It’s Personal Session Notes #OC19


It’s personal when everyone who shows up cares about the faith of every kid.



Everything in your church changes when relationships matter. 

Tom Shefchunas @Coachshef 


His church moves on through broken organizations and people.

Book: When Relationships Matter

If small groups become your primary answer, then that ultimate changes everything you do…eventually

Look at your checkbook and calendar. What does that reflect on your goal? Do you do a full message or set small group leaders up to have relationships. 

“At OC19, a MINISTRY PROOF is an exercise to prove a complex strategic statement by using self-evident, obvious, and “amenable” truths stacked together like Legos.”

My ministry has an effect on a kid who is not involved in ministry. 

One of the worse strategies is losing a kid who is in my ministry. 

I need to PERSONALLY pay attention to who is leaving my ministry. 

Some kids have to leave my ministry. (Move, 

Some kids/students/families choose to leave my ministry. 

As a steward of my ministry, I should find out why. 

It’s harder to leave people than a program. 

The more connected a kid/student is to a person (or people) at church the better chance we have to keep them. 

I personally can’t connect deeply enough to all my kids/students and I need people to help me. 

High-quality Christians make high-quality connections. 

The higher quality connections we make the more we can do for kids as and their faith. 

The best way to communicate and nurture the core aspects of our faith is within the context of a strong relationship. (AKA: Discipleship)

My primary goal needs to be to MAKE RELATIONSHIPS MATTER MORE. 

I need to leverage every resource I have to ensure that kids have quality relationships and that those relationships grow. 

I’ve got some things I need to change. 

If small groups become the primary answer, then that ultimately changes everything you do.

When we go “all in” on quality long-term groups – not only will it change everything you do – groups will become your answer to almost everything. 

I need to PERSONALLY pay attention to who is leaving my ministry. 

People leave ministry not people…harness the power of small groups. 

Text “imin” to 404.445.2198


Do you know my name? 

Crystal Chiang @CrystalcChiang

Knowing someone’s name lets them know that they matter. 

Kids are always in a crowd, they just want to be seen. 

You know what’s it’s like when the barista gets your name right. 

You know what it feels like when a teacher takes the time to learn how to say your name…or when they don’t. 

When you get to know their name, you get the right to know more than their name. 

Who will know their name next? 

After high school, someone needs to know their name. We know what’s next and point them to what’s next. 

If we were honest though, it’s a long way from here to there. It’s a long way from now to what’s next. From high school ministry to college ministry. 

What happens when nobody knows their name? 

There are going to be days where they will wonder if the family of God is still a family for them. 

If stats are true we will lose 7 out of 10 in the transition from here to there. 

You might graduate from this roaster but you can’t graduation from this relationship.

I wonder what would happen if we stopped points towards and started walking with?


Seen People See People

“There is a skill in learning to be present.” -Reggie Joiner

“No one person can no every person’s name in our ministry…Multiply the impact so every person can be seen.” Kara Powell

“What if we could recruit leaders who see the kids sitting on the back row. To see the kids who are so infrequently seen.” Kristen Ivey

Concept: If you give a popular kid 100% attention, he will feel 10% but if you give the unpopular kid that half that they usually feel it 100%

“The church should be different and not reinforcing the hierarchy.” Kara Powell

“Business is the enemy of spirituality.”


Hear the voice of those who are not being heard. 

Danielle Strickland @djstrickland 

The desire in God’s heart is for connection.

There’s a divine strategy called ‘personal.’

What will you do with the king of Israel? Kiss the Son. Psalm 2

What am I going to do with the bigness? The magnitude? What am I going to do? I’m going to send a little baby and this personal shift will change everything. 

God has a name, love has a name. This proximity is a divine strategy. 

The desire in God’s heart is for connection.

He is no longer a slave to you, he is your brother. 

Tackle massive issues with the relationship. 

How do you perpetuate slavery if your brothers with the slave? Proximity changes everything. 

Sometimes you need to know their names. 

Moses and Elijah disappear and there is only Jesus.

Jesus goes down off the mountain of transfiguration and he encounters a father with a son in pain. Jesus said to bring the boy to me. If you had faith the size of the mustard seed tells the mountain to move. 

“You want to move something big, do something small.” Danielle Strickland

You want to actually change sexual slavery, why don’t you admit your porn addiction and get some help.

You want to dismantle slavery, be a brother.

If you want to do these massive things, then make it personal. Mustard seed faith, something small to change something big. 

First, you need to know their name, and then they need to know their names. You’re the one to tell them and it can change everything. 

Flowers were meant to bloom. What are the odds that her street name would

“I’m not a very good singer but I’ve never killed anyone before.”

Stop trying to move the mountain start using the mustard seed. That name, that relationship, that proximity will change everything. 


Helping parents know they measure up

Kara Powell @KPowellFYI

The “Not Enough Monster”

The church tells us that we should be discipling our children, and we agree, but we don’t know how to do that. 

We feel overwhelmed, we don’t know where to start, so we do nothing. 

The not enough monster multiples. We call this shame. 

Guilt is feeling bad about what we do. Shame is about feeling bad about who we are.

This then affects our kids, and they began to not feel enough. Not strong enough, not brave enough, not spiritual enough. 

The rising rates of suicide, anxiety, and depression. Social media and technology show us all the ways we do not measure up. 

Before you would hear about the part you missed after the weekend. Now they see it unfolding in real time on social media without them. 

There is no better place to deflate the Not Enough monster than the church. 

They are enough, you are enough because Jesus makes us enough. Jesus transforms us. 

We are enough because Jesus makes us enough. This is good news. Parents should be flocking to us in the church. They should be hungry for the parent seminars but that’s not your experience. 

How do you reach the other 80%

4 of the ages of phases when parents most need to know they are enough because Jesus is enough: 6, 13, 18, 23 (these are the trapeze ages where they are in the air for the next phase). 

Ages 6: Kindergarten phase. 

New schedule, new school, new social opportunities, new sports. Juggling a lot of balls and feel bad when they drop balls and make mistakes. The church can come alongside them and let them know blowing a scheduled playdate is not a big deal. Even if it was a mistake, Jesus is bigger than our mistakes. 

Age 13

The average parent feels behind their teen when it comes to technology because they are. We can let parents know they are enough. You don’t have to be paranoid but you can be prudent. 

Age 18

As a parent, you see a clock in your mind at all time. Wonder if you’re doing enough to help navigate the new opportunities and new temptations. Wonder if you’ve been enough of a parent since birth to set them up on the best trajectory. Some parents will get smaller and withdraw saying it’s too late now. Other’s get big and try to control. To turn to parent into a project and make a lot of lists. Better laundry skills. Need the church to remind me that I am enough because Jesus makes me enough. 

Age 23

New independence. Vocational, relations and spiritual choices. Parents are proud but some are not so quick to brag. Some drop out of school, get debt, move back home. The relationship they dreamed of is not materializing. They text but don’t hear back. We as the church can come alongside the family and let them know the chapter is choppy but God is not done with the families story yet, you are enough because Jesus makes us enough. 

Youth leaders don’t feel enough. Feel unqualified to offer resources and feel like we are guessing. 

Text “with” to 66866 for free resources for parents. 

Every parent and every person needs from you to remind them you are enough because Jesus makes you enough. 

The really good news is that Jesus is actually more than enough. Kara Powell


Do you know where I live?

Carlos Whittaker @loswhit

Physically: Absolutely but more than that. 

Do you know where I live…

Physically, culturally, socially, emotionally

Jesus never ministered from a distance. 

We get to come around those we are ministering to, step in their homes, and get more personal with them. The more personal it gets the messier it gets. The more personal we get, the more holy it gets. 

It’s okay that you don’t look like everyone else, just hold my hand and everyone will know you belong. 

When we know where they live, they will open their hands. 

When we know their name, it opens their hearts. But when we know where they live, they will open their hands.

When you get personal, it gets risky. It takes a risk in order to rescue.


Knowing me means knowing my context

Karl Vaters @KarlVaters 

Book: The Grasshopper Myth

If I took numbers off the table, would I call my church a healthy church? 

We seem like grasshoppers in our own eyes. 

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Influence is about leveraging small things. Influence is the new attendance.

#1 reason churches are growing, “The paster knows my name.” 

They want to be pastored by their pastor. 

Healthy large churches are pushing small groups and ministry teams because that’s where pastoring will get done. 


Dr. Bernese King


How do we as leaders experience the everyday context of other people and develop empathy? -Reggie

Intentionality. You have to be intentional about connecting with people whose stories you don’t know. 

It’s really about following Jesus, for real.

Jesus dared to connect with people when it was prohibited. 

Compassion pushes you to what to do something, but not doing something first without understanding. 

Dare to take risks, even where it becomes uncomfortable. 

We have to look in the mirror and examine our own prejudices and seek to rid ourselves of them.

We need each other. We have to learn how to create a real relationship with brothers and sisters even when we don’t agree with each other.

The next generation isn’t bringing a lot of the biases that we had!

Light belongs where darkness is so there is no more darkness.


When it’s personal to you

Doug Fields @DougFields ‏

When parenting became personal, it actually became more important to my ministry.

Leadership ultimately becomes powerful when your ministry becomes personal.

In our Christian subculture leaders ultimately becomes powerful when you build your platform, launch a podcast, go multi-site, or draw a crowd. 

Personal doesn’t happen from a distance. 

Jesus and the woman with an issue of blood.

Jesus turns his back on the crowd to care for one. The good shepherd will leave the 99 for the one. It seems outrageous until you’re the one. 

At this moment, Jesus makes eye contact and it becomes personal. The crowd was put on mute and she became the center of attention. 

Jesus called her “Daughter” making her feel like somebody. 

When leadership goes personal it restores confidence. 

The only one who could have thrown a stone didn’t pick one up. 

Ministry is messy. And sometimes the most beautiful and courageous kind of leadership is when we leave the crowd for the one.

What if our greatest ministry is not to more? What if it’s not about numbers. Jesus hung out with 12. What if the greatest leadership asset you have is to stop your world and love someone personally? 

Someone somewhere in your world is always in some type of pain.

Leadership ultimately becomes powerful when your ministry becomes personal.


What you don’t know can hurt you.

Sam Collier @SamCollier

I haven’t always been self-aware, but at least I’m self-aware about not always having been self-aware.

3 lessons to help me grow and be a better leader.

1. You can’t talk to old people that way.

Has anyone ever gone to a debrief meeting ready to ‘say something?

2. Sometimes you just have to get out of the way. 

Don’t let your ego get in the way of someone else’s potential

3. You’re not allowed to teach your wife anything.

Blindspot: Something negative that you do that impacts other people or you that you don’t see. What are your blind spots? 

Don’t get so focused on your public image that you miss your personal issues.

Next Step:
Write down your blindspots.
Ask two leaders to speak into this. 

Dr. Deborah Tillman @DeborahLTillman

Connection really matters. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Connect before you go in there and try to correct.

God had called me to have a mindset to mend them, heart to love them, spirit to serve them.

Families need encouragement. You’ll never really know what your hug will do. 

People really need to know and feel that they are enough. So many people feel guilty and laced with fear and doubt and shame.

Stop building walls and start building bridges. 

“All of our families have a complexity that the church needs to help you navigate.” Dan Scott 

No more hiding in church.

Clay Scroggins @clayscroggins

Do you look back on a season in your life and think, ‘That’s when God was really using me?

My biggest fear going into ministry was that I would spend all of my time around Christians. 

Make it better. 

Take it personal. 

The longer we are in ministry the longer we drift into making it better and further away from taking it personally. 

How can we get these people to show up in the lives of all the people outside of the building? 

The world gets bigger when you begin to see more of the world. 

You’ll never change the way the community sees the church until you change the way the church sees the community.

What could we do to start understanding the people outside our building?

You take it personally when your connection with someone becomes personal.

The man let down through the roof. They didn’t give up. They didn’t turn down. 

“Turn down for what”

For what would you turn down? What cause? Nothing. Nothing would cause me to turn down. 

