Season 2 Promo & NYWC!!!

Many of us are arriving at NYWC today. It’s a good time for a check-in!

Contact me if you’re going to be around, I’d love to say hello!

And if you don’t know what NYWC is, check out It’s the biggest gathering of youth workers in the USA, and it’s almost always encouraging and energizing.

And next season? Yeah, we’re talking about growth. It’s nerve-wracking, and it’s often talked about poorly. But we’re going to talk about it well, and give you lots of helpful tools. Keep an eye out!

Stephen Hale
Episode 1.10: Fundraising & Budgeting Systems

We youth leaders understand frugality, especially in small churches. But how do you know when you're being frugal, and when you're just underfunding your youth program?

Further, how do we get our church to help pay for the youth program? 

Today's guest, Glen Guyton, has GREAT advice on these topics and more. As someone who spent years in youth ministry, he's got lots of experience. As an added bonus, he's currently the Executive Director for the Mennonite Church USA. So he's got lots of perspective to share!

We mentioned a bunch of books:
Sustainable Youth Ministry, by Mark DeVries

Smaller(er) Church Youth Ministry, by Brad Fiscus and Stephanie Caro

Sticky Faith, from the Fuller Youth Institute

Growing Young, also from the Fuller Youth Institute

Stephen Hale
Episode 1.9: Volunteer Systems

Recruiting volunteers, and supporting volunteers, are some of the most difficult things we do in youth ministry. This is particularly true in small churches. The dynamics of many small churches can make it hard to recruit. 

At the same time, volunteer care is one of the most important things we do. Volunteer recruitment is absolutely necessary.

This episode is a quick survey of concrete systems to recruit and support your volunteers.

Also: on the Youth Ministry: Small Church website for this post, you'll find a download to a sample volunteer packet Stephen used a year ago.

Stephen Hale
Episode 1.8: Systems for Communication

Do you ever feel like you have to communicate in 16 different ways to be heard by everyone? Or do you feel like people often complain they don't know what's going on in the youth program? Communication takes a lot of time for youth workers, but it's very important. Figuring out what communication your youth group needs is an important part of being an effective youth worker.

This episode gives some concrete advice on how to do that well. Our interview with Seth Muse helps us think through that strategy in a broader way.

And finally, we check in with Patricia Cogles at the end of the episode, who we last heard from in Episode 2. She talks about her need for self-care, and the impact Parkland has had in her youth group. Patricia discusses how she helped her youth process difficult questions, when she feels she isn't sure of the right answers, either. Patricia's experiences can help us understand our own approaches to discussing this topic in youth group.



Tons were mentioned this week!

Seth mentioned MailChimp. Mailchimp is a way to automate great looking emails, and that translates to saving you time (eventually). It also lets you track how many readers are opening emails, what links are clicked, and other great stuff.

He mentioned two programs you can use to send text messages to large groups, like your entire youth group. They're Remind and GroupMe. Look for them in your app store.

Seth mentioned an email checklist on his blog. You can find it here!

The Buffer Podcast (Buffer is the program that lets you schedule social media posts): the podcast website is here.

Building a StoryBrand, by Donald Miller.

Pro Church Tools, by Brady Shearer gives tons of communication tools and tips.

Youth Ministry: Small Church Group

Youth Ministry: Small Church Communications Tips

Stephen’s personal Instagram account (which he uses for his youth program) is @Elsteve9 

Stephen Hale
Episode 1.7: Teaching Tips from Middle School Teachers

This is our final episode in our mini-series on teaching well. This first season is dedicated to the basics of youth ministry, and we're doing 3 episodes on teaching well!

This episode features Jen Jacques, a Middle School teacher with a lot of experience in youth ministry. She brings us a lot of insights into teaching well from real life teachers. As you can imagine, middle school teachers spend a great deal of time learning to teach well. Jen is no different, so she can be helpful to youth workers.



I mentioned Orange's PHASE Project. You can learn more on YOUTH MINISTRY: SMALL CHURCH's page on human development.

Jen mentioned a few of her favorite resources:

Can I Ask That series by Kara Powell. These are books, but this link will take you to the Fuller Youth Institute's page on the books. There are numerous other resources here!

Discipline Without Stress Punishments or Rewards: How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning, by Marvin Marshall.

Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit and Herbert Kohl.

