Tag Archives: youth ministry blogs

if the youth ministry blogging world had tectonic plates, they would have just shifted

i was just sitting here at my desk, thinking of all the changes i’ve been involved in over the past four or five years, and i had an image in my minds-eye of a rubber duck riding down a stream that — while just a stream from a human view — feels pretty crazy to the duck!

experientially, i’m pretty qualified to notice when change in the youth ministry world is significant (or if it’s only being positioned that way).

and, when josh griffin and doug fields (along with their downloadyouthministry.com partner matt mcgill and 8 other guests) launch a new youth ministry blog, it’s worth noting.

josh has had the #1 blog in the youth ministry world for a few years, and seeing the numbers behind the rankings, i can tell you that no one was even remotely nipping at his heals. then, the youth ministry veteren but blogging rookie, doug fields, started blogging. and, no surprise, within a year, had become the #2 youth ministry blog (bumping me down to #3, by the way!).

so, josh deciding to leave morethandodgeball.com behind, and doug deciding to shift his blogging over (in effect, shutting down his #2 blog) is a big change!

josh’s old blog — morethandodgeball.com — is being reimagined by simply youth ministry. it will now have a team of bloggers, and will — i’m confident — remain a very important (and leading) voice. if you don’t follow that one, you should.

but LoveGodLoveStudents.com, which will redirect you to the new download youth ministry blog, is the place where josh and doug will now be posting. it’s already live (started last week), and extremely active. i’m following it already, and would encourage you to do the same.

love god love students

top 25 youth ministry blogs

in case you missed it on The Youth Cartel blog, my partner in crime adam mclane has once again crunched the numbers and produced his annual list of the top youth ministry blogs (this year going to 25).

since people often ask how the list was formed, let me have adam speak for himself:

How is the list created?
The list is based on a composite score of 66% publicly available statistics, such as Alexa and Google Page Rank, and 33% an influence rank voted based on a vote by the previous year’s top bloggers. The first step is to research the publicly available statistics for the 150+ blogs on the index. Next, I rank the statistical strength of each blog. Then, I ask those currently on the list to rate each of the Top 50 blogs for influence. Finally, the human ranking is added in with the statistical rankings to create the composite ranking published here.

whyismarko dropped a position this year, due to doug fields entering the world of blogging (good on ya’, doug). but i’m thrilled to still be at #3, and am glad to see adam at #4 and the still-new Youth Cartel blog come in at #14.

other observations:

  • like many of you, i wish there were more female bloggers on the list. there are 3 (since the FYI blog is 1/2 kara powell), including newcomer rachel blom. but i wish there were more.
  • i wish there were more non-evangelicals on the list. heck, i’m an evangelical — but i would prefer more diversity, as i like to be stretched by thinking that’s not always similar to my own.
  • i’m thrilled to see SEVEN blogs make the list that weren’t on it last year! that’s fantastic.
  • there are a handful of blogs that i so strongly wish had made the cut. i have to believe it’s just because not enough people know about them. some of those (off the top of my head) include: brian berry, paul martin, joel mayward, rj grunewald, brooklyn lindsey, youthHOPE, and scott milller (all excellent youth ministry blogs that i follow).

ok, enough of that. here’s the 2012 list of the top 25 youth ministry blogs:

2012 Rank Name URL 2011 Rank
1 Josh Griffin http://www.morethandodgeball.com/ 1
2 Doug Fields http://dougfields.com 7
3 Mark Oestreicher http://whyismarko.wpengine.com 2
4 Adam McLane http://adammclane.com 4
5 Jonathan McKee http://blog.thesource4ym.com/ 10
6 Tim Schmoyer http://studentministry.org 3
7 Fuller Youth Institute http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/ 8
8 Adam Walker Cleaveland http://pomomusings.com/ 6
9 Kurt Johnston http://www.juniorhighministry.com/ 19
10 Youth Specialties http://youthspecialties.com/blog 5
11 Brian Kirk, Jacob Thorne rethinkingyouthministry.com 13
12 youthministry360 youthministry360.com NR
13 Jeremy Zach http://www.reyouthpastor.com 9
14 Greg Stier gregstier.org 16
14 The Youth Cartel http://theyouthcartel.com/blog/ NR
16 Ian MacDonald http://www.youthblog.org 12
17 Walt Mueller http://learningmylines.blogspot.com/ 18
18 Youth Leader Stash youthleaderstash.com NR
19 Chuck Bomar http://www.collegeministrythoughts.com/ NR
20 Rachel Blom http://www.youthleadersacademy.com NR
21 Mike King http://king.typepad.com/mike_king/ 17
21 Jake Bouma http://www.jakebouma.com/ NR
23 Kenda Creasy Dean http://kendadean.com/ 20
24 Matt McGill http://lovegodlovestudents.com NR
25 Terrace Crawford http://terracecrawford.com/ 19



top 20 youth ministry blogs

youth specialties has published their annual ‘top 20 youth ministry blogs‘ again. fine work by adam mclane. i’m honored to be on this list, and in the company of some fine blogs. i’m a little jealous of the amazing josh griffin, who leap-frogged me this last year, moving from #3 to #1.