Mark 2:5 Jesus was moved not by what they believed but by what they did based on what they believed. 

That’s not our correlate missing. That is MY mission. 

Quick asking for likes and get your church to go and like other people’s posts. It’s not all about praying for the people inside our church it’s about going out and knowing what to pray for in our community. 

“If our goal is to be the hope for the world, we’ve got to stop hiding in our church.”


Do you know what matters to me?

David Salyers @davidgsalyers

The difference between wisdom and knowledge. It’s not about what you know. This creates a culture of proving yourself. 

Knowledge is what we know, proving. Wisdom creates a culture of improving. 

Second-mile service is giving what people don’t expect.

Now we are more known for our services than our food. 

Our mission: To improve the story of the people we do business with. 

Prove it and Improve it.

Daddy Daughter Date Night. 99cent meals are great. Handwritten notes from your daughter are priceless. 

Do you know what I can do?

Gerald Fadayomi @GeraldFadayomi

This speaks to potential.

Do you know what I can do? I know that you are capable of and it’s so much more.

We love that lightbulb moment in the lives of a student where they realize what they can do because of the potential God placed in them.

Get out of our context and into their world. Show up at their game, in the school, in their Monday through Saturday.

What if we spent less time trying to get teenagers to show up in our church and instead trained small group leaders to show up in their lives.

We often speak into what we think students need and not into what they actually need.

They need positive attention.

What if we spent more time trying to get the student to show up to the church and spent more time getting volunteers to show up in their lives?

So often we speak to what we think students need and not to what they actually need.

Maybe they need someone to understand their identity so they don’t trade a part of themselves for something that won’t last.

Students will do more when they are invited to do more.

What would happen if we stopped doing ministry for students and started doing ministry with students?

Everybody Always

Bob Goff @bobgoff

If you get advice that rhymes, run! In order to give words of advice, you need to know scripture.

God needs people who know Scripture and will be available to people and speak to them in love.

The power of availability
If we’re going to be available we need to know why we are doing it. Why we do what we do.

If you’re leading young people for an applause join the circus.

Satan doesn’t need to destroy, he just needs to distract. You don’t want anything to distract you from Jesus.

You don’t want anything distracting you from Jesus. If this job ever gets between me and Jesus or me and you, I resign.

Don’t make people projects. People are people.

We ought to talk about people behind their back all the time. We just need to be talking about the right stuff.

You want to dazzle Jesus? Go be you.

If you’re messing up, don’t have a bible study, stop.

The world is full of crazy people, and guess what, you’re one of them.

You see a fin in the water…is it a dolphin or a shark?

It’s going to take a courage laden with faith and laden with obedience.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV

There’s something beautiful that happens when you get personal.

Make it personal with your family.
Bob buried a note to his unborn daughter forgiving her of wrecking the car.

Your inheritance is my friends. I don’t tell them what to do, I tell them who they are.

The thing about marble so special and unique is what makes it the weakest. The thing that makes me unique, can also be my weakest point. We need to bring it back to Jesus.

“Coffee drinks me to wake up.”

The anchor room is as big as the engine room. Let that sink in.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Be available to people and let them know why we do what we do.

Give us the guts and the grace to be your people.

#OC19 Breakouts Notes


For resources and slides check out

Maximizing My Time as a NextGen Pastor 

Gina McClain @gina_mcclain

Year one it’s new. Year 2 you built some equity. Year 3 some things you can’t get passed but need to deal with. Something in you needs to change. 

Relational challenge and in year 3 you wonder if you’re cut out for the position. Year 4 looking around because you wonder if something else would fit better? 

Tend to redefine ourselves as leaders every 4 years. 

“Your role as NextGen leader has more to do with WHO you are than WHAT you do. And who you are, has to do with what God is doing.”

#1 Know Your First Team

Peers vs. Direct-reports

Your teams need different things from you. You could be booths on the group, leading ministry directly. 

What are you advocating for in the grand scheme of things? When we know our first team it ensures we align with ministry leaders across the church. This brings unity and breaks silos. Understand where your objectives fit with the overall mission of the church. 

You have the ability and authority to bring peace in situations between silos. 

Action Step: 

Schedule consistent time with your First Team. 

#2 Prioritize Objectives

Working On vs. Working In

Working on it is a lot harder but at your seat, you have to spend time working on your ministry. How much of your time on your calendar is spent working ON your ministry?

Set annual, quarterly, and weekly objectives. 

Set weekly objectives every Monday.

Calendar time for evaluation and realignment – out of the office

Track your progress to see your wins. 

Can I schedule afternoons to work on ministry? Change locations to work ON ministry. Coffee shop. Write down specifics so you don’t give that time away to other things. 

Calling the Play vs. Running the Play

Not just what to do, but how to do it. 

How = action that moves toward objectives. 

How can be collaborative? 

Show them how to do it vs. leverage the influence of your team to figure out how. Connect the problem with the right person to help us resolve it. 

Playbooks: A great tool or resource that gives the How, What, and Why to do a job. How to be a coach playbook. You can’t work on the ministry unless you get out of the ministry weeds. 

Action Step: 

Calendar your objectives every Monday. 

Clean it up. Remove meetings not producing what needs to be produced. 

“Alignment is not created by new vision. But by restarting that which you lead toward over and over again.” Sam Roberts, Life Church Directional Leadership Team. 

Champion those you lead around the nextgen ministry. 

Your job is to be the bass drum

#3 Meet with a Purpose

Vision: alignment & setting source

Tactical: event/project drive or ministry-specific

Coaching: leader development & problem-solving.

Know WHO sets the agenda. 

Plan for what decelerates vs accelerates

Purge or repurpose regularly. 

When Coaching…

Let them know they are setting the agenda. 

Start with the question “What’s on your mind?”

What challenges are you facing?
Where are you winning?
What questions do you have?

If you bring answers to these 3 questions then you will maximize our time together. 

Book: The Coaching Habit by David Henzel

Action Step: 

Review your calendar quarterly & purge/change the unproductive. What meetings do not fit in the categories. 

Everything goes on your calendar. You have one life. It can all be tracked in the same place. This also helps with evaluation. 


Structure NextGen Staff to Move Further Faster

Dan Doerksen @DanDoerksen

Churches took their preexisting model of staffing and then called it nextgen. If you do this, you’re just going to be frustrated. Dan restructured and no longer had the traditional roles within his nextgen staff team. 

You don’t have to have a large staff to become innovative in your staffing…you don’t even need to have staff. Hire less on age group and more on their gifting and role. Empower them to do this 90% of their time. 

Gift-based hiring structure. 

You’re here because you have problems to solve. How do you balance the tension and frustration in the nextgen ministry? 

A very expensive nice tool sits in the box if you don’t know how to use it. The structure is this expensive tool. 

If you don’t know what to do with the tool it’s very dangerous to toy with. You need a good deal of wisdom and insight to pull off these staff changes. 

Structure = organizing people (org chart)

The structure is a tool that addresses your most stressful problems; people problems. The structure is personal. 

Every tool has its uses. This tool of structure can address these scenarios: 

You have great people…in the wrong roles.

Your staff coordinates well…but only with their own teams.

You have a highly creative team …but their quality is “meh”

Your team values excellence…but never innovates.

You have a new vision and strategy…but nothing changes. 

Why do you find yourself in a silo? Not silo by nature, but simply doing your job description. This is a structure and culture issue. 

Assumption #1: We need more staff. 

There are so many boxes on the org chart and my name is on all of them. Maybe you do need more staff or maybe it’s a structure issue. 

Book: Mark DeVries. Sustainable Children’s Ministry: From Last-Minute Scrambling to Long-Term Solutions.

1 FTE/50 kids, 1 FTE/75 teens

For every child that shows up, churches spend $1000 per kid per year. Salaries and budget combined. 

Instead of trying to fill all the seats on the bus, maybe you need to rearrange the seats. If your structure is a mess, adding another person will only increase the complexity. 

Assumption #2. We need better staff. 

Is it really a people issue? Maybe it is, but maybe it’s not. Let’s back up and ask, “Is this the person or the structure they are working in?”

Cognitive bias: Inside a situation, you see the factors. Outside looking in, you blame the situation. If your team member is failing, it will be tempting for you on the outside looking in to think it is their failure. We need to own how our staff is performing. We create the context to which they work. We have to look to ourselves first not them. 

Dance floor analogy – DeVries and Safstorm

Dancer rolls her ankle by going through the floor. No one repairs it but simply brings in a backup dancer and keeps going. Maybe your team members aren’t good dancers, but it’s awfully hard to get better when the floor is broken. Fix the floor first and then you’ll know what you’re working with.

Assumption #3. Our church is unique. 

You need to be a big church…small church…new church. The principles of how to structure will scale and transfer. 

Assumption #4. Our church isn’t unique. 

You can earn from others, but you can’t copy and paste. 

Sports analogy: teams don’t structure like different teams because they are playing different games. What is the strategy for your city within your culture? 

All dials and levers need to be adjusted together. When you change your strategy you need to change your structure. 

Assumption #5. We have to staff by age. 

Ex. If you want to reach teens, you hire a youth pastor. 

A “Divisional Structure” GM This is one way to structure your team. It because of the norm but it doesn’t mean it has to be. Maybe you don’t have to staff by age. 

Assumption #6: One person at the top. 

Unity of command; there has to be one person leading. 

It’s not wrong but it is optional.
Jay Galbraith’s Research: “When the challenges a corporation faces are so complex that they require a set of skills too broad to be possessed by any one individual.” Think outside the box. 

Freedom and authority to reach as many folks as possible. 

Core elements of Structure (dials on the tool of structure) 

Job Design: “Who is responsible for what?”

Product based-what is the product the church puts out in programs or services. Program based model. 

Demographic Based or market-based. What are my target market and staff around that market? 

Advantages: you can focus. One person with complete ownership of the process from front to back. The downside, a strong tendency to silos and misalignment. Multiple people doing the planning, marketing, and repletion of work instead of learning from each other. 

Function-Based. What are the same things across the ministry? Create that list and you have the suctions. Teaching, worship, tech, design, recruitment… take that ruction and turn that into a job description for all the miniseries in nextgen. 

Leader development and on-boarding from preschool to college. 

Programming development. Worship, props, teaching. 

Process-Based: step by step processed could be done by staff. Recruitment person, on-boarding person. A person for each of the process steps. Could be a staff member for first-time guests and one for members.

Authority: “Who can make what decision?”

You can give too much or too little authority. 

Don’t handcuff your people so they feel like what they are doing is insignificant. Loads of leadership potential but put into a helper role without authority. 

Span of Control: “How many people do you oversee?”

How wide is the org chart? With 3 people you can do a lot of training and coaching. If you want to grow you need to add layers. How does a person on level 5 talk to a person on level 2? 

A wide structure has less control but more autonomy. The people doing the ministry can make decisions. 

Coordination: “How does everyone communicate?”
How do you tie it all together so silo’s don’t form? 

The structure is all about communication paths. 

Next Steps #1 – Know your current structure. 

Do a task inventory. Do a time inventory. Track hours and know what they do and in how long. Find out what’s working and not working. If you could create your own job description, what would it be? If you could have any job, what would it look like?

Next Steps #2 – Plan for Growth

Stay flexible and figure out what can happen if you grow. How do you widen your span? Don’t get locked into one model. 

Next Steps #3 – Learn how to lead change

If you don’t think the structure is personal, try to change it. If you remove a title, it becomes personal. People don’t like change if they don’t understand it. 

Read: Leading Change Without Losing It – Carey Nieuwhof. 

Read: Leading Change – John Kotter

See the connections behind the connections. Let’s be brave enough and bold enough to look at our structure. 

“Let’s discover the structure for 2025 not maintain the structure of 1985.”

What is the strategy for today’s Church and what structure do we need to meet the needs of today’s world? 


Hiring, Onboard,, and Equip NextGen Staff for Success

Nina Schmidgall

Building the right team is one of the most important things you do in your role as a nextgen leader. 

