Let’s Talk About A New Way To Disciple Teens

For those who do not know, I have a Youtube channel dedicated to quipping youth workers and I have started doing Wednesday @ 1  Livestreams. In this episode I talk about my new book and how it came about.

You can grab a free chapter, The Discipleship Dilemma,  by subscribing to the Youth Ministry Round Up Newsletter at the bottom of the page.

Disciples Must Change Their Expectations

 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. John 1:46

Nathaniel was the first critic of Christ. He judged him because of where he was from. He didn’t think anything good could come from a bad place.

Disciples have to learn this principle early or they’re going to be a mess.

God brings

light from darkness

beauty from ashes

riches from poverty

life from death

identify from wandering

All of these things the disciples discovered three years later. Some things have to be caught rather than taught.

Those whom God has brought from hard places understand. Those who think  it’s just a good idea to follow Jesus or who do not sense their own poverty of spirit and embrace humility will alway think things should go a certain way (mostly their way). Be  prepared for disappointment.

Jesus showed his disciples grace in the learning process as we should show those students whom we disciple. They won’t understand until they are in the the throes of watching God bring about transformation.

Let’s act like good thing coming from bad places is normal and pray our students will catch on.



Free Course: How To Disciple Teenagers

A few months ago I finally pulled the plug on an idea I had called Youth Pastor University. It was my plan to offer courses to youth workers on how to do various things in youth ministry. Sadly, I had neither the time or energy to do it well, so I dropped it. The great thing is, the course is now available for free.

I have posted all the videos on my YouTube channel and are in a playlist where you can watch the videos in sequence.

You can download the fill in the blank notes HERE .

So, take the course and let me know what you think.

New Resource: Follow 5

This is a blog about discipleship, so it’s natural that I create curriculum, lessons, and retreats around the subject. Today I offer Follow 5. Follow 5 is really my manifesto on discipleship. It’s takes students past the “pray, read your bible, come to youth group, be a good kid” track that many youth workers have their kids on.

Follow 5 is based on five characteristics Jesus used to describe his disciples and, unless anything has changed, are still the standard for those who would follow after him today.

The material can be used as a retreat, as I used it, or as a five week teaching or even a camp. Here’s how I described it on Instagram

If you’re looking to lead your kids into the deep end of the pool, check out Follow 5. If YOU want to get into the deep end of the pool check out my new course called Discipleship Foundations which covers how to integrate these characteristics into your youth ministry DNA.

Got questions before you buy? Hit me up at thedproject@me.com

Simplifying Youth Discipleship

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Acts 2:37
If the church has failed at anything it’s answering the “What shall we do” question. Either we have no plan or strategy to take immature believers and help them grow into mature believers or we make it so darn complicated by creating endless classes they should attend.
Peter kept the initial step pretty basic. Be baptized and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Church has complicate this over the years. We make people sign cards, attend classes, and we wind up with more knowledgeable but powerless believers.
There is nothing wrong with classes but the real classroom is the real world where stuff happens. Stuff we cannot control. Stuff that has no pat answers. Classrooms are where we learn platitudes and “how it’s done”. What happens when a new believer discovers that platitudes and bumper sticker theology doesn’t work in the real classroom of life?

I don’t disciple kids for the church world but for the real world.

I disciple students for real world encounters. I don’t baby them. I don’t pretend that life does not occasionally suck. I teach them that God is real even when it does suck. My plan is simple:
1. Build relationships through community
2. Lead kids to Jesus
3. Ask them to make their faith public (baptism and lifestyle)
4. Be accountable for their commitment.
5. Start using your gifts and talents immediately.
6. Without the Bible, your faith is unsustainable. Read it.
7. Take great steps of faith (giving, missions, and evangelism)
8. Let the Holy Spirt guide you, empower you, and bless you.
Yes, each point has sub-points and nuances, but they’re all done though relationships, not classes.
Classes don’t disciple people, people disciple people.
Your Turn
What is your answer to a new believer who says, “What shall we do?”
Who are you discipling right now?
How simple or complicated are you making it?

I Have A Dream For My Youth Ministry

dream part 2

Happy Martin Luther King Day to you. On this day we remember not only a great speech but a better dream. MLK’s  speech was not a list of How To’s or upcoming events MLK wanted to have in order to enact a civil rights law. He shared his dream and that’s all it took. If I am going to see any of my dreams come true for our youth ministry I need to be less of a planner and more of a dreamer when it comes to communication.

This quote from this article made me come back to the fact that plans don’t excite people, dreams do.

“He gave the I have a dream speech, not the I have a plan speech” Simon Sinek

So, if you allow me , I’d like to articulate my dreams for our youth ministry and maybe while reading you’ll find a dream of your own.

I dream of authentic worship; unprovoked, zero hyped, an all out love fest of God. I want our services to be Christ-centric not entertainment based. I’d love to see students who, through the Holy Spirit, come to an altar with out me asking but because they feel the need to repent, be empowered, seek answers, or just get closer to The One who loves them most. I dream of a band who is less interested in getting the music set right and more interested in leading their peers to the throne room of God.