i found adam mclane’s commentary, on his own blog, to be very helpful. like adam, i sure wish there were more women in this mix, but am glad to see kara powell (1/2 of the fuller youth institute blog) rise higher on the list, and see kenda dean appear. sad that tash mcgill dropped off. would love to see brooklyn lindsey‘s blog make the top 20 also. i was hoping my friend brian berry, who is coming on like a storm this year, would crack the top 20. apparently he was close in raw numbers, but dropped when influence was factored in. but give that another year, and brian’s blog will rise. i’m also hopeful that paul martin‘s stellar youth ministry blog will make the top 20. he has such fantastic stuff. same with joel mayward. in my super-secret plans for the youth cartel, i’m going to do what i can to promote some of these emerging voices in the next year. stand by for that.

ultimately, this list isn’t about who’s #2 or #17. instead, it’s a helpful tool for finding blogs to follow. add ’em all to your reader and follow them for a while. then, if they don’t scratch your itch, you can drop ’em. easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

here’s the list:

2011 Rank / Blogger Name, with link / (2010 Rank)
1 Josh Griffin (4)
2 Mark Oestreicher (2)
3 Tim Schmoyer (3)
4 Adam McLane (5)
5 Youth Specialties Blog (1)
6 Adam Walker Cleaveland (6)
7 Doug Fields (NR)
8 Fuller Youth Institute (13)
9 Jeremy Zach (11)
10 Jonathan McKee (12)
11 Orange Leaders (7)
12 Ian MacDonald (9)
13 Rethinking Youth Ministry (NR)
14 Terrace Crawford (26)
15 Chris Folmsbee (8)
16 Greg Stier (29)
17 Mike King (15)
18 Walt Mueller (10)
19 Kurt Johnston (19)
20 Kenda Creasy Dean (NR)

my current blog roll

i spent some time the other day cleaning up my blog reader. i removed blogs that haven’t had a new post in months, and changed the names to the name of the person (if there is one), as i often forget who’s blog i’m reading when i only see the blog name!

so here’s what i’ve got in my blog reader these days. i try to keep it paired down — i just don’t have time to read hundreds of blogs every day. but these are the ones i look at at least once a day. there are dozens of others – particularly youth ministry blogs – that i check in on from time to time, but aren’t listed here.

the categories are somewhat arbitrary – they’re just what work for me!

scot mcknight
seth barnes
tash mcgill
david hayward
asbo jesus
andy marin
jonny baker
andrew jones
tony jones
dan kimball

youth ministry (this is a tough category for me, because there are SO many wonderful youth ministry blogs. i read dozens and dozens more than this on an occasional basis. but these are the handful i find the most thoughtful and challenging, or, frankly, are just friends of mine in youth ministry that i want to stay current with.)
chris folmsbee
mark riddle
mike king
fuller youth institute blog
josh griffin
ypulse (ypulse isn’t a youth ministry blog, actually. it’s a youth culture blog, focused on publishing, advertising and for teenagers.)
kurt johnston
lars rood
johnny scott
brooklyn lindsey
adam mclane

ymcp (these youth ministry bloggers are in my youth ministry coaching program)
robb gossen
paul martin
luke macdonald
zack weingartner
marty estes
andy sahl
chuck hilman
joel mayward
andrew sale
jeff goins

journey (my church)
brian berry (generations and high school pastor, close friend)
josh treece (the former middle school guy)
todd tolson (former discipleship guy, and long-ago middle school pastor, now a church planter)
christina robertson (christina is our middle school pastor, and i’m one of her volunteers)
riptide blog (the middle school ministry)
ed noble (lead pastor, and friend of over 20 years)

humor and oddities
passive aggressive notes
fail blog
mcsweeney’s lists
new math
exploding dog

david crowder
zach lind

mark dowds
indexed (the pithy little 3×5 thoughts of jessica hagy)
mark aardsma (fellow participant with me in townsend’s coaching program; super-smart young business mind)
dave palmer (buddy, former ys marketing dude, freelance marketing genius)
donavon roberson (culture evangelist at zappos.com, former youth worker, and a guy i’m dreaming some stuff up with)
max (max, my son, isn’t posting often, but they’re fun when he does.)

the new phone books are here!

so, i still think steve martin’s movie, ‘the jerk’, is one of the funniest movies ever made. jeannie and i still quote it all the time:

– there are CANS in there!
– i was born a poor black child
– i don’t need anything… except this ashtray

and, of course…

– the new phone books are here! i’m SOMEBODY now!

and that’s a little how i felt when i noticed i had a few incoming links today from the church relevance blog, and their annual survey of the top 100 church blogs (usually plus extras — this year, +41). i’ve actually found this list more than merely interesting this year, as i’ve referenced it several times in some of the consulting work i’m doing.

but this year, whyismarko actually made the list! woo-hoo! i didn’t quite make the 100, albiet; but thankfully, those extra 41 were included. and i came in at a very happy 104.

