Unmistakeable Youth Ministry

When kids come to your youth ministry could it be mistaken for something else?

Could it be mistaken for a club for only the cool kids?

Could it be mistaken for a YMCA with great activities?

Could it be mistaken for a TED talk where kids just sit and listen?

Could it be mistaken for an elevator where strangers occasionally stuff themselves to get to an emotional high?

If you want your youth ministry to be unmistakable..

invite the poor, the naked, the broken and the stranger

have activities that go beyond game nights and bowling  that serve others.

preach not only to inform but to transform and invite kids to respond

use small group(s) to get kids to connect and make that ride to the top memorable

Your youth ministry will never be mistaken for anything other than God’s church if Jesus is at the center, disciples are being made, kids love one another, forgiveness abounds and, ultimately, God is glorified.




Youth Ministry Excuse #9 It’s Not Perfect

You can say it’s not perfect and be correct. You can say its not ready and be incorrect. This is the big question, right? How will I know when it’s ready?

How will I know when this message will be ready to share?

How will I know when this program is ready to launch?

How will I know when I should change things up?

How will I know if I should become a youth pastor?

How will I know if it’s time to move on?

You don’t. Not entirely. You will have inklings that it’s ready and fear that it is not. It’s possible that “it” will never be ready because we desire perfection from ourselves or others before we put it into the world. This makes me sad.

There is a closet full, a computer full, and mind full of great ideas that will never see the light of day because “it’s” not perfect.

How To Kill This Excuse: Faith and Trust

How did I know it was time to start a Youtube Channel about youth ministry?

I didn’t

How did I know it was time to write a book?

I didn’t.

How did I know it was time to get up and do walk and talks in the early a.m.?

youth youth m

Don’t Underestimate!

A video posted by Paul Turner (@thedproject) on

I didn’t.

All of these events involved trusting myself and not underestimating the value I have accrued over 30 years.  It’s also where I had to not overestimate myself and not “think more highly of my yourself than you ought”. I had to trust in the Lord and in the doing.

God has proved himself over and over again in my life. It’s not Him I’m worried about. I cannot overestimate God. He will  “do more than I could ask or think” if I let him. It’s me I am worried about. Oh and sometimes my critics.

Maybe this is why we do not put out our best stuff. We fear that people, kids, pastors, staff,  will look too closely and catch that we are not as perfect we we portray ourselves; that we shall be revealed as frauds. News Flash: The critics are frauds too. They don’t have anything new or perfect to put out so they criticize the people who do.

I just got back from speaking at a middle school retreat. The weekend and the kids were pretty epic, but my messages were not ready until the day of. I had doubts and more doubts.

I agonized over wording, pace, the right background for the slides, and a dozen other little things. I wanted to make sure the gospel, and the message of the retreat,  was made plain and receivable by a middle school student. It wasn’t really ready, but the retreat started at 5:00 whether I was ready or not.

Nothing is perfect, including and especially, youth ministry. We have kids who do not show up, bail on us, quit following Jesus, and here we are without any thing perfect to show off. Or do we?

Love is perfect. Perfect love casts out fear. We can still love the kids we have, imperfectly, and they will receive it. They will forgive our lousy messages, our crazy ideas, our inconsistencies, our insecurities, and our imperfections if we just show up and love them.

So what if it’s not perfect. Quit making excuses and put it out there; it will be worth it and God will take it and do something awesome with it.

On to Excuse #10: I’ll Pray About It