Get the right people on the bus and get them situated in the right seat. 

Hiring: Finding the right people

“People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” Jim Collins

“The secret to my success is that we have gone to great lengths to hire the best people in the world.” Steve Jobs


“Define the position” Some folks get this wrong by listing tasks, instead focus on objectives. What’s the best profile and personality type for the position? Would this person thrive under MY leadership? Sometimes you need someone with a high level of maturity to handle the tough issues of ministry. Do you need someone who is trained in childhood development?  Management, Pastoral, or Education experience. You can’t just borrow a job description from someone down the street, assess what you need. 


Generate a list of potential candidates. Sit in a quiet room and make a list. Maybe the person is already on your team or in a volunteer role. Who would be ideal in this role? Dream about those who you would love to have do the job. Don’t say someone’s “no” for them. You can also post to job boards. Begin to draw on your network and fish for people. Put the word out there and send some direct emails. I’ve heard about you. I’ve dreamed about someone for this team and you might be the best fit. 


Step 1: Email initial questions 

Send everyone the initial list of questions. Few key questions that would identify candidates. 

What do you know about NCC? Why dod you want to work here?
What aspects of ministry do you find most fulfilling and meaningful?
Why have you chosen ministry to children and their families? 

What is your philosophy of Family Ministry?

What is one of your most memorable experiences where you saw God move in the life of a young person?
Share with us a difficult experience you have encouraged in ministry and how you navigated it. 

How has your experience prepared you for this position? Why do you feel as though you would be a qualified candidate?

What has been your experience in developing volunteer leaders? What about managing staff?

Do you know anyone that currently attends? Would they recommend you for this position and may we be in touch with them?

Step 2: 15-minute screening interview 

This will feel incomplete. Quickly get to know you. 

What types of ministry do you hope to be doing in the next 5-10 years? 

What are you not good at and don’t enjoy doing professionally?

Tell me about someone you currently disciple. 

Tell me the names of your last three bosses and how would they rate your performance on a scale of 1-5. 

Step 3: In-depth Interview. 

They will send covenant and theological questions. They will be walked through in written and interview. 

View of baptism, women in ministry, spiritual gifts, sexuality, how to handle conversations, are there any parts of the statement of faith that made you uncomfortable? 

Step 4: Group/Panel Interview (zoom call)

Staff unity matters in culture and making sure they fit. 




Step 5: Reference Check

People get reference checks wrong. To catch red flags so why give someone who would share that? 

Ask: How can we support this person best?

The person mentioned they struggled with _ will you tell me more about that? Open-ended questions

Step 6: Visit

Pastoral level position. 

Onboarding – Direct their Energy

Discovery (days -30) – commit to a listening and learning posture. 

Learn the system. 

Know the history

Develop (days 31-60) – establish a foundation and start building. Beginning to look at team development. 

Design (days 61-90) – start adjusting and implementing. Establish their own rhythm for the team. Identify systems for improvement. Implement and experiment. 

Culture Sharing

Peter Drucker says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

A healthy culture will keep your staff around a long time. 

A set of shared values and goals that characterize our organization.

What do you want your staff to know and live out? What shapes our ministry? Are we connecting kids with caring adults?

What will you do to keep your team aligned and healthy? 

Shared Values: 

Values help determine who you are about. 

Keep your people aligned


Influence behavior

Inspire action

We have a big God, we take big risks and we expect big results. 

Attitude – we live on the solution side of every issue. 

We exist for the lost and the least of these. 

Culture is a combination of what you expect and what you allow.” Craig Groeschel 

Ongoing Investment

Vision Cast Continually

“Vision focuses on what does not yet exist, but should.” George Barna

Meet Regularly. 

Get the right people in the right room to solve almost every problem. Get on the same page. 

Develop Consistently

Not training alone.

Evaluate, where are they currently. Where do they need to be going? 

Equip. Create a plan of where you want them to go.

Empower. Give them responsibilities so they can grow in that area. Give authority . 

Encourage Prayerfully

Don’t forget to encourage on an ongoing basis and pray for your team. 


Build A Comprehensive NextGen Strategy For Families

Nick Blevins

If we started from scratch, knowing what we know now, what would we do?

Think Orange (Soon-sh)
When Parents Win (Fall)

4 Levels of Parent Involvement

Parents who are are searching for an answer.

Outside your church but open to attending 

Interested in becoming better parents. 

Parents who are participating in church

Entry-level experience with your church taking steps to influence kids spiritually.

Parents who are applying a strategy 

Committed to partnering with the church and being responsible for spiritual leadership at home. 

Parents who are leading in ministry

Fully committed families who are leading at home and leading at church

Searching > Participating > Applying > Leading

It’s good having parents at every point on this spectrum. 

“The goal is not to get parents to do everything, but to engage them to do something more.” Reggie

5-Part Strategy for Parting with Parents

#1 Small Group Leaders

Connect kids and students to WHO

“Someone who chooses to invest in the lives of a few to encourage authentic faith.”

Applying and Leading

Leading SGL’s to show up outside the church

Help SLG’s connect with parents

SGL + Parent Open House event (MVP Box)

Small group leader + Parent breakfast/lunch

Small group leaders are your best partnership with parents. The best strategy in the world isn’t worth as much as an invested SGL. 

#2 Communication

Inform parents HOW

Searching & Participating 

Email (Inform Parents) Consider how many emails and if they have more kids.
Text (Remind Parents) 98% read – 1 or 2 a week and a reminder to lead faith at home.

Instagram (Celebrate Experiences) 5x engagement per post compared to FB.

Facebook (Resource Parents) Do it consistently. 

Website (Help Visitors) How do I know where to go? How do I check my kids in?

Apply & Learn

1-on-1 Conversations

Feedback Loops (Surveys, emailed questions, etc.) 

Facebook Groups

#3 Resources

Equip parents with WHAT

Searching & Participating 

Curriculum Resources 

Parent Cue App
Parent Cue Blog

Parent Cue Podcast

Applying & Leading

Bibles / Bible App

Topical Resources

Parenting Books


#4 Events

Help parents celebrate WHEN

Searching & Participating 

Transition Events (Preschool > Elementary > Middle School > High School)

Milestone Events – Core (Baby Dedication, Salvation, Baptism, Graduation)

Applying & Leading

Family Events

Milestone Events – Extended (Bible Presentation, Preparing for Adolescence, Identity, Integrity, Adulthood) 

Family Framework

Help people celebrate something

Help move people somewhere 

Help parents replicate and experience 

#5 Community

Connect parents to WHO

Searching & Participating 

Small group for parents

Small group parent gatherings

Coffee talks

New family orientation 

Applying & Leading

Parent Classes

Parent Events

Parent/Child small group experiences – Treasured

Parent Mentoring

Marriage Ministry

Make Your Plan

Searching > Participating > Applying > Leading

Less difficult > More difficult 

Less time > More time

Less money > More money

Less options > More options

Less transactional > More relational

Less general > More individual 

Less anonymity > More accountability 

In short…it becomes more personal 


Important Notes

This will always feel like EXTRA.

Partnering with parents is a MARATHON not a sprint. 

If everything is a priority NOTHING is.

Every church is UNIQUE and will not prioritize the same way. 

A NextGen strategy for families should work with a church-wide DISCIPLESHIP STRATEGY for adults. 

“You teach what you know but you reproduce who you are.” Howard Hendricks

Parents replicate who they are in their kids.

Disciple the parents, disciple the kids


Gather a TEAM of people to help

Work together to MAKE your plan

Be FREE from the pressure to do everything

Do what makes sense for YOUR church and YOUR context NOW.


38 Quotes from #OC19 Session 1


Jon Acuff @JonAcuff 

“You’re here (Orange) because someone made it personal for you.”

“When it’s personal, people are not an interruption they are the reason we do what do.” 

“When you make it personal, you make a person 3D. The internet makes people 2D. It’s easy to hate an idea, it’s hard to hate an individual.”

“It’s easy to hate an idea, it’s hard to hate an individual.” 

“If your hustle costs you deeply, your hustle is too expensive.” 

“Ask, ‘What do you need?’ Then actually act on it. When you act, they become visible and valuable.” 


Virginia Ward @vawardwow

“The church should be the best place for a kid to find hope.”

“It’s easy to feel invisible as a teenager, especially when you don’t fit into one of the ‘boxes’.” 

“They valued my personal dreams.”

“We are going to take our cues from Jesus when it comes to making it personal.” 


Kristen Ivy @Kristen_Ivy

“What if the opposite of personal is being shallow?”

“We can all be a little shallow sometimes.”

“If there’s pain that we can’t recognize in the church then the hope we offer is shallow.”

“If we can’t feel someone pain the healing we offer is shallow.” 

“No one needs to be seen by everybody but everybody needs somebody who sees them.”

“You can’t stop being shallow unless you learn not just to see someone but to be seen.”

“There’s a generation of too many kids and teenagers who are longing to be seen.” 


Reggie Joiner @reggiejoiner 

“It was clear no one in the crowd saw Zacchaeus the way Jesus did.”

“Everybody needs somebody to see them like Jesus does.”

“Jesus never allowed public opinion change his personal view of people.”

“Maybe Jesus chose to see Zacchaeus in front of everyone that day so Zacchaeus could see himself in a different way.”

“Something remarkable happens when you start seeing people the way Jesus sees them.”

“Don’t get so preoccupied in the busyness of trying to save everyone that you don’t stop to save someone.” 

“Pause long enough to make it personal. You can’t be personal with a crowd, you can only be personal with a person.”

“One of the greatest things that we can do to train leaders and volunteers is to remind each other that everything we do boils down to one-to-one discipleship.”

“Jesus took the time to enter into Zacchaeus’ everyday context.”

“Jesus doesn’t let the crowd determine His love for people.”

“Jesus took the time to understand someone the crowd detested.”

“Jesus believed in Zacchaeus’ potential to be generous. He saw something no one else saw.”

“Jesus had a way of replacing shame with hope.”

“What if we, like Jesus, looked into a generation and helped them believe that their past doesn’t have to identify them.”

“When someone smarter and wiser sees our potential, we start believing in it as well. We all need someone to see us.”

Key questions to lean into a relationship with a kid:
Do you know their name?
Do you know what matters to them?
Do you know where they live?
Do you know what they’ve done?
Do you know what they can do? 

“Like Zacchaeus, WE are short. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 

“We are so programmed to see the bad in the world that we fail to see the potential of people created in the image of God.”

“Jesus shows up to say, ‘You are worth redeeming.’”

“If we believe in Jesus…We should be the first ones on the front lines to say to people, ‘Yes, you can change.'” 

“What if Jesus hadn’t stopped? What if someone hadn’t stopped in my life?”


#OC19 YouLead Notes with @fbealer, @birk51, @vinceparker, and @jessicabealer



Get Everyone To Pay Attention with Frank Bealer @fbealer

We are going to turn up the dial on “It’s Personal” and this might feel overwhelming at times. It might feel like another thing to do but it’s more than that.  

Who’s going to come alongside you to be the filter to make sure you are doing the right principles. 

How many of you hand out resources to parents?
Social media channels for your church?

How do I convince leaders and parents to pay attention to what matters? We must turn up the dials on Pay Attention and What Matters

“Every time we get a leader or parents attention, we either build or erode trust.” 

It’s that one time at the right time that matter most. 

Attention + Trust = Impact (x repeat)

When we build trust we get influence and we get the opportunity to impact their future. But were are not done there, we must repeat the cycle. It’s a constant cycle for us to not take for granted that we have people’s trust.

Advertisements retarget and follow you. Now when you go to their webpage you are retargeted and followed. The advertisements start popping up everywhere. You can’t keep getting louder and demanding to get people’s attention. 

How do we convince people to pay attention? Error in the question. They are not willing to PAY but they will TRADE attention. Everyone is aware of this cost. 

If your volunteer training doesn’t help them win at home then you’re missing the point. They are looking for something that trades their attention. Something that’s helpful today AND in their future. Word things in a way that helps them see the benefit tomorrow not in the future. 