the much bigger news that my little blog making the list is that the list finally seems to be acknowledging the many excellent youth ministry blogs out there. last year’s list only had 2 (adam walker cleaveland and josh griffin). but this year’s list has 7 youth ministry blogs, including:
adam walker cleaveland (pomomusings), at #39
tim schmoyer (life in student ministry), at #88
youth specialties blog, at #89
mine, at #104
josh griffin (more than dodgeball), at #112
jonathan mckee (the source for youth ministry), at #127
and ian macdonald (youthblog), at #128

kent shaffer, of church relevance, uses a different set of metrix than adam mclane used when ranking the top 20 youth ministry blogs (and, while the youth specialties blog is run by adam, his personal blog should have easily made this top 140 church blogs list also). but i’m just happy to see 7 youth ministry blogs on the list.

top 20 youth ministry blogs

adam mclane’s research is complete, and he posted his list of the top 20 youth ministry blogs on the ys blog earlier this week. i’m super pleased to see whyismarko somehow land at #2. to be honest, i’m rather surprised by this, as it seems like my traffic never fully recovered from the 6 month blog sabbatical i took last year (and, even since i’ve started blogging again, my traffic has been on a slow downward arc). some of my slowing traffic, i’m sure, is that i have chosen to not care about it like i used to (the old 2 posts a day, every single day approach i used to use). these days i post when i want to, and rarely more than once a day. and if three days go by without a post, i choose to not care.

my ranking was certainly helped by the fact that, for whatever reason, my technorati ranking is pretty good at the moment (526), while josh griffin’s blog (who, i’m VERY confident, gets WAY more readers than mine) has an oddly low technorati ranking at the moment.

i like adam’s approach of considering influence as a subjective portion of the rankings. all rankings are, ultimately, subjective in one way or another (the compiler chooses which metrics to care about, which are often in opposition to one another). but i think the list will be even better next year, when those voting on influence are the last year’s top 20 (or, will that make it worse, like a church elder board that has the power to choose their own replacements!?).

some of the list are the expected standards of youth ministry blogging. but i was pleased to see tash mcgill pop up from 41 last year to 16 this year. tash is one of the only female bloggers on the list (kara powell of the fuller youth institute blog being the other), and one of only two non-US bloggers (the other being ian mcdonald of the UK-based youthblog). her blog is really worth reading (she’s a great writer), and i’m glad this list will give her more exposure. i’m also a fan of jeremy zach (as a person, youth worker, and blogger), and glad to see his blog on the rise.

the two biggest “injustices” on the list, in my opinion, are josh griffin not being in the top 2, and the fuller youth institute blog coming in at 13, where it actually dropped from #5 last year. the FYI blog is, i think, the single best youth ministry blog out there. if i were creating a “blogs youth workers should read” list of my own (100% weighted on my subjective opinion), the FYI blog would be #1. i’m not sure how it could drop this year, as the content is better than ever. but i have to believe it’s because not enough people know about it, and with the addition of “influence” in adam’s formula this year, it didn’t score high enough with those who provided the input on that factor. (there’s also a little “injustice” in people who barely ever blog at all making the list. for example, my good friend chris folmsbee makes the list at #8, a climb from #21 last year, but hasn’t posted since mid-march! or, how ’bout mark riddle, who rose this year also, but hasn’t posted since mid-january!)

ultimately, whether i made the list or not, i’m glad adam created it, because there are a few in the top 20 that i’ve never heard of — and i want to start following them.

here’s the list — happy reading!

2010 Rank / Blogger Name / Blog address (2009 Rank)
1 / Youth Specialties Blog / http://youthspecialties.com/blog (12)
2 / Mark Oestreicher / http://whyismarko.wpengine.com (3)
3 / Tim Schmoyer / http://studentministry.org (3)
4 / Josh Griffin / http://www.morethandodgeball.com/ (2)
5 / Adam McLane / http://adammclane.com (7)
6 / Adam Walker Cleaveland / http://pomomusings.com/ (1)
7 / Orange Leaders / http://www.orangeleaders.com/ (–)
8 / Chris Folmsbee / http://www.anewkindofyouthministry.com/ (21)
9 / Ian MacDonald / http://www.youthblog.org (9)
10 / Walt Mueller / http://learningmylines.blogspot.com/ (–)
11 / Jeremy Zach / http://www.reyouthpastor.com (28)
12 / Jonathan McKee / http://blog.thesource4ym.com/ (19)
13 / Fuller Youth Institute / http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/ (5)
14 / Mark Riddle / http://www.theriddlegroup.com/blog/index.htm (25)
15 / Mike King / http://king.typepad.com/mike_king/ (15)
16 / Tash McGill / http://tashmcgill.blogspot.com/ (41)
17 / Gavin Richardson / http://www.gavoweb.com/ (8)
18 / Matt Cleaver / http://mattcleaver.com/ (29)
19 / Kurt Johnston / http://simplykurt.com/ (10)
20 / Stevan Sheets / http://www.stevansheets.com/ (10)