Category Archives: youth work

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).

2 sentence book reviews, part 4

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.

Church and Ministry

search-to-belongThe Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groupsby Joseph R. Myers

5 stars

a deep dive into a theory of belonging and its application to church ministry. i re-read this older book for our Level 2 YMCP cohort and taught from it, which found strong connection with participants.

roadmap-to-reconciliationRoadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice, by Brenda Salter McNeil

4.5 stars

concise and practical cheerleading on exactly what the title promises. brenda is a helpful coach in this accessible book, and doesn’t employ guilting or shaming–church leaders need to read this book.

Christian Living

how-to-be-hereHow to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living, by Rob Bell

5 stars

thoughts on being present, and on living into who you were made to be (and into your dreams). some chafe at rob’s writing style; but i love it, and this book is simple, profound and wonderful.

tattoos-on-the-heartTattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, by Gregory Boyle

3.5 stars

catholic priest and founder of Homeboy Industries explores the realities of urban gang life and pathways for hope. finally got around to reading this book, and felt it started strong, but got extremely repetitive.

gift-of-hard-thingsThe Gift of Hard Things: Finding Grace in Unexpected Places, by Mark Yaconelli

4 stars

a collection of essays, anchored in stories, about the role various difficulties can play in our lives. the storytelling is exquisite, helping to overpower the minor shortcomings of the “collection” approach.

Youth Ministry (and Parenting Teens)

(note: i was a little surprised to review what i’ve read and see that i’d only read youth ministry books that the Cartel published, or that i’d officially endorsed! instead of 2 sentence reviews in this section, i’m including the official endorsements i wrote for the publishers.)

smartphone-obsessed52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid: How to Engage with Kids Who Can’t Seem to Pry Their Eyes from Their Devices!, by Jonathan McKee

4 stars

I regularly find that parents want help, but don’t know where to find the good stuff. So much parenting advice is fear-based and impractical. But Jonathan’s gift to us is that he writes to parents from the intersection of hopeful parenting and practical ideas.

owning-faithOwning Faith: Reimagining the Role of Church and Family in the Faith Journey of Teenagers, by Ron Bruner and Dudley Chancey

4 stars

A cornucopia is a symbol of abundance and nourishment. As such, there’s no better metaphor for this book. Owning Faith is packed full of an abundance of nourishing challenges, encouragement and instruction, rooted in the best and most current research about creating a context for lasting faith to develop in teenagers.

smaller-church-youth-ministrySmaller Church Youth Ministry: No Staff, No Money, No Problem!by Brad Fiscus and Stephanie Caro

5 stars

In my coaching work with hundreds of youth workers across the US and abroad, I’ve become convinced of this truth: the pathway to fantastic youth ministry is shorter for small(er) churches. There are many reasons for this; but the two primary reasons are that small(er) churches often have the simple multigenerational realities in place for the sort of ministry that has long-term impact on the lives of teens; and, additional resources often end up becoming a seductive distraction, creating false-positive results where resources lead to impressive mass without substantive connection and belonging. Brad and Stephanie have written a wonderfully affirming and encouraging trail guide in this book, one that can lead any small(er) church into lifelong lasting impact on the faith of teenagers.

begin21Begin21: Your First 21 Steps with Jesusby Timothy Eldred

4.5 stars

Appropriately short and to the point, this helpful little book will be extremely helpful for thousands of teenagers who just made a choice to move toward Jesus. And, it will be equally helpful for the youth workers and other adults in the lives of those teenagers!

A Smart Church Has Young People at the Highest Levels of Leadership

 

many churches and youth ministries highlight teenagers from time to time (like “Youth Sunday”). some even include teenagers and young adults on committees and other leadership functions, but for the purpose of ‘raising up tomorrow’s leaders.’ in my most recent column for Youthwork Magazine (in the UK), i argue that a smart church has teenagers and young adults on leadership teams because they have something essential to contribute.

(note: this was written for a UK audience, and some of the language and terminology reflects that!)


What if our churches didn’t only move away from isolating teenagers and young adults, but moved beyond a patronizing, atta-boy, “oh, they’re so cute” approach that treats young people like junior members? What if our churches saw the powerful benefit of including 16 – 25 year olds in every aspect of congregational leadership, including oversight groups and planning teams? And what if this inclusion wasn’t merely in order to raise up future leaders, but was born out of an understanding that we are better with young people as part of our process?