Educating All God’s Children Nicole Baker Fulgham.

And of course, Jen mentioned an Instagram account she uses for her students. Her account is @mrsjacquesteach

Stephen Hale
Episode 1.6: Curriculum is Your Best Friend

In the second episode of our mini-series on teaching well, Jen Bradbury talks about using curriculum well. She wrote a fantastic series of blog posts, filled with concrete ideas. You've got to read them!

It takes time to find curriculum that you are comfortable working with. Jen talks about why that is time well spent. 


Jen wrote three great (I mean GREAT) blog posts on using curriculum well. Why You Shouldn't Write Curriculumthen 9 Keys to Choosing Curriculumand finally Seven Ways to Tweak Curriculum. They ain't fancy, but they're super helpful.

Looking for fancy? Check out Jen's books, including The Jesus Gap, which we mentioned a few times in this episode. Also, Jen's blog is pretty great.

Jen mentioned all kinds of great stuff. Most of these are good places to find curriculum!
The Youth Cartel

Download Youth Ministry (often called DYM) has lots of awesome games, but also curriculum, training, etc. They've got a subscription service, and it's quite popular.

The Source 4 Youth Ministry (run by Jonathan McKee)

Jen mentioned YM Sidekick, which I had not previously heard of. Looks awesome (and Jen said it was awesome, so....)

She also mentioned two writers she likes quite a bit. Heather Lee Campbell blogs here, and Stephanie Caro has written so much stuff it's hard to know what to point you toward. So instead, I'll remind you that, if you tag us on Facebook or Instagram, we'll send you a copy of a Stephanie Caro & Brad Fiscus book, Small(er) Church Youth Ministry: No Staff, No Money, No Problem!  

Stephen Hale
Episode 1.5: Teaching Well

This episode starts a series on teaching more effectively. For many of us, teaching is one of the most intimidating parts of being a youth leader. That’s understandable. This episode, and the next episodes, are designed to help you improve as a teacher.


We interview Terry Linhart today, who has been training youth leaders for decades. He’s got a pile of great tips.

Head's up: Terry was using satellite internet in the middle of a blizzard, so there are a few small audio problems. 

Show Notes:

Terry mentioned a few of his own books, including Teaching the Next Generations: A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching Christian FormationThis is the book Terry mentioned earlier in the inteview. Each chapter is about a totally different topic, so that this one book becomes a constantly helpful resource.

He also mentioned a book he wrote called The Self-Aware Leader toward the end of the interview. 

Hurt, by Chap Clark should be required reading for all youth leaders in the USA. Chap did a massive research project, and discovered things about how teenagers have changed since most of us were young. This book was a landmark in youth ministry when it was released.

No Supplies Required, old Group book. There are a few used copies on Amazon here.

Doug Franklin Leader Treks anything Doug & Angie Franklin are putting down, I’m picking up.

DYM has been helpful. They can be found at 

Jen Bradbury blogs regularly at and wrote  The Jesus GapAlso? We're interviewing her next week!

The Self-Aware Leader is good for volunteer teams

Stephen Hale
Episode 1.4: Rebooting a Youth Program

There often comes a time in the life of a church in which a major ministry needs to be restarted from scratch. 

Like a youth program.

In this episode, we talk about how to do that well. How do we find the important people to bring in?

More than that...what do we do? Small churches have the ability to do all sorts of interesting work in communities. Because of how nimble small churches are, they get some options that larger churches have difficulty accessing. 

This episode, we interview Carl Dodd, and check in again with Amanda Kan.
Carl has been helping churches figure out how to reach out to the youth in their community for years, both in the USA and the UK. He's got a ton of helpful tips on rebooting a youth program.

Amanda's doing well! She's got community developing in her youth group, parents are learning to trust her...and they're sharing the love of Jesus with adults in the community. Awesome!
OH. But I said in the episode I spoke to Amanda 6 weeks ago in real life. That's wrong. It was closer to three months. 

Show Notes:

I THINK the only book mentioned was...

Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries. Again. Here's the link!

And Carl leads Small Church Matters  . It's still in development, but keep an eye on him! He's working to provide resources to small churches that are normally only accessible to churches with a lot of money, including consultants.


