recent grad who has simultaneously jumped into our Level 2 cohort and our Coaching Certification training emailed me, writing:

As I stand waiting to board my flight from Chicago home, I’m struck with an overwhelming appreciation for the Cartel. A little over a year ago I didn’t know The Youth Cartel existed and as I reflect over the past year, I can’t believe how far I’ve come-how I’ve grown in ministry, what I’ve learned, but more importantly how my life has so drastically changed from being bitter and focused on the past to future-focused and hope-filled. Thank you for the role that you and the Cartel have played in that transformation. I am forever grateful!

If you’re not familiar with YMCP, you should read this overview.

If you’re wondering about the 8 cohorts we’re currently filling, click here.

But I’m particularly pumped about the four topic-specific cohorts we’re currently looking to fill. So i’m posting about each of them, four days in  row.

Tomorrow, I’ll post about the new Multi-Site Church Youth Ministry cohort I’ll be co-leading with Kurt Johnston of Saddleback Church.

Thursday, I’ll post about the 2nd Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian Context cohort.

And, Friday: the THIRD (woot!) Women in Youth Ministry cohort.

But today, I’m stoked to tell you about the new Ministry Architects cohort co-lead by April Diaz (from the Cartel) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (VP of Coaching at Ministry Architects):

Ministry Architects and The Youth Cartel are partnering together to offer an exclusive, one-of-a-kind development opportunity for youth workers. Built on the model of The Youth Cartel’s proven and successful Youth Ministry Coaching Program, the two organizations will each bring their strengths, approaches, and ministry values to a cohort of 10 youth workers who will meet together over the span of a year. The Cartel coach (April Diaz) will focus primarily on holistic leadership development, while the Ministry Architects coach (Jeff Dunn-Rankin, VP of Coaching) will focus primarily on building sustainability in your church’s youth ministry. The program includes: three meetings of two days each, in Nashville, three online meetings, plus seven one-on-one coaching sessions (three in person, and four via phone or skype).

 
We’re hoping to launch this cohort in the Fall of 2016 (participants will speak into actual date selection); but we will look to schedule the first meeting 3 – 6 months out from when the cohort is full.
 
For more information (including pricing and a full overview of the Youth Ministry Coaching Program), click here.

To lock in your spot for one of the 10 spots, click here to apply and put down a $100 deposit.

Details in summary:
FormatHybrid cohort – 3 face-to-face meetings of 2 days each + 3 online meetings of 3 hours each. 7 individual coaching sessions (3 face-to-face and 4 phone).

Price$2500

CoachesApril Diaz (The Youth Cartel) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (Ministry Architects)

Launch Date3 – 6 months after reaching 10 participants

LocationNashville

For more information (including pricing and a full overview of the Youth Ministry Coaching Program), click here.
To lock in your spot for one of the 10 spots, click here to apply and put down a $100 deposit.

the values driving my church’s middle school ministry in this season

if you read my blog much, you know i talk and write a lot about leading from values. it’s a central theme in our Youth Ministry Coaching Program.

i define values as the answer to the question: What is God calling us to embody in this season? (and by season, i mean: this chapter of our ministry life together.) values should flow out of mission (Why do we exist?), and lead to strategy (How will we embody our values?) and goals (What are our measurable, actionable plans?).

we teach a process of developing ministry values in our coaching program. and the awesome junior high pastor at my church (where i’m a volunteer) recently graduated from a san diego cohort of YMCP. last fall, we had a fantastic volunteer team retreat, where i got to lead our team in developing values. and recently, we came back together to identify which of our values were the most aspirational (we aspire to embody these, but don’t really do so yet), and to come up with strategy for those.

i was reminded how much i love the values our team came up with. thought i’d share them with you here (not so you can copy them, as the best ministries discern their own values!).

things to note:

  • they’re in no particular order
  • the initial italic words come from our discernment process, and are grouped together from a bunch of value-ish stuff that surfaced.
  • the bold sentence is the actual value.
  • the additional sentence(s) are an unpacking of the value.
  • our JH ministry is called Riptide (which is why you’ll see that all throughout).

Riptide Values

  1. Family/Belonging/Known

Riptide is a family. We will be a place of radical belonging for young teens and for leaders. Every junior higher who walks through our doors will be known and know others.

  1. Questioning/Safety/Honesty

We will be a safe harbor of support and honesty. Questions will be viewed as a cause for celebration rather than a reason for shame or embarrassment. Personal stories will be celebrated and treated with the respect they deserve.

  1. Experiencing God/Jesus

We desperately want junior highers to encounter Jesus. We believe that the best life is one that follows Jesus; and to that end, we want young teens to experience God as a means of cultivating their faith and being transformed. We will be leaders who will manifest our own personal relationships into the ministry and lives of middle schoolers.

  1. Celebrate Uniqueness/Culture of Encouragement

We believe each student and leader is unique and has gifts to offer the world. We will actively develop a Culture of Encouragement, intentionally identifying and nurturing competencies.

  1. Integration with church

Junior Highers should be connected with Journey, not just Riptide. We believe that a long view of faith development means we are compelled to think of junior high as one chapter in a life long faith journey. Because of that, we will work to reduce the isolation of young teens in our church and find meaningful ways to integrate them into the life of the congregation.

  1. Take Risks/Embrace change

Change is constant, and growth requires risk. Riptide cannot stay the same, cannot coast, cannot become complacent. We will consistently evaluate, discern the Holy Spirit’s leading, and experiment with change in order to become everything God has dreamed our ministry could be.

  1. Face outward/Mission/Outreach

We will help junior highers engage their faith outside the Riptide room. We refuse to allow our ministry to become program-centric and only occurring in our room. We will engage the world around us in mission and outreach, both for the formation of our junior highers, and to engage the work of the Kingdom of God.

Recommended Graduation Gifts for Teenagers

Slide1we have a few resources either published by The Youth Cartel, or developed by me (marko) and sold by The Youth Cartel, that are worth your consideration as graduation gifts (either for individual students, or for a youth group context). as is always the case with stuff we sell in our store, excellent bulk pricing discounts are available.

The Amazing Next, by Brock Morgan. honestly, there are so many cheesy high school graduations books on the market. most of them fall into one of two categories: (1) inspirational drivel, or (2) “this is our last chance to cram some apologetics down your throat so your freshman philosophy professor doesn’t undo everything we’ve tried to teach you.” both categories are lame, and both don’t get read by actual teenagers. that’s why we worked with Brock to develop this book. we wanted a grad book that was fun, honest, helpful and–most of all–would get read rather than shelved. i love this book, and the response (it released last year) has been overwhelmingly positive.

The Way Bible. i was the general editor on this baby, and it took 18 months of my life. we wanted (we, in this case, being me and Tyndale Publishers) to create a bible that was truly honest and helpful for older teenagers and young adults. almost all ‘teen bibles’ have a target of a 15 or 16 year old. we had 17 – 20 year olds in mind when creating this. it’s full of evocative black & white photography, book intros and a variety of other elements all designed to connect young adults with scripture. this isn’t a study bible — it’s a reader’s bible (and as such, the new living translation is perfect). it’s available in softcover, hardcover, and a black leatherlike cover. (i’ve bought copies of this bible for the guys in my 8th grade small group as a gift — don’t tell ’em.)

Ignite Bible. i was a general editor on this bible also — and it is specifically focused on middle schoolers (so this would NOT be a good choice for high school graduates — but, instead, for kids graduating from grade school into middle school). softcover and hardcover available.