For dozens of years now, churches with active youth programs have wrong-headedly moved toward isolating teenagers from the congregation. The thinking was: teenagers will learn best, and be most happy, if they’re with “they’re own kind.”

I have a somewhat cynical additional reason why I think so many churches have moved in this direction: it allows adults to feel like they’re caring for youth without actually needing to be with youth. Everyone wins!

Except: that’s not true.

When youth and young adults are siloed: everyone loses.

I could make this case many ways, not the least of which is that research has made it clear that the faith formation of young people—if we hope for any chance of a faith that lasts beyond their involvement in a youth ministry—is highly correlated to engagement with a congregation.

But I’d like to suggest a developmental reason why any organization—certainly churches included—absolutely need to have teenagers and young adults on leadership teams, planning committees, and any other sort of decision-making group. This reason is anchored in brain development, but must be viewed through the less-common lens of “teenagers are a wonder to behold,” rather than the more-common lens of “teenagers are problem to be solved.”

Maybe you’ve heard this, but in the last dozen or so years we’ve discovered that brains aren’t fully developed until the mid- to late-20s. One of the most significantly underdeveloped parts of the brain is the frontal lobe. And those babies are responsible for a handful of fairly helpful critical thinking skills, like: decision-making, wisdom, prioritization, impulse control, planning, organization, and focus.

Through a negative lens (the most common way of viewing young people), that underdevelopment quickly leads to the reaction: What a subhuman, broken mess! No wonder they’re such a nightmare!

But through a positive lens (most common for scientists studying teenage brains; and most aligned with a Christian commitment to consider God’s creation intention), the resulting response should be: Wow! These people are perfectly tuned, specialized for particular contributions that older folk struggle with.

Teenage and young adult brains are specifically and fantastically wired for passion, creativity, invention, dissatisfaction with mediocrity and status quo, and the demand that things make sense. (Oh, and in addition: they are at the pinnacle of learning capacity, which sharply trails off starting in the late 20s.)

Let me reverse-engineer that last paragraph for church leadership:

Not including the highly specialized brains of young people means that a group is intentionally choosing to continue with the way things are currently done, embracing a lack of creativity, completely missing cross-current re-direct options, and settling for mediocrity.

Too often, church leadership team members are merely selected for their donation levels or the impressiveness of their business world job titles. But the best teams (in any context) intentionally include some divergent thinkers.

Teenagers and young adults = divergent thinkers.

Including young people at the highest levels of leadership and decision-making in a church won’t necessarily lead to brilliance. It can be messy. Teenagers and young adults lack the maturity and experience that, hopefully, others will bring. And I’m certainly not suggesting an entire leadership committee made up entirely and exclusively of teenagers and young adults. A team comprised entirely of divergent thinkers is—I’ll spare you hyperbole on this one—not best.

But the first time that 19-year-old member of the church oversight committee asks, “Um, can someone explain to me why we’re doing this?” – now you’ve got movement!

 

 

 

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!

A reminder of what we get to do and how it works

We’ve told Bible stories to teenagers as examples of how God wants to use even them. So shouldn’t it make sense that God wants to use even us? Even you? Even me? And doesn’t it follow that God will work through us to draw teenagers to him, whether we have brilliant youth ministry skills or not, whether we have the right approach or not?

A modern-day story, shared with me some time ago by a friend of mine, gifted veteran youth pastor Sam Halverson (author of One Body: Integrating Teenagers into the Life of Your Church):

Sam had a teenage guy in his group (we’ll call him Tim) who’d shown no spiritual interest whatsoever and was normally brooding and dark in his outlook. At a particular worship time, the students in Sam’s group were given some space to reflect on their spiritual lives. Tim sat by himself and was drawn into a very personal something. Sam couldn’t tell what was going on, whether Tim was having a profound spiritual moment, or was angry, or something else. He noticed Tim with his head down; as Sam moved around the room and neared Tim, he could tell Tim was in the midst of something intense. Sam said he had no idea what to do. Should he interrupt what was possibly a personal moment between Tim and God and ask Tim what was going on? Should he lay hands on Tim and pray for him? Should he leave Tim alone?