I dream of students reaching out to their friends, not just to invite them to church but to lead them to Christ, their Christ, The One who saved them. I desire students to be aware, as their adolescent development will allow, on the spiritual condition of others. I’d love to hear testimonies of how they prayed with someone in their school for healing, salvation, and deliverance. I’d love to see Facebook status’ that read “I told my friend about Jesus today and they are now a follower of Christ. ”

I dream of students who love God’s word more than X-Box, food, sex, YouTube, and texting. I want to see a hunger in students to know the God of scripture and not just a few verses that will carry them through the day. I want them to see the Bible as the greatest story ever told and not just the story that gets preached to them every week. I want them to see it as a reliable guide and not a book of rules to follow. I’d love to see them launch their own small groups where they read and study God’s word without me launching it, promoting it, or leading it.

I dream of students who will lead our services and not be spectators. I have a dream that every leadership opportunity I offer on our ILead Station (formerly the Endeavor Board) will be taken and used including preaching the Word from time to time. I dream of students who don’t have to be asked to do anything but realize their small part contributes to the edification of the whole. I dream of a group of students transforming into the Body of Christ.

I have a dream of families being restored like Ezekiel’s dream of dry bones. I dream of working with them to see their families reflect the glory of God. I have a dream of whole families seeing their lives as missional rather than a day to day hassle. I dream of mom’s and dad’s who see the youth ministry as more than baby sitting but an equipping center to help their kids become all Christ has called them to be. I dream of seeing them as prayer partners and visionaries to reach other families in our community who desperately need the love and grace of God.

I dream of students whose passions and dreams move from mundane to miraculous.

I dream of a youth ministry known for it’s love not it’s lock ins. It passion not it’s programs. It’s faith not it’s fellowship.

These are big dreams, not on par with trying to end inequality as Dr, Martin Luther King eventually did, but my dream is no less valuable, no less daunting, and no less impossible with God’s help.

How how can I help you reach your dream or put your dream in motion?

Your Turn:

What are you dreaming about your youth ministry?

How are you communicating that dream to your students, parents, and pastor?



Painters and Players: One Game Store’s Way of Making Disciples Part 1

My son and I recently took up a new hobby together, Warhammer 40k by Games Workshop. It’s expensive, time intensive, and we love it. Everything about the hobby says “this hobby  is going to cost you in time, money, and relational energy” and yet 100’s of thousands buy, paint, and play the hobby all over the world.

I never wanted to get into Warhammer 40k because I knew the time it would need to get good at, but a Games Worskshop store opened up near me and I thought I would check it out. From the time I walked in I had the undivided attention of the owner/manager. Here’s what our conversation looked like:

Her: Welcome to Games Workshop!

Me: Thanks

Her: What bring you by today?

Me: Just looking

Her: Do you know what you are looking at?

Me: Yes.

Her: What are you working on right now?

Me: Nothing at the moment, I’m a newbie

Her: Would you like to put some paint on a model?

Me: Sure

When I finished my basic paint job,

Her: Would you  like to put your model in a game?

Me: Sure.

She taught me some basic rules and had me moving pieces and rolling dice. After we were done she continued:

Her: What did you like best? Painting or Playing?

Me: I liked both

Her: Great, how would you like to get started?

Feel free to comment below on what you spotted in this process that looks like (or should look like) evangelism/discipleship in your youth ministry and tomorrow I will come back and share a few ideas of my own.

I break down this conversation and what it could like in your youth ministry in Part 2 of this post HERE

How did Jesus model this conversation with potential disciples in scripture?

How does youth ministry, church in general, and maybe your church break down the disciple-making process?


SEO Search Says Youth Discipleship Is Not In High Demand

I did some SEO (search engine optimization) searching yesterday, looking for key words and such for youth ministry. Here is what I discovered.

In searching for youth ministry key words, to help youth workers find  posts they are looking for online, I started by searching the word youth ministry discipleship. Now, I am only getting started in this SEO thing, a complete novice,, but this did not look good,

Search: youth ministry discipelship

Competition Is: Low (which tells me there is not  a battle for the words)

Global Monthly Searches: 110 (this how often the subject is searched for,globally, on Google, every month, averaged over 12 month)

Local Monthly Searches: 91 (this is how often the subject is searched for on Google, every month, averaged over 12 months.

I Googled both youth ministry discipleship and youth ministry discipleship ideas

youth ministry discipleship showed over 2 million options

youth ministry discipleship ideas showed 412,000 options

On the other hand, searching 

youth ministry games revealed over 4 million options

youth ministry activities, which could include discipleship, but revealed mostly game links, showed over 13 million options

Like I said, I’m no expert, I can only go by what I am looking at.

The questions I have then are:

1. Do youth workers already know how to disciple teens, they just don’t need to search online for it?

Which leads me to the second question:

2. Is there a greater demand, by youth workers, for games and activities than for discipleship ideas, in their youth group?

I would love more people to see this post, but I am afraid no one is searching for it.

Side Note: I am not anti-game, we play them with our group all the time, I am just pro discipleship.

If you are an SEO guru, and I am reading the date wrong, straiten me out. I think the numbers are fundamentally true. Do youth ministries still spend a majority of time still  focusing on getting kids to show up versus discipling the students they have to reach their friends for Christ?

If you would like to see some articles on youth ministry games you can go here or here.

If would like some free you ministry ideas about youth discipleship I have a few video trainings here and here (don’t forget to subscribe)

And a couple of my posts on church youth ministry here and here

If you are looking for a systematic way to disciple in kids in your youth ministry, I also recommend the book Multiply by Francis Chan and David Platt