What if instead of focusing on saving $20 today it was “Hey parents, we have a limited number of spots today and we are going to be focusing on entitlement. We want to let you know this will be a big focus for us this year and we just wanted to come alongside you to help with this issue. We heard you and we want to help you win. (Also helps parents know they are not in this alone or the only one going through it.)

Families are very attentive to making bad trades. How do we know it’s worth our exchange.  Add value to parent’s lives. 

Attention is so extremely valuable, but we didn’t steward it well.

Most are deciding Sunday morning if they are going to attend church or not. They aren’t thinking about hitting snooze but deciding between two good options. We must communicate that we want something for them and not something from them. It’s not about celebrating the numbers there. We want you there because this is what it will create for your family tomorrow. Help them navigate issues for tomorrow. 

We communicate hype in youth ministry. First of all, we can’t fulfill our own hype. “It’s going to be one of the best weeks of…this month.” Instead communicate, “I’m glad you’re here, who’s your small group leader? They are going to be so glad to see you and we are so glad that you are here!” Students are looking for relationships. They are looking for someone who will notice when they are not there. We need to communicate this from the very beginning. It’s not the name of the ministry that is looking for you or the “we” but it’s the person who has a name. Use real-life names and real-life relationships. 

The biggest challenge with a handout is not the handout but the teenagers passing them out. We need someone communicating the value of what we hand them. “We trade efficiency sometimes for effectiveness.” 

We give away some of the best moments we have. Parent pickup. Be intentional and engage parents at this moment. 

“Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem.” Be empathetic. Come alongside them. Help them. We are just here to serve you. 

Text service where families can ask for prayer for the school year. 26 families signed up. “I didn’t use it but I just love to know my church is in my corner.” 

We say it’s mandatory and so important BUT most of us don’t send an email to those who didn’t show up. This communicates that they should have been there and it shows them it was really worth their time. 

Many of us in this room when we start in ministry we get really excited about the relational side of things, and then you figure out how messy and hard it is to get personal. Our response is to start making changes to our content and programming. We edit more and print more because it makes us feel busy. The reality is it’s personal and it’s going to be messy. We need to actually have relationships with people and followup and care for them. 


Building Your Team For The Future – Jon Birkmire @jon.birkmire 

Treat volunteers like staff. Build a leadership team. 

Doing this helps you do what you do better and gives you more time to do the things that only you can do. 

What can we do when our ministry needs more than WE can give? 

3 Traditional Options: 
Don’t do it
Do it and accept the consequence
Hire more people

We have limited bandwidth. Time is the great equalizer. 

Smart-water Illustration: 

“I’m about to save the world…I need 12 people.” 

Introduce some more water into your life. I’m going to hand you this and this and this. The two of us are going to make this thing work. You can do this and the truth is you need to do this. The average youth pastor burns out in 3 years. Add voices to your team. 

We need to re-think your organizational structure to add new voices. Not just more voices…But the right kind of voices. Add voices that replace yourself. 

Recruit the right voices


Build and organizational leadership chart

Start with you

Think transferable models and common language

Create job descriptions. 

Develop an on-boarding 

What am I doing now that I can train and delete to someone else? Where is my water going into what cups that someone else can be filling? 

What language do you use to describe the roles? What are the win statements? 

Coaches, Producers, Directors

Volunteer Coach

Training, evaluating, leadership and care of SGL’s
5-8 hours a week (includes Sunday)
Owns volunteer coordination and on-boarding, caring for leaders mid-week and Sundays.
Leads small group leaders on Sunday
Extend your pastoral influence to someone else who cares for the team on a regular basis. 

Volunteer Producer

Training, evaluation, care, Sunday production efforts.
5-8 hours a week
Owns volunteer coordination and onboarding, caring for leaders mid-week and Sundays.
Lead production leaders on Sunday. 

Volunteer Director

Lead entire team, vision casting, and organizational efforts
8-15 hours a week
Owns the entire ministry responsibility, leads vision casting, evaluation and implementation of ministry model.
Directly leads coaches and producers.
Invite these people into the budget process, the planning of all ministry, the conferences, everything for ministry.
This is about appreciation over compensation. 

Exercise: On the Org Chart – Anything you don’t have someone’s name in, your name is in that box. You might not have this role yet, but you’re doing it. You’re pouring into that cup. 

Exercise: What roles are you currently fulfilling other than your own. Some of you need 40 different name tags because you are currently fulfilling 40 different roles. 

“When you hand over ministry to someone else, people fall in love with ministry.” 

Recruiting the right voices

You have to make friends before you need friends. 

Stop the cattle call at your church. There’s a difference between strategic service push and “we need volunteers”

Methods for recruiting: Observation, Hot List

Look for the people who fit what you are looking for in the positions you need. 

The hot list can be accessed by the team so everyone knows the needs. Constantly updated and reduced. 

Later you create a Warm List and Cold List. Is that a hard no or a warm no? 

Exercise: Recruit!
Write down the names of high capacity people you know in your church. 

On-Boarding New Leaders

You need a clean plan that sets up your leaders to win. 

If you constantly have leaders quitting, that’s not a them thing, that’s a you thing. 


Ask- clarify the role
Download – resource the role
Apprentice – Coach the role
Prepare – Setup the teams
Turn them loose – release the role

SOP – Standard Operating Procedure. 


I do, you watch. We talk
I do, you help. We talk
You do, I help we talk
You do, I watch we talk
You do someone else watches.

People will never innovate if they don’t think they can. Get out of the way. Don’t fix everything for them. 

Exercise: On-boarding

What is missing from your onboarding process?
Job descriptions

Standard operating procedure

Role-specific resources and development

A culture of evaluation

Ministry core documents

Shadowing/apprenticeship system

Release Your Leaders to Lead

Get out of the way

Value who they are over what they do. 

Direct report and evaluation regularly

Resource regularly

Ask: How are you REALLY doing?

Bi-weekly meet with your staff. Staff meeting with direct reports at least once a month. 

When expectations are missed we talk about it. When you don’t talk about it you’ve set a new lower expectation. If volunteers don’t show up, you have to talk about it. 

Repeat the Process

Train your leaders to replace themselves

Practice open handedness

Evaluate yourself regularly (and ask for evaluation) 

Renew your personal vision

Celebrate life change

The way you pay people best is by celebrating wins and life change. Money in their relational bank. Their investment is paying out. 

You can do this. Your family needs you to do this. Your first ministry on this planet is to them. You need this. Some of you are tired. The solution is adding people to your team. 


Create A One Year Ministry Plan – Vince Parker @vincelparker 

Where do you begin? What outcomes do you want to see?

Without a vision the people perish.

How will you measure it?

Where performance is measured, performance improves. 

All great chilis but 5 different ingredients. How you make the worlds best chili you need to measure the ingredients and evaluate. 

Measuring outcomes matters…

Data should have a seat at the table. 

Evaluate your current situation. 

Where is your starting point?

What do you need to start doing?
What do you need to stop doing?

Write it down so you don’t forget. 


Who needs to be involved in the plan?
Who do we need to tell about the plan?
Who are you ministering to?


What should the space look like?
Does the place support or hinder the plan?

There is a difference between a Starbucks, a home, and an arena. What does this look like?


How will you get your message out?

What you want to see happen, you need to program in. If we are wanting people in small groups, we need to program it in for people to do and see. 

What do you want them to feel and do? Feelings move to action. Give them every step so they can execute the plan. At the moment, they can text in or sign up to make it happen. 


How does it all work together?

Do your systems help you better love people?
Is it sustainable? 

What happens when a student gives their life to Jesus?


Time to execute.

Lead with the why

Let them know why we can’t stay where we are at. 

When you lead with the why, people can’t help but join the vision.

Keep it simple

Stay committed. 


Evaluate again!

Data has a seat t the table. 

What adjustments/tweaks need to be made?
Did you achieve the SMART goals? What milestones did you achieve?

Celebrate the wins. Not take the next day off to recover but to stop and thank God for what He did. 


What does God say?

Talk with God the whole way. Stay connected to the vine. 

Talk with God during each and every one of these steps. Seek wisdom and hear from Him every step of the way. 

Data may have a seat but God has the biggest seat at the table. 

What do you measure? Rock software.
Who are the leaders who attend?
How many students give life to Christ?
Student attendance and how many times in the moth? 2.3x in a month.


Develop An Effective Coaching System – Frank and Jessica Bealer @fbealer @jessicabealer

Training vs. Coaching

Training is systems, standard boundaries. It’s operational.

Coaching is mission, vision and understanding. It’s purposeful.

Information without intention feels insignificant. 

Familiarity vs safety. It communicates safety when you check the tags. You know them and it matters that you communicate this but it communicates the message that safety comes first and foremost. The new family or the divorce family needs to see safety each and every Sunday. 

Empowerment starts with clarity of vision.

Define the win. 

Most of our team huddles are logistics. Our mission is not to get through the crafts. The win for the day is for you to build relationships. In these VIP meetings, define the win. 

Implementing a coaching model

1. Identify coaches by assessing top leaders in each ministry area. 

They need to be really good at what they are doing. Are they good at communicating with adults? Are they at ease with conflict? Can they have hard conversations? Could you see them firing a volunteer if that was needed? 

2. Remove coaches from your church organizational charts.

Take coaches out of the rotation one step at a time. Don’t start by pulling all of your top leader volunteers. Start with small group coaches and the check-in coaches because these volunteers directly work with students. Don’t set yourself up for failure. 

3. Outline a coach’s responsibilities, timeline, and steps with each new or existing volunteer they are advising. 

Coaches need to fully understand their role. It’s not their responsibility to tell someone they are doing things wrong. It’s support, not critique. Create a role that a coach can not say more than one critique in a week. You should never have a clipboard as a coach. It’s observing and offering feedback at what works. Coaches aren’t going to fix a small group or small group leader in one week. The goal is tiny steps in the right direction. Love and support around one small critique. 

4. Encourage coaches to document the process. 

They need to make notes for you and for themselves. They need to see how far someone grows. If someone is still struggling 3 months later, then you might need to step in. Systemize with something like a google doc. Name, date, comments. Inspect what you expect. Make sure your coaches are doing what you are asking them to do. 

Systematize Care: On Sunday write a card before they leave. Write down what the expectations are for them each week. 

Every coach needs a full roster of who they are coaching. Contact information, Favorites Form, a system for making purchases, budget plan for empowerment. $15/week pre-approved. Give spending permission to volunteers.  

Retention should go up with a coaching model. A greater span of care. Implement a support structure. 

5. Schedule quarterly gatherings with coaches and other insiders. 

When your coaches are in the know they feel more equipped and prepared for what’s coming. Ask what are you seeing? What do we need to do a little different? Help them feel like the insider group that helps the ministry win. 

Go further, faster, and steward well the ministry. Make room for more people to do the ministry. It’s impossible for you to develop everyone on your team. If you worked on developing your coaches, they can develop the team. Lean into and on your coaches. 

Presentation and Family Ministry Coaching Documents: 

Sure You Can, But Should You?


The phrase, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” can be applied to so many areas of life. Just because I can eat ice cream for breakfast, doesn’t mean I should. Just because I can stay up all night watching Netflix, doesn’t mean I should. Just because I can buy that shiny new thing, doesn’t mean I should. We might have the right to do something, but that doesn’t make it right.

If you have attended a Southern Hills service, you have probably heard someone mention Galatians 2:20:

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

As a Christ follower, we are called to crucify ourselves and our desires for the sake of the Gospel. We ought to give up our rights and demonstrate it’s no longer about us and what makes us happy, but it’s about honoring God with our lives. Is there an area in your life where you need to lay down what you believe are your rights for the sake of Christ?

RIGHT TO HAVE MORE. You worked hard, you saved up, and you might have the right to upgrade your TV, but that doesn’t mean you should. The writer of Hebrews challenged us saying, “Don’t be controlled by love for money. Be happy with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5). When spending money, it’s important to check your motive. Are you honoring God with your spending? Do you need to lay down your rights for the sake of something greater?