Sam, feeling helpless and bumbling, lightly touched Tim on the shoulder and said, “I’m here.” Tim only nodded but said nothing. As he walked away, Sam felt he’d probably blown it, that there was likely something better he should have done (but he had no idea what that better thing would have been).

A week later, Tim’s mom called Sam about another issue. At the end of the call, she said, “Oh, and I wanted to tell you thanks for what you did for Tim.” Sam was confused. Tim’s mom continued, “Tim told me that he was really struggling with whether or not God even exists. In that prayer time, Tim was begging God to reveal himself. He prayed, ‘If you’re real, God, then do something—right now—to say “I’m here!” ’ Tim told me that the second he prayed that, you put your hand on his shoulder and said, ‘I’m here.’ ”

The fact is: Sam is a great youth worker. He’s smart and relational and creative and caring. But that moment with Tim had nothing to do with Sam’s youth ministry skills. Sam felt like he’d blown it! But God was working through Sam and in Tim.

Adding a Cultural Descriptor

back in 2007 or 2008, when Scott Rubin and i were writing the manuscript for Middle School Ministry: a Comprehensive Guide to Working With Early Adolescents, i wrote a chapter with seven descriptors of middle school culture. not long after the book was published in 2009, i realized they were descriptors of youth culture in general. then, a bit later, i realized they were apt descriptors of western culture in general, which brought me to the realization that my original identification of these realities was more about encroaching cultural realities, rather than uniquenesses of being a young teen (or teenager) in america today.

the uniqueness, for teenagers, is that they are indigenous to this culture (and these realities), whereas those of us over 30 are immigrants. for example: i live in a culture of information just as much as a 13-year-old does; but my immigrant status allows me to see it (if i choose to). for a teenager, it’s the air they breath, and the only cultural realities they’ve every known. that means their identities and world view and faith have been inseparable shaped by these realities every day of their entire lives.

a few years ago, i posted a blog series on these descriptors, and multiple people suggested an eighth descriptor (in varying language), which i’d then added as the fourth on this list:

  • A Culture of Information
  • A Culture of Immediacy
  • A Culture of Disposability
  • A Hyper-Sexualized Culture
  • A Culture of Consumerism
  • An Intense but Temporary Culture
  • A Networked Culture
  • A Driven/Sedentary Culture

reading an article in Time magazine the other day, i realized another shaping descriptor that needed to be my ninth:

  • An All-Access Culture

this reality has overlap with the first two on the list (really, all of them have overlap with one another, informing each other and creating the soup of cultural experience). but i think it’s worth noting separately.

until very recently, our lives, and the information we had access to, were almost-completely curated by people and organizations who acted as gate-keepers.

publishers curated reading options (books, magazines, newspaper). and our options were significantly limited by these gatekeepers.

TV was curated by a few networks and their broadcast schedules. i very much remember, as a child, how all of the kids playing on my detroit block would run simultaneously run inside on friday nights to make sure we didn’t miss The Brady Bunch at its scheduled broadcast time.

of course, there are still gatekeepers and curators (for good or ill). but in a revolutionary shift, most people now choose what (information, entertainment) to consume, from a functionally endless or infinite catalog of options. and most people now choose when they will access this what. and the what is just as likely to be user-generated (social media, for example) as it is to be curated. in fact: teenage engagement with information and entertainment certainly skews to user-generated content (us older folks access some of both, but still rely quite a bit on curators).

think about how this reality would shape you if it’s all you’d ever known. there are upsides, to be sure (cultural realities almost always have benefits as well as risks): having the ability to make choices is empowering, and offers us the advantage of parsing our intake toward our interests.

but this shift brings threats also, particularly when it shapes everything you understand about yourself and the world. some possibilities (i would love to hear more in comments below) include an increase in narcissistic egoistic perspective, along the lines of “i’m the best arbiter of what has worth.” marinating in an All-Access Culture for your entire life (and particularly, your formative years) could also lead to a distrust or dismissal of input from those with informed perspectives, or curators with the best intentions (like: a youth worker).

thoughts? additional implications?

 

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.