Stephen Hale
Episode 1.3: Good Foundations

This episode, we interview Brad Fiscus, who oversees young people's ministries for the Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Or to put it another way: it's his job to help small church youth workers lead effective youth ministries. He talks about basic systems we need, and basic principles of healthy youth programs. 

He's also the author of Small(er) Church Youth Ministry: No Staff, No Money, No Problem, along with Stephanie Caro of Ministry Architects. If you found his interview helpful, the book is packed full of similar insights.

Now, you could click the Amazon link and buy this book (which should be one of the first books any of us read on Youth Ministry), but why not get it for free instead? Tag us on Instagram or Facebook, and we'll send you a free copy of the book. At least, we'll do that for the first three people to tag us!

Show Notes:

We didn't talk about a ton of resources this episode, except for Brad & Stephanie's book.

Brad listed off a few resources he assigns to his cohorts. He assigns:
His own book, and Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries, like we do in almost every episode. Mark runs Ministry Architects, where Stephanie Caro also works. Stephanie Caro, of course, helped Brad write Small(er) Church Youth Ministry

He also uses the Sticky Faith resources, which we've mentioned before. Sticky Faith is an entire research project with lots of resources, but the basic book can be found here. However, look for the Fuller Youth Institute's blog and other books. 

Brad can be reached at


Stephen Hale
Episode 1.2: The Advantages of Small Churches

This episode is all about the things that make small churches great at youth ministry. There are lots of strengths in small churches, and we figure out how to leverage those strengths in this episode. 


We interview Kellen Roggenbuck, who also blogs at Handy Dandy Youth Ministry.


Show Notes:

Andrew Root: Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry

Haydn Shaw talks about generational issues. Here’s a few links to get your feet wet with his perspective. 20 Truths From Generational IQ  over at Christianity Today, and a Ted Talk called Why Half of what You Hear About Millennials is Wrong. 

Sticky Faith, the book, is here on Amazon, but the Fuller Youth Institute has a great blog. It has lots of free resources. 

Growing Young is here on Amazon, but again, that Fuller Youth Institute blog...


Kellen mentioned:

Lead Small, and the good people over at Orange. This is a link to their blogs, but you should know they have about 6 product lines (all of which are fantastic). It's a lot to sort out, but almost all of it is very helpful.

 Meet Generation Z is the Youth Worker Journal's blog

Youth Specialties has a great blog, and it might be the biggest youth ministry blog. 

Sustainable Youth Ministry, by Mark DeVries. It's the same book EVERYONE mentions. So read it!


Patricia mentions:

Stranger God, by Richard Beck.       



Stephen Hale
Episode 1.1: What IS Youth Ministry?

At its core, what is youth ministry? The answer to that question is more straightforward than you might think. Most churches believe youth ministry is all about discipleship (though we sometimes define that a bit differently).

And practically speaking, most discipleship comes through relationships. Our guest today, Tyler Jarvis, has a lot to say about how those relationships actually work in youth ministry to foster discipleship.

About our giveaway...Yeah, I messed up. I only mentioned tagging us in Instagram, but of course you can also tag us on Facebook. That counts!

Show Notes:, and his post on Youth Specialties

Andrew Root’s series on Introducing Theological Topics has four books on Theology, Scripture, The Cross, and Eschatology.

Tyler mentioned David Fraize, Not-So-Simple Truths about Youth Ministry

We mentioned a book and said it was a big deal in 20th century theology. Here's a series of blog posts about that book, which is probably a passable introduction: Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God


 Amanda Kan mentioned the Grow Curriculum/system from Stuff You Can Use. It's DEFINITELY worth a look!

Also Mentioned:

Society 6 prints great stuff, including my Moltmann pillow.

Sticky Faith is about how to help youth develop faith that endures into adulthood.

I mentioned that there are theories about how faith (tends to) grow and change in most people. The most well-known model is from a guy named James Fowler. It's highly debated, but probably still valuable. Even if you don't like it, seeing something laid out this way might help you process how you see faith develop in your youth. Here's a blog post that summarizes Fowler's stages!




Stephen Hale
Episode 0: Introductions

We only mention one resource in this episode (I think), the book in our giveaway!

Brad Fiscus & Stephanie Caro's Small(er) Church Youth Ministry: No Staff, No Money, No Problem. Here's the Amazon link, but why do that when you can just @ us on Instagram or Facebook?

Stephen Hale