RIGHT TO BE RIGHT. You know where you stand on the issue, and even have the facts to back it up. You might have the right to try and win the fight or make that post on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you should.

Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be humble. Value others more than yourselves. None of you should look out just for your own good. Each of you should also look out for the good of others. – Philippians 2:3-4

There are times where correction or a loving rebuke is necessary but is your heart doing what is best for the other person or are you holding onto your rights? Is it for their good or so you can feel good? Remember Colossians 3:13: “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

RIGHT TO BE COMFORTABLE. You had a long day and just want to come home to a peaceful house. You might have the right to do what makes you happy, but that doesn’t mean you should. Loving your family often means laying down your right to comfort and showing love through your actions.

We know what love is because Jesus Christ gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters. Suppose someone sees a brother or sister in need and is able to help them. And suppose that person doesn’t take pity on these needy people. Then how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, don’t just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love. – 1 John 3:16-18

If my old self has been crucified with Christ, then I’m a dead man walking and dead men have no rights. What rights do you need to crucify for the sake of Christ? The old hymn says:

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small.
Child of weakness, watch and pray.
Find in Me thine all in all.”
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;
sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Breakthrough Movie Ticket Giveaway


Have you ever had a spiritual experience in the theater? Could attending a movie be a divine appointment? I believe the Breakthrough Movie will help people who will never go to church to experience God!

The people in your community are most open to hearing the good news at Easter. This movie is the tool your community needs! This tool is sharp and ready to be used, so lean in an find a way to use it.

Breakthrough puts all divisions aside and intercedes for the one. One prayer. One faith. The power of one. When we just love one person amazing things can happen. What the world needs right now is to not treat each other with division but love!

I believe in this movie so much that I’d like to send you and someone you know to watch it this Easter. Enter my movie ticket’s giveaway:

5 Youth Ministry Trainings to Know About


Maybe the reason you are tired or feel overwhelmed is because you have failed to take the time to stop what you are doing to sharpen your ax. It’s easy to work in the ministry week after week without pausing to work on the ministry to you. Here are five upcoming trainings in the youth ministry world you should know about!


The flagship experience for Youth Specialties, this one you surely won’t want to miss. This year we will be in sunny (fingers crossed) Tampa, Florida as we gather once again as a family of youth workers to dream, rest, and be inspired. We’ll be joined by dynamic speakers, relevant breakout sessions, and over 150 exhibitors and sponsors representing an array of services, resources, and experiences for youth ministry. If you are looking for rest, restoration, and resources, find us at the National Youth Workers Convention in Tampa, Florida. Regular registration opens on February 15th!


CPR and First Aid Classes are great for you to know what to do in a physical emergency but do you know what to do in a mental health crisis? Youth Mental Health First Aid is created for adults who work with young people to help in areas of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. These trainings can take place in a day and are offered all over, so check out their webpage for the details.


On September 21, 2019, thousands of youth ministry volunteers across North America will be better equipped to care for the students in ministries—in a single morning—thanks to the over 175 churches who are opening their doors to host the National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry. Gather your entire team for eight TED-style training videos from the leading voices in youth ministry. In a single morning, you and your team will feel more equipped and prepared to work with the students God has entrusted to you. A few topics are, “Helping Parents Win,” “The Heart of a Volunteer,” and “How to Build Relationships When Everyone is Busy.”


Through digital coaching, you can find the insight you need on a schedule that fits your calendar. With You Lead, you can join a group of youth ministers on monthly video calls, private online discussion groups, and live question and answer sessions with youth ministry experts. As a bonus, each coaching membership comes with a free training course from Ministry Boost!


Organizations like TrainedUp, offer free training videos to help you see the quality of the products they can offer. Why not take the time to learn from these free resources? Trained up also has a library of over 600 videos for volunteer, leadership, and Bible training. Their ever-expanding library can help you and every volunteer in your church take their next steps in leadership development.

Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” Ecclesiastes 10:10

(Originally shared to the Youth Specialties blog at:

Next Conference Notes 2019



Who are my people that I can ask, “What about…?” And “What if…?”

Be ruthless about your strategy.

Introverted gift giving ensures that at least a few people like you.

Why does what you do matter?

Keep everyone imagining a better future! A different and better version of their faith. We can not afford to lose the faith of the next generation. When you stop imagining a better world, you stop becoming a better leader. You are the one who is responsible to capture the imagination of what could be.

You can’t manage what you can’t imagine.
A strategy is what the end in mind might be.
If you’re not clear where you are going it’s easy to get stuck managing what you do. Leaders lead somewhere. A better vision of where you are going. If you don’t know where you are going then chances are you are not leading anywhere.

Traffic cone: The programs in your church. Your ministry components. Your curriculum. They can either direct traffic or create chaos. Guide hundreds of two-ton automobiles down a path to a destination. Doing less is more. What is it you want people to do or to be? Evaluate by asking is it leading people to that end.

Important Questions for a team once you established an end:
The orchestra conductor is the only person not making a sound but linked to everyone playing the instruments.
How can I help you win at…doing what you do?

5 questions to constantly be asking our teams and leaders. Why I do what I do. The right questions help you measure success. It’s not how can I make you do what I want but how can I help you win.

Mission and strategy. You aren’t going to be successful because of your mission. Great missions organizations close every day. It’s your strategy that helps us find success.

Align Leaders:

How can I help you win at… growing in your personal leadership so you improve your teams and strategies?
Success is linked to your leadership.
Young life clubs that were thriving and growing vs those who are stagnant. Not money, not staff but key variable was number of volunteers that the clubs had. The number of those volunteers and how well those volunteers are trained. You can have an incredible curriculum and bad leaders and fail.
-Help leaders become self-aware and see their blind spots. RightPath or enneagram common language.
-Move from yearly evaluation to quarterly. And address issues regularly.
-Listen to volunteers. Anonymous survey.
-Give team leaders your meeting instead of going into their meeting.
-Challenge the team to be learning. Get them to teach something they have recently learned.
-Put it on the calendar. Who do I need to meet with weekly, monthly, annually and schedule it?
-Not assuming what they know.
The more common language the more moving towards one goal. Can’t get on the same page without getting in the same room. Has to be intentional about alignment.

Refine the Message:

How can I help you win at…creating a compelling message strategy for your weekly environments and online platforms?
What are the big rocks that you need to put in first? What content do you want them to understand and know? Teach less for more. There’s a difference between believing all scripture is inspired and applicable.
-Know who your audience is not just what’s comfortable for you. Know if your illustrations connect. Your target with parents might be the single mom or grandparent. Refer to guardians and people in different situations.
-Spend time talking with students. Be in their schools. Hear their conversations. If we don’t know their world we don’t know what matters to them. If it doesn’t matter to us it won’t matter to them. Empathy. Feel their pain. (Dear Evan Hansen The Musical)
-Protect your children. Stand up to the culture so they have a safe place to open up. Refine the message and don’t just do it one way. Help them feel safe and able to respond.

Engage Parents:

How can I help you win at…engaging parents to be more connected in community and more intentional at home?
Two big buckets for a win. We win when they become more connected to a community of faith or more international at home. Those who are disengaged to engage or those who are already engaged, engaged more. There is a cycle. If they win more at home they engage more in the church.
-Batch based on core values. Based on a topic ask what can we do better. How can we serve you better?
-At Confirmation where parents go through the process with their kids. Parents share their faith journey. Have a list of questions to help parents share. A parent-child small group experience. Unpack salvation for children where parents unwrap the Gospel for their children. Invite them.

Elevate Community:

How can I help you win at…developing volunteers who champion the kind of authentic community that solidifies a kid’s personal faith?
A consistent leader over time is the best chance at helping children. Teaching truth vs discipleship. Teaching them that they weren’t designed to do faith on their own. It’s easier to recruit people to teach than to champion community and be a small group leader. Get a different result.
-Don’t give up. Share the vision of moving up with their kids. Encourage this.
-Love and invest in kids was less intimidating than teaching. Share those stories. Help people see the impact they can make. Give parents an opportunity to share stories. When I talk with adults they actually act like they care what I’m saying. Every middle schooler will gravitate to the adult that takes them the most seriously. People feel disqualified.
-Invite old small group leaders to the milestones.
-Teach leaders when your with kids and parents show up, hear their parents story. Invest in their parents. When looking at the phases from preschool all the way through it gets increasingly difficult to find the leaders. The heavy lifters on the senior high level. A seven-year-old will share to any adult. A middle school or high schooler needs the relational credit.
-Not bodies in positions but the right people with the right heart. Consider the pre-existing volunteer relationship. Never going to get to 100% but work toward the goal of consistent adults.

Influence Service

How can I help you win at…influencing kids and teenagers to keep pursuing a love for God that moves to love and serve others?
If they can’t step in and experience it, you are sabotaging them in their faith journey.
-Let the 5th graders lead large group. Help them stay engaged and live it. Add missions work to conferences and gatherings.
-Seventh graders to be preschool leaders. Lead small groups and allow them to pray for the kids during their transitions. At promotion a seventh grader praying for the preschooler in transition.
-Junior Leaders. Train people along with parents to lead ministries in other areas. Help position them to lead after transitions.
-Instead of going to a Sunday morning service, we want you to be the church and to serve. Use the students as examples of what it means to serve every week.
-Push them to serve outside of the walls of the church. A small group time where they come up with a place where they can go and serve.
-James, Peter, John mentality. Take the inner circle students with you to go do ministry. Also, know your 12 and lean into them to do ministry. Model how we serve. Do more for a few.
-Raise up student leaders. Hang out with them. Call them up to leadership for them to step up to.
Regardless of size and denomination increase the consistency of their service. Turn up the volume of service. Call them to more. If I gave you seven 9th grade kids, what would you do? Do ministry with them while I taught them. Changing the culture in your church from how they see the teenagers. The teen working beside them is as important as the 4th graders you are leading.

How do you measure if you are winning?
What are the indicators?

Student pastors measure success by how many teenagers show up at an event. A better measurement is how many are showing up to serving? In the NextGen role, you need to champion how success is measured. Typically we measure it by these numbers but can we also measure success by this.

Parking cone
Change the color of carrots. It’s okay to change how we package the message.
Jack planters. Family oriented and families coming together. Families crave a shared experience.
Basketball. Build a team and help them win.
Power cord. Plug teenagers into serving.


Stop Recruiting, Start Retaining

At the end of the day recruiting volunteers to pull this off is one of the hardest things you will have to do.

The precursor to strategy. Whether a strategy will stick. The secret sauce of volunteers ministry. What makes them stick? Mindset.

Mindset is an established set of attitudes. How we think and feel. Most of us in this room have a great mindset for volunteers but not everyone on our team shares that same mindset. Create an established and agreed upon goal of developing coach level leaders.

What happens when someone says “recruit”? Stress, fear, and others have an excited mindset. What do we do if they don’t have a healthy mindset? Stories of life change help develop a healthy mindset. Not what I want from them but for them.

Come alongside the people who are serving and love them well. Invite them on this journey.

Go back to our first love. Ask our team what their story is. Ask how volunteering has impacted their stories. Share those stories.

When our volunteers are loved and cared for well they will invite others to join them. Give them the language they need. Write their script for them.

Every volunteer is a gift. We are accountable for how we steward the gifts God has given us. Volunteerism is discipleship. I’m not recruiting leaders because I need help but because I’m discipling adults.

You might have to kill what is working to be able to work on what is working better.

*Reread 7 Practices of Effective Leaders

Serve spotlight. Interview a volunteer. Share their story and then point people to the place to get more information.

Best recruitment is a one on one conversation with someone and a personal invitation.

Our responsibility is to make the ask. We aren’t responsible for their response. Have you ever had a server fall on the ground crying when you denied their question for ketchup?

You don’t get the leaders you need by announcements but by personal invitation. When you do your job of asking with vision few leaders will say no.

When your volunteers invite a friend, it’s sticky.


If we are going to disciple a generation we need to make it personal.

The goal when students walk out is that they Own their own faith and never do faith alone.

To be young, gifted and black,
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black,
Open your heart to what I mean

Having adults that speak life into you as a wild child makes it personal. I was that kid.

The big room: adult service
The main room: kids service

How do we get churches who aren’t thinking about the faith of kids? Make it personal.

Are we in the program mode or the people mode? Are we doing ministry on them or for them? The program exists because you know the people. Every program is a step towards relationships. How is it helping the dynamic of a small group? If you close the lesson with a bow instead of a question mark you shut down the small group leader.

A reminder to go into your community. To go out into the schools and be personal with them without them having to come to us first.

How to be known in a way where they feel like they belong and have a place. What if every kid in the ministry had an adult who knew the answers to these questions?

Do you know my name? Names speak of character. It’s more then how are you doing my friend? If you don’t know the name it says you don’t care. Especially with a generation struggling with identity. A generation that needs to know their known. Jesus called out Zaccheus.

Do you know where I live? You can see their community. Physically. Emotionally. Do you know family dynamics? Jesus with Mary and Martha.

Do you know what I have done? There is a story attached to you and me. Do you have empathy towards my story? You can’t feel loved by someone unless they really know you. Do you know the dark corners? We want honesty between each other to be known. When you know what someone has done and still love them that’s the Gospel lived out. The church has a card that no other organizations have, the forgiveness card. Kids can restart with forgiveness. The turning point. Jesus and the woman at the well.

Do you know what matters to me? From their pets and video games to their jokes. Jesus met the disciples where they were. Called them to be fishers of men because He knew this mattered to them. 55% of young people say there is an adult that supports them in their spark. They might not say it but they care about their parents and what they think of them. Do you know their dreams?

Do you know what I can do? Do you know what students are capable of? (Way way back movie). Don’t start with this question. Build the progression to getting personal. This is what I other adults do in our achievement culture but not us. This is the culture of ministry we want to put in place. Get personal first. Systemically there are parts of culture where people are stuck and no one is leaning in to help people see their next step. Bring hope. Help young people see things bigger. Get people who are walking around looking down to look up. Dream further.

Do you know how to help me get there? How can I help you win?

Do you have a few people in your life that you are personally doing this for? You need to do this for at least a few or you become removed from what it looks like to do this. Who do you know at this level? I hope it’s someone who is not like you so that it challenges you and helps you grow. Have you moved beyond the surface? If we are going to rescue a generation we can’t just stop at the do you know my name conversations.

A line of distinction between personal and private. The safer I feel with you the more open and honest I’ll be with you. Jesus started with an invitation. Signal before you turn. Build trust over time.

Phase Family Center


How to enhance young families. How significant this can be. What this could look like. How to meet them in their community. Connecting with millennial families. Phase Family Center. Meet them where they are at. Connect with them with things that matter to them most. They engage with the church less and less. Giving is also going down in the churches.

“Don’t hug the anchor. It’s not going to get better.”

We are driven by a belief that the figure church has to imagine new ways to intersect.

Instead of building a church, what if…

Phase family center is a unique for-profit organization that is anchored by a preschool and after school program which is connected to spaces that are used for work, gatherings and special events.

Alpharetta, first of many!

Millennial families. Two priorities. What they feed their kid or what people perceive about what they feed their kid. And preschool. How their kids are being developed and set up for the future. Raise the bar in how we develop teachers and the kids. Lift the bar for parents. Have an impact on the community.

Co-working space. Starbucks with structure. I working with on-site childcare.

At some point, we need to do things differently to get different results. Do we really want to do what’s effective and efficient?


Engage Parents:
How can I help you win at…engaging parents to be more connected in community and more intentional at home?

Just A Phase Book
To explain why we do the way we do things.
An exercise in empathy to dive into each phase.
A generalist and a specialist. We need to teach our specialist to appreciate what’s coming before and after them.
Our time doesn’t work the same way it works for kids.
If you can get a parent to go through this journal to understand each phase you are re-engaging them at each phase along the way.

Parents see kids in a way you never will. You get to see a side of kids that parents don’t get to see. It takes both perspectives to get to know their child.

One of the most impactful things for your community is when your church and the churches in your community become for the families. How do you help parenting in the community? Parent Gathering. We want to talk with you about what we are talking with your kids about.

Every parent wants to win. Every parent wants their kids to win. Help move the needle a small percentage. The goal isn’t to get every parent to be a spiritual champion but the goal is to help them take a small step.

We need to learn from the experts. Not everything you need to know is found in the Bible.

Huffington Post Blog
Bullying 90% is psychological and starts online. 1 in 4 already have a plan of how they would end their life.
Sex consent and gender.
Number one way 12-year-old boys learn about sex is pornography.
Money and social responsibility. Parents care about how their kids handle money.
Difference. Everything from special needs to race and just differences in general. How do you respect and honor people who are different?
Help kids have the confidence to go into the world in their own skin.

We get caught up in trying to get parents to be perfect but parents don’t care about that. They want to be honest. They want to be authentic. How do we help them be more real with their children?

Anytime you stand up in front of them say it’s not about the pictures of perfect kids but about their story with Christ. It’s about the relationship with Christ you are helping them with.

You have to champion this with parents and the community because if not you, who? We have the potential to change the dial and help families to see the church in a new light. Don’t let the fire move or go down. Don’t let your church stop championing parents.


Next was created with the intention of creating community.
Compassion – a journey of how they do ministry. Senior pastors come back with a heart for generosity and family ministry locally and internationally.

Long term study on the effectiveness of compassion. Want to look at siblings but can’t with compassion because of the impact on the whole family.

“Instagram Parent Fails”
All these pictures are from when the kids are younger. When they grow up we tend to keep these fail moments private.

Parents of teenagers are dealing with specific struggles.
Struggle #1: Your child isn’t who you thought they would be.
Drifting and Directionless
Hooking up and Happy
Depression and Anxiety

Struggle #2: Your relationship with your child isn’t what you thought it would be.
They don’t text back
My house feels empty (often marriage feels empty without the glue and life from their kids)
They don’t choose me (holidays and generally the minimum time with them)

So personal
So painful
So Private

Cultural and parent support over time. Goes up to 13, then drops at 18 and plummets at 21.

“Being seen is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are the same.”

What if we became a new inflection point as a church? That at age 13 it continues to increase. They are currently driving past the church to where they feel seen and understood.
For all the stories and pictures that families don’t post…the church is there.

Growing up —-> Growing apart.
What if instead of growing apart the family began to grow with each other.

Growing With: a mutual journey of intentional growth for both parents and our children that trusts God to transform us all.

3 bug buckets of time.
Learners 13-18. Physical, emotional, relational and spiritual growth.
Explorers 18-23. Leave home or home routines, excited for the workforce, but when honest unsure about themselves and overwhelmed with possibilities.
Focuses 23-29. Some people feel very ahead or very behind and struggle with this.

Help parents appreciate the child they have not the child they wish they had.

When a child is a learner a parent needs to be a teacher. Train self-reflection skills, self-disciple, collaboration. We need to train how to teach your kids.

When a child is an explorer we need to become a guide. Where empathy becomes all the more important. When does my child need help and I step in or when do I step back?

When a child is a focuser we need to become a resourcer. Figuring out how to support even when you disagree.

Growing With NEXT


Hard Conversations

Real Parenting. Parent network.
At church do you really want to talk about the real conversations that happen in the home?

Brett Trapp – “When a child shares hard news with a parent there are two victims in the room and victims are terrible at empathizing.” I have not talked to a parent of a gay Christian yet that did not regret that first conversation.

How as a parent do I prepare for hard conversations? Emotions are way up and logic is turned down.

Parent-teacher conference. Rarely goes well.

How do you avoid being a victim in a parenting emergency? You prepare.

Sean McDowell
My dad thought through every possible scenario so he could handle it. He thought, what if Sean comes to me with ___. Addiction, identity issues, doubt.

How as the church do we help parents and SGL’s prepare?

Steps for Preparation
Imagine what could happen
Identify what we want to happen if it does.
We practice. Drills, simulations, etc.

This is going to be super weird, but let’s simulate what would happen when a student comes to you and says…

1 in 5 kids has been abused.
Identity issues.
Addicted to porn. 70% admit to addiction.
Quit sports or faith
Don’t want to go to college.

What are the goals, what do we want to make sure we say.
I love you no matter what
Doesn’t change your value
We will figure it out together
God loves you
The church can help us
Can I check back with you? And make sure the next conversation is not about that but that we are still good.

How do we help families create and maintain homes that are safe for the big issues while taking such strong stances on many of the big issues? (This starts in preschool) This is a tension to be managed.

What support systems do we have in place for the infinite scenarios that our families will face? Not a program but a relationship.

Download the free printable from orange.
How do you prepare for conversations you weren’t expecting.
Worksheet: what to do when you discover what you weren’t expecting.



Will Hutcherson study on depression and suicide. An invisible enemy that is literally killing our children. Not just depression or anxiety but despair. Hopelessness. The dark night of the soul. When you don’t rise out of the hopeless moment.
Suffering minus meaning. If there’s no meaning then what’s the point?

How do we heal despair?
Keys that bring wholeness. Conversation, eye contact, affirmation, appropriate physical touch. Yes, the answer is Jesus but it’s also the human connection.
Raises the bar on consistent adults in the lives of kids.
This is part of God’s design. Relationships are on the top shelf of priority. The God of Moses, the God of Joshua. Connecting faith to the people who cared for and knew them.

Nina Schmidgall releasing a book on marriage.
Preparing for marriages. Healthy marriages are the building blocks of marriage. Praying circles around marriage. Invite bold prayer into the marriages.

Dave Adamson on social media.

Interact with people who connect with us digitally. 900k download. 150k watch on demand. Million followers on social.

We can talk all day about social media without actually saying anything. Use social media like a telephone, not a megaphone. 1 hour vs 168 hrs. Connect with the church before connecting with your church.

And when these statements down work we go to stats.
91% of 13-17-year-olds use YouTube daily.
True stats but they don’t help you in the day-to-day.

Increase social engagements to and improve relationships in social media. If you don’t have time money or resources to throw at social media it’s still important.

Focus on Instagram and YouTube.
Instagram has 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook
Instagram is growing 5 times faster than any other social media platform.
Average person spends 56 minutes per day.

Instagram. Stop the scroll.
Pull a quote from your pastor.
iPad and pencil. Circle, underline, etc. on phone too small to read so you zoom in to read. Requiring followers to zoom in. 361% increase.

Long form content of the message. Most churches post this.
Create both short and long form content.
Repurpose on purpose.

Short 4-8 minutes video distributed to Facebook YouTube and IGTV.

Microcontent. 60 seconds

Take quotes and repurpose to images.

16 pieces of content to 8 platforms
10-11:30 message chopped and made.

Application – if the goal is to build a platform you can’t keep up. If the goal is to keep messaging engaging for families, this is possible. Presence in the community to capture the imagination and make connections. Stay connected with them all week.

IGTV great traction early on but dropped off. What we often step away from the next generation steps onto.
Authenticity and realness wins.

VR church. Oculus devise.
Imagine a student and their parents putting on VR and hear your message standing where Jesus stood.


Jim Burns

It’s important we get this down because it’s a key issue for the church.

3 reasons the church needs to engage with parents.

1 Kids are making sexual decisions based on mixed messages and misinformation.

If we didn’t have it modeled to us we are less likely to do this with our own kids. Most kids go to the Internet for this information.

Decisions based on peer pressure and the pressure to perform.

Decisions based on emotional involvement that exceeds their maturity level.

Decisions based on a lack of information. Kids who receive sex information from their parents are less promiscuous and less confused. One talk doesn’t work. It’s dialogue with kids over time. The new first base is sexting because they don’t know what’s appropriate or not.

Mixed Messages:
Parents generally go silent. Or just say don’t do it and walk away. Or just a crisis.

Church generally say it’s dirty rotten and horrible unless you’re married. It might just be the perception of the church.

Secular World generally cared deeply for sexuality and are willing to talk about it. The difference is throwing birth control or a condom at the issue. 25% of girls are depressed and most are depressed 3 months before having sex or 3 months after.

Because parents are silent other voices are filling in. Who will they come to? SGL’s.

2. The church can mentor parents to help their kids. Give them resources. A seminar is less effective than groups and discussions.

Provide good sex education for kids.

Orange has a new curriculum coming out called MADE. Phases appropriate education. Partnership with parents. Not replace parents but come alongside them. Honor parents.

The Theology of healthy sexuality. God created this and it was very good. There are boundaries. Flea from sexual immorality not flee from sex.

How do we respect each other? What is sexual integrity? Honor God with the body. Renew mind. Turn the eyes from worthless things. Guard your heart.

Become a resource junky. Parent kid dialog. 3-5-year-olds God made your body and God made boys and girls.
6-9 how God makes babies
10 sexual integrity. Help with puberty talk.
14 anything and everything.

The church needs to address hard issues

Pornography. 12-17 big issues.
Sexual abuse. 1:3 woman by 18 and 1:5 men.
Gender identity and confusion. 10% will experience gender confusion. Students are way more concerned about gender than baptism.

How do we as a church help? We don’t have to agree with parents on everything but we do need to help parents have these conversations.

Dropped the word purity and added the word integrity. Purity is a one and done vs integrity being a mindset. Let’s talk about this every year at every phase.

Sometimes we just need to realize what it would be like if our son or daughter came to us and said they were struggling. Act like a loving father unconditionally. It would be a different world if we acted like these were our sons or daughters.

These are personal issues and framing conversations appropriately is so important. You are talking about someone’s mom. Set parents up to win even if they are living in a way that you don’t agree with.

What about parents who just won’t go there? How do we as a church function in this space?
How do we train our volunteers to handle these conversations?

There’s a generation that will base their opinions on the church by how you treat their parents and there is a generation of parents who will base their opinion on the church based on how you treat their kids.


Don’t Quit Gina McClain
Life long leaders in a world where leaders quit.

Too many leaders stepping out of the game too early. What skill sets could help them stay in the game long term? Why are we tempted to quit? How many leaders come and say they want to quit?

Make it personal. The most important person you lead is you. Leading yourself often feels more like chutes and ladders than the game of life.

Grit: perseverance and passion for long-term goals.

Helping your team develop grit is very important. An important element of leading our teams.

Angela Duckworth TED talk.

How do we build grit?
Recognize the story you are telling yourself. Arrest the narrative in your head that may or may not be true.

Identify the story you want to tell. I can see this through and can grow through this.

Invite objective perspectives. Who speaks truth into your life? Who helps you see your situation objectively? Not sympathizers

Understand the cycle. Know the journey you are in.
Unconsciously incompetent. Don’t know what you don’t know.
Consciously incompetent. Someone speaks the truth and you are aware of it. Where you are most likely to quit.
Unconsciously competent.
Consciously competent.

Challenges you face as a leader are not faced all in one area. You are in different areas in different parts of your life. You begin to become more graceful with yourself. More grace for yourself, in the game longer.

Don’t Quit Jessica Bealer.
You need the grit as well as the support.
Decide now that you are in it for the long haul. And find leaders who will help you stay in the game. Develop leaders to stay in the game.

The bigger your organization gets the higher level of the org chart gets developed. Vision leaks. The low layers of the organization chart are lacking in development. This creates a leadership vacuum. Develop people who can develop people.

Not only are we responsible for raising leaders, but we are responsible for raising leaders that raise leaders.

A formula you can take back to your leaders to develop others. Layers of leadership.

5 characteristics of those developers.

Responsive. Do you return calls and messages sighing 48 hours? Do I hold onto information or share it immediately? Do I have a system to get feedback on a weekly basis?

Approachable. Select leaders who you like. Do you want to spend time with the people? Am I social and friendly? Do I smile? Do I ask questions and offer compliments freely?

Invested. How much time do you spend with your leaders each week? Do I consistently speak vision? Do I teach people how I think not just what to do? Do I offer constructive feedback? Do I offer accountability?

Supportive. Do I know them on a personal level? When we actually like people and want to spend time with them we can develop them? Do I navigate life with them? Do I celebrate their wins in life and ministry?

Empowering. Granting the authority to make key decisions at critical moments. Leaders innovate. Leaders are creative. Leaders create momentum and advance the ministry. Do I authorize leaders? Do I micromanage or encourage leadership? Do I want perfection or vocalize trust?

Invite people to the table and have conversations.

Lee Jenkins – Why as a lead pastor you think what we do matters. It will impact generations. The people you talk to will impacts the people they talk to. We are salt and light to the earth. Salt was a preservative and meat would deteriorate without it. We are preparing CEO’s and possibly presidents through our ministries.

De-tensionize with a biblical perspective.

Leadership tip as you navigate culture and teams. You are a coach and your team is the players. The job of the coach is to get the best out of the players and most players don’t know what they have inside them. This needs to be called out, developed and pushed out of them. A great coach pulls people up.

Constantly cast vision. Always. Where we could be as an organization. You don’t always win. Even when 0-10 cast vision for what could be.

Show your people that you love them and care for them. You can’t push them without loving them. Find ways to compliment.

As a dad, what would you say to us? Don’t let your kids hate church. Do they just see you as the dad? Don’t use the church as an excuse and don’t blame the church when you miss out. Don’t treat the church like a mistress. Your relationship with God is the priority but not your career as a pastor.

The reason you might want your kids to behave is because of your reputation as a minister. You need to grow up as a parent. Apologize and deal with it. Their future is more important than your ministry.

Virginia Ward and Kara Powell
To elevate our conversations and discussions to a higher standard. Have a scripture lens. We can be a solution that politics can’t resolve. Show them what it means to love your neighbor when your neighbors are different.

What tips for leading this next generation? Listen. Listening to someone is the highest form of respect. Really listen. You know people are listening when they ask questions.

You can not cure what you can not confront. We are not further along with racism because we haven’t been willing to confront it.

Raise your cultural relevance beyond food and music. Know the world of people who are different than you. Be friends and build safe conversations with people who are different than you.

Why continue to bring up race issues? We still have a long way to go. We need to be relevant. Gender identity, race, and mental health are three issues we need to talk about. Every college is talking about these issues but churches are not.

How do we confront the evil? Most people don’t have the guts to call it what it is. When the leader does something wrong we need to call it wrong. There is a way to have reasonable conversations for the sake of a generation.

We have said things will be better in the next generation and they won’t have to deal with it but this isn’t the truth. If you don’t confront racism it gets worse. Lead the right way or else you are part of the problem.

How can we get over the fear mountain and instead just ask what is the first step we can take? Move from the space because things need to change.

Entering the conversation changed the way you think and care about people. When you are the majority and have the majority of the power you usually don’t handle that well. When you have the power you can use it for good or bad. Jesus could have used his power but instead was a servant. If anyone had the potential to leverage their authority or position it was Jesus. He put it aside for the sake of others. See everyone as made in the image of God. Jesus even saw Judas as made in Gods image.

We expect the minorities to assimilate into our majority culture. Instead, we need to remember that all people are made in the image of God and lean into the value of those minority’s differences. Have I built a bridge back towards those who are different than me? Black people don’t think white people want to come to the party and white people don’t think they are invited. Invite yourself. Who are you building bridges back to?

Submit to black leaders, to let them lead, and to follow them. Lean in and ask for me to be taught. Learn before you can fix anything. Learn before you lead. There’s nothing worse than an ignorant leader. When speaking without understanding the culture you will offend. Grow in cultural intelligence.

Protest and march. A disruption of the status quo was the history of change. Get to know somebody and develop the relationship. Get in the posture of a learner to better understand why someone things are the way they think.

Jesus in John 17 made it crystal clear that the world will know Him by our love.


Geoff and Sherry Surratt A guide for couples in ministry.
Read the Together Book with my wife.

If you haven’t hit a hard time yet, you’re probably going to. Resentment can build a huge wedge in your marriage.

Ministry is a great adventure but a lousy identity. Your achievements in ministry can become allow who you are.

You have to discover your passion as a couple and as yourself. Discover your identity. Couples who stay together laugh together. Discover who you are.

Build a wall or your marriage will fall. When ministry is job, hobby, and life you need to build boundaries. Begin celebrating sabbath and protect it. No email, phone, text. Carve out time away from ministry and defuse emergencies. Has this just come up today or has it been ongoing? If the threat is suicide you would drop things but if it’s ongoing it can usually wait.

Build a no church zone. When you step foot somewhere you can’t talk about work (or maybe kids). In this space, we will live our lives apart from ministry. Boundaries stop the bleeding.

We all need a little help from our friends. Surround yourself with couples who are not expecting anything from you. We need friends who are challengers and will ask us the hard questions as well as cheerleaders who just love us and are on our side. We need friends who aren’t in our ministry or who even don’t care about our ministry.

You need to get professional help. Regardless of where you are, you need some help.

We know…
It will get better.
It’s almost always to early to give up.

Sarah on the Enneagram

3 basic questions humans are asking.
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Why do I behave the way I do?

Enneagram measures what is causing the behavior.

9 ways of viewing the world.

The path back to your true self.
Health and unhealthy examples to gain self-awareness.

Type 1. Reformer, perfectionist, achiever. Need to be perfect and fear of being flawed. Healthy make the world a better place unhealthy critical.

Type 2. Helpers, givers. Need to be needed. Fear of being unwanted. Unhealthy become codependent or burdened.

Type 3. Achievers, performers, succeeders. A desire for success and when unhealthy walk away from people.

Type 4. Artist, tragic romantic, individualist. A desire to be seen. Healthy want to be understood. When unhealthy they push people away.

Type 5. Investigator, thinker, observer. Want physical and emotional space. Hard for 5 in relationships to have downtime. When healthy independent and when unhealthy they trying to figure things out in their own head.

Type 6. Trooper, devil’s advocate, guardian, loyalist. Majority of people. Politics and media play into their fears. Need to be certain or secure. Worst case scenario people. Need reassurance. Healthy connected common goal. Unhealthy fearful and suspicious.

Type 7. Enthusiasts, epicure, dreamer. Run from relationship problems and routine. Healthy 7 life to the full. When unhealthy sevens are not present.

Type 8. Challenger, leader, boss, confronters. Need to be against something. Expect forthrightly and speak mind. Healthy lead others to do the best. Fight injustice. Unhealthy demanding.

Type 9. Peacekeepers, mediators, preservationist. Fear of misunderstanding. Don’t show emotions to avoid conflict. Healthy help relationships. Unhealthy they avoid all conflict.

The road back to you. Was on Donald Miller podcast a few weeks ago.

The sacred enneagram.

The wisdom of the Enneagram.

Personality types: using the Enneagram for self-discovery.

Jesus baptism and right then temptation. First thing was this is who Jesus is and this is who He belongs to. The first temperature was who He was and who He belonged to.

“There can be no self-correction without self-observation.” We give ourselves the benefit of the doubt but see others subjectively.




If you made this one change it could change so many other things in your ministry. Sometimes your decision to make a change in the ministry for one reason creates many challenges in other areas of the ministry.

Align Leaders
Refine The Message
Engage Parents
Elevate Community
Influence Service

If you were to measure how you are doing in these five strategies, how do you measure if you are winning?
You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

How do you measure leadership?
What did you make the changes?
Started with relational equity. Work from my house and then I’ll take you to lunch.

What would be a tip or two you would say to the woman who are leading?

Code Switching – the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation.
It’s the subliminal things that happen in the day-to-day.
“I remember everyone is telling me that Jesus loves me but no one is stopping to listen.” Tivo

God is not allowing you to go through something that he cannot use to redeem it to share His story.
We are leading people who have stories and we forget that they have stories. Before we begin trying to develop leaders, maybe we need to first hear their stories.
My dad would have been a better father if he had a better boss. When you lead your team and the people who work for you, you have the potential to help them in their family to be better or worse.
If you were to evaluate my leadership what are the flaws? Reggie, I don’t fire people and the few who I fired think they quit. And the second flaw would be that he’s not great at developing people. If I’m not going to do this, how is it going to happen? If I can’t mentor, who will I bring in to make this happen or what will that process be?
What is one thing you would use to develop the people you are leading?
Relational Equity. Time to play together. Time to be together. You need to know them and they need to know you outside of the church setting.
Check your ego at the door. Make sure the people on your team are leading in their way, they are not you.
Having a mentor is not optional. Be comfortable with saying, I know just the right person for you and be okay with it not being you.
When you check your ego at the door you are teaching your staff to check their ego at the door. You are showing them that they are not the smartest person in the room.

Creating a common language for your team. When you’re going around in circles, stop, and redirect the meeting using your common language.

Care for their career development plan. Find their sweet spot and even if you need them in a specific spot, know that it might not be the best for them. Help them get to where they want to go.

Know which hat you are wearing and tell them which hat you are wearing: Friend Hat, Pastor Hat, Boss Hat

People need to see you serving. Serve and be transparent.

Your team needs to become the experts and sometimes the hat you need to wear is the hat of a Coach. This is centered on your team getting the accomplishments and outcomes. Help them own these outcomes.

Be consistent in having intentional and systemized conversations. Something that shoots for their best and the organizations best.
The lead pastor will set 3-5 goals for the church. 5-7 goals for the teams and then individuals 90 days goals where we sit down to talk if we are accomplishing the goals. Then my role is to make sure I am resourcing these people and the ministry to accomplish the goals. A conversation all throughout the year.

4-5 questions to ask your direct reports to develop leadership.

Frank’s digital assistant. Forces you to look at the calendar and put something in writing. One on ones always get rescheduled they never get canceled. If one on one’s area really important you might need some flexibility but you never really cancel because that becomes a task meeting instead of a development meeting.

Core leadership principle, the top-down system isn’t working. Power with people instead of power over people. Empower those around you to lead. Find their strength and empower them in their gifting and passion.

The art of listening to everyone. Everyone has something to offer and I need to give a vision where people own it with you.

Slowing down and inviting people into my world can help. Engaging parents through Facebook groups. Tasks can wait for the sake of a person.

What can we learn from those younger than us: Relevance, changes in culture. The changes that need to be made for the church of the next generation will be made by those closest to that generation.

What is one thing you wish someone told you as a parent, earlier?

You’re doing better than you think.
Prioritize the relationship no matter what.
If you don’t fight for your kids no one will.
Adolescences to adulthood is the hardest stage emotionally.
Strong relationships happen when I fight me for us. (Fight my own selfishness or pride first) There’s a line, when I’m no this side and you are on that side, we are against each other. When we get on the same side we are against the enemy together.
The finish line is not when they are 18.
The next one doesn’t need what the last one needed. They are all uniquely different.
Stop listening to the so-called experts and listen to what God has told you to do.
You know what the experts don’t know, you know your kids.
To be humble enough to say you are sorry to your kids. Apologize.
I’m sorry, I was wrong, please forgive me. Practice saying these words.
Parent from faith rather than fear and deal with your own path.
Be present in the moment with your children.
My mom goes deep with everyone else except me, she wants this.
Your kids care more about what you think then they think you do.
Show pride in your kids because of their character more than their competence.
Our relationship is more important than anything that you ever done.
Ask What do they need, not what do you think they need.
You might not achieve balance but you might achieve integration.
Don’t fight over the things that don’t really matter. Chose your battles.
Be proactive in your parenting not just reactive. Look at character traits you want to address.
Parenting never ends.
We have to love who God created them to be and who God said they are not what they are doing in the moment.
Don’t stunt your own spiritual growth because of the season your kids are in.
Being a parent teaches you your greatest strengths and your greatest weaknesses.
Remember one of the most powerful gifts you give kids is how you love your spouse.
Don’t poop in your own nest. Your words matter.
Always find ways to play with your kids, it will open their eyes to you and your eyes to them.



On A Mission

A lot of us were trained in theology but not in leadership.
Who have lead and built great things outside of the church that we can learn from?

Dana Spinola – Love what you do.
According to Forbes, one of the top entrepreneurs you have never heard of.

High style with Heart. And for me the heart is Jesus.
Your core values and how you treat people is how you lead.

“If you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.” – lots of people but mostly my dad.

People need you to keep the fire alive. Fuel your purpose. Know your core values

Dream. Hustle. Inspire. Wow. Heart.
Dream big, Hustle hard, Stay inspired, Wow everyone, Lead with heart.

Dream Big
Question: What did the little version of you want to be when you grew up?
My Story: Kitchen table dreaming.
Challenge: Build time in your schedule to dream.

Hustle Hard
Question: What are you willing to sacrifice?
My Story: Deloitte, posh, planning nights
Challenge: Take something off your calendar to put the right on.

Stay Inspired
Question: What refuses your soul?
My Story: Finding my mentor
Challenge: Podcast drives and 1 bold coffee a month

Wow Everyone
Question: How do you get people to say, “Wow”
My Story: my birthday, babysit, LM humbly, recovery wow, distressed jeans
Challenge: 1 handwritten note a day for 30 days.

Lead with Heart
Question: What makes your heart beat? (Passion) What breaks your heart? (Purpose)
My Story: High style with heart.
Challenge: Answer and write them down.

You might need to make a sacrifice for a time. You might need to give up something for a time.
To stay inspired is your job not the job of your leader.
When finding a mentor it requires you to be bold and to go make the ask.
Little black books. Everything is an opportunity for a $3 gift to wow people. This is a KPI – (key performance indicator) for her company. They measure wow moments. How do you just do it better for someone? Expo marker written notes on their desk. Who is just doing something cool that I just want to show?

“They call us the dreams but we are the ones who never sleep.”
It’s tiring and you need to stop to refuel. Don’t allow yourself to get into the place where you don’t know why you are doing what you do.

How I Refueled.
Breathe. The basics.
Declutter. Clean out your closet.
Explore. Find your happy place.
Rebuild. Put it back together.

“You can be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.”

We have to own inspiring ourselves.
Take inventory first. Am I good where I am? My Instagram looked great so people told me I was good but maybe I was just ungrateful.
Can I bring it to the surface? Is there a safe place that I can openly share because people need me to be good? Get honest.
Are you okay? Get honest about this.

What could you have done? What safeguards do you need to avoid the pit?
Realize we are all dealing with things.
Delete the things that we have said yes to that are not a priority. Remove things and add the big things that matter first.
Admit it and realize it’s not just life.
Figure out what inspires you.
Very Draining People. VDP
Very Important People. VIP
Very Resourceful People. VRP
Decide not just the what but The Who. Who inspires you?
I need people who just know me and care for me.
Make your list: Text those people. Ask for accountability.

I love what I do. Sometimes I love what I do so much that the people that I love, get lost.
You have to be intentional. It won’t just pop in your schedule to spend time with the people you love.
Take one day off a month as a couple to just be with your spouse. No phones.

It’s not really about the profession of what you wanted to do when you grew up but the why.
If you wanted to be a stop sign, there is a reason.
Talk through why you wanted to be what you wanted to be.

How do you protect and navigate your culture? 
The biggest challenge. Bigger than profitability.
How does your team feel loved? They are leaving their family and making sacrifices, you need to know their why.
How many direct reports do you currently have? None and everyone. 3 from a work standpoint. But everyone because you need to know the customer.
6-7 direct reports seem to be the line of direct reports otherwise it becomes very complicated.
How do you invest in your direct reports to keep them inspired?
Get to know their family and know when you need to make a change for the sake of the greater organization. Respect both.

Experience Report Card. You can’t smell Amazon. You can’t replace some experiences.
Set the stage before they ever even touch a piece of clothing.
Smell, temperature, etc.
Serve coffee, have the right candle. Most people don’t want the coffee but appreciate the offer.
The experience checklist. Everyone knows the common language and you need consistently.

It’s so great to see you again. Make the assumption they have been here before. If they haven’t been there before, they will let you know and you just say that you’re glad they are here. They need to be seen. If you are good to their kids then they are way more likely to come back.

Wow Online. Add a pair of earrings that look good with the outfit.
You can get convenience on Amazon but you can’t get community. 
They want me in their home. Convince yourself that they do want you there.
Creating a family experience on the campuses has helped people continue to come to church. These experiences for kids and students cannot happen online because of the difference between in person and online.

Are you okay? You get judged by a different standard. Trust someone in this room enough to open up and be honest.

Don’t do this alone. You aren’t designed to do it alone. If you’re going to lead a generation and tell them to not do it alone, then you don’t do it alone. We need each other.


New Year. New Me. And This Time, It’s Personal

new year blog img

You can see the difference in a leader who is just showing up and a caring leader who shows up predictably to create a safe community. There’s an obvious difference between someone reading off a script and someone who has crafted an engaging, relevant, and memorable experience. And you can feel the climate change in a ministry when the leader goes from checking off another Sunday to aligning a team with a common language and strategy. The difference comes, and things begin to change, when you make it personal.

In the early church, when the believers form a community, the writer of Acts says: “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, and to prayer,” (Acts 2:42, NLT). This year, make it personal by deepening your devotion. Leave behind excuses, take off the masks, and get real with your community. Steward well the gift you were given in being a part of the local church. Don’t just tell people to join a volunteer team or life group but model what it means to make community personal.

Paul challenges us to make our work personal when he writes: “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15, NLT). This year, make it personal by working for the Lord. If you work only to find the approval of your pastor you might be tempted to cut corners when not being supervised. Work on both the big projects and the minor details with a heart full of worship.

Paul also offers some encouragement when he says: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up,” (Galatians 6:9, NLT). We all know how long most New Year’s resolutions last, but most people don’t make their commitment personal. As leaders in the church, we realize the impact we have in this next generation. Let’s make the mission personal and not get tired of caring for people.

This year can be a time of both personal and professional growth but it begins with you! Will you take on Orange Conference 2019’s theme and make it personal?

(Originally shared to the Orange Blog at:

One Christmas Gift from Orange You Need Now


Every year the Orange Conference is a huge gift to ministries around the world. The work they put into creating a strategy and plan shapes churches and helps us all do ministry with excellence. The Phase Project is one gift that I wish every ministry leader would lean into and learn from.

Orange defines a phase as, “A timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future.” If we want to influence the next generation we need to understand their development and study their culture. To leverage the time we have with a student we need this research-driven project to impact our thinking.
Do you know when attention span increases up to 45 minutes, and the average girl begins puberty? Do you know the phase when “unfiltered words make you laugh, homework makes you cry, and life becomes a stage where you kid shouts, ‘Look at me.’” Are you trying to disciple students in the phase when “friendships shift, grades count, and interests change so often your teenager has to explain, ‘This is me now.’”

The Phase Project helps us understand how to make disciples on their level. In the elementary phase, kids are thinking like scientists and they rely on what they can observe. To help these kids mature in their relationship with God we need to tell one story, use real illustrations, and make it fun!

You have probably heard, you get about 40 hours in a year to tell that middle schooler everything they need to know about God, Jesus, faith, forgiveness, grace, love, life, and eternity. So what’s the plan?

“How are you going to influence the spiritual direction of the average child or teenager when you only have a few minutes every other week? You could increase your time with each kid if you…build a Christian school, show up for dinner at their house once a week, start a 6 a.m. Bible study before school, bring back lock-ins, crusade against competitive sports on Sunday, force every parent to sign a 52-week contract, or add mid-week programming. Or you could rethink your strategy to make the most of the limited time you will have at every phase.”

Take time today to take advantage of the Phase Project gift Orange has made available to you by checking out the Phase Webpage. And if you haven’t signed up yet, make sure you get your ticket now for Orange Conference 2019 because I’m sure this year’s conference will be a huge gift to you and your ministry!