Leadership continues to be one of the hot topics in the church today. Now more than ever before we are seeing books, seminars and coaching sessions revolving around leadership. My hope of writing this series of blog posts isn’t to bring anything new to the table; rather I want to share with you what in my opinion are four non-negotiable aspects of Christian leadership.

This past Christmas I went to a huge mall to buy a small gift and stocking stuffers for my wife. The problem was that I had already purchased everything I knew I wanted to get for her and now I was just getting extras. I ended up walking around the mall for a good two hours only to purchase more items than I had planned to and spent more money than I wanted. The problem wasn’t that I wasn’t being thoughtful; I had just fulfilled my earlier vision and hadn’t come around to have a new vision for the stocking stuffers I wanted to buy.

In order to get things do things properly as a leader we need to have vision and understand our mission. While I had a mission at the mall I didn’t have a vision and one without the other is incomplete. When Christian leaders are directing people where God would have them go, they need to understand what God’s vision is and how to articulate this. Jesus gives us an example of how we should interact with mission and vision of the Father. Jesus continually explains to his disciples and others his mission and the vision that he has been given. When Jesus was in Nazareth toward the beginning of his ministry he explained to the members of the synagogue that he had come to fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah by reading from Isaiah (Luke 4: 16-21). Jesus not only understood why he came he also understood his role, He knew he had come to preach and share the Gospel (Mark 1:38). By explaining His relationship with the vision God had given the Israelites, Jesus gave himself credibility while also trying helping others to understand their roles in the grand picture. This leads to the understanding of another key skill that Christian leaders should possess. If a leader can take scripture and the revelation of God in their own life and put them together it would inspire greater credibility and confidence in who they are and where they are leading.

  • What ways are you gaining credibility and helping others understand vision and mission?
  • Does your current vision for where you are going include some backing with Scripture?

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle

fallen houseFrom One Role to the Next By Melissa Rau

In his book, Sustainable Youth Ministry, Mark DeVries explains that there are three distinct roles filled by different people in thriving ministries: the Architect, the General Contractor, and the Skilled Craftsperson. It’s important that each role is filled by a different person (or group of people), and that one person isn’t performing more than one role.

The Architect is the one responsible for creating the blueprint or the design (this is what Ministry Architects does for churches), the General Contractor is responsible for making sure that the blue print is being followed and that the skilled craftspeople have everything they need in order to do their jobs well (typically the paid or volunteer youth director), and the Skilled Craftspeople are the ones doing the building (typically volunteers who are matched up with their gifts and passions).

In many instances though, especially in small churches, a volunteer who had been serving in the role of skilled craftsman for years has been asked to become the youth director. And since the volunteer loves building relationships with youth, they are excited for the opportunity. What they may not realize, though, is that an effective youth director with good general contracting abilities understands that only 35% of their time should be spent with youth. A good general contractor pours 65% of their time into engaging parents and empowering and equipping volunteers.

In what role have you been asked to serve? Are you living into that role?

Are you training the volunteers? Even if you are a volunteer, you’re the leader now. The other volunteers on your team need training and guidance.

Are you engaging parents? Are you encouraging them and equipping them to be the primary tenders of their son’s or daughter’s faith?

It’s hard making the shift from a skilled craftsperson to a general contractor. Not everyone is capable of filling those shoes, but most general contractors have done exactly that. They served as a youth advisor, they fell in love with youth ministry, and they took the plunge. They understood that youth ministry isn’t just about youth. How are your general contracting skills?



love isnot

Love is Not Abuse is a great website with lots of helpful resources. They also have a great iPhone app. Check them out! Get people talking about these important real life issues!

What are other great resources out there? Do you know any thing that is faith based on this topic?

the AFTERshock

 —  April 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

It has been a busy crazy week. Not only is it the week after Easter but it is the week before we take a team of students to LA to work at the DreamCenter. All that meant is that I didn’t blog this week. But I’ve wanted to…so here are things I wanted to share with you during the week:

1. Rick Ross and Rape. Well, I think there is some sad irony to a week of focusing on sexual abuse here on the blog and the buzz over Rick Ross’ recent song that described rape. He denies it, check out what he says here and he attempted an apology here. Here are a few of the lyrics;

Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it
I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it

Sound a lot like the Steubenville case.

Here’s the deal: It is estimated that 70-95% of teens listen to rap music- the percentage ranges depending on race. So a low estimation is 70%. Rick Ross isn’t the only artist to use his music to communicate ideas or themes about women and their value in sexuality. (Many of the women in the hip hop industry are as offensive about their own gender.) The reality- our students are listening to it. This just confirms the value of talking with our students about gender issues and sex. Look back over last week posts and start the conversation!

2. Growing Pains. Lately we have been seeing some positive growth in our student ministries. The good news is that students who wouldn’t normally walk in a church are coming and finding Jesus. The bad news is that it is messy. Maybe bad is the wrong word…maybe better words would be hard, challenging or time consuming news. These students find Jesus but their lives are not simple, there is pain and BAD habits. All of this confirms for me that true life change requires relationships. To grow for the long haul we must have the capacity to care. I am reminded that I can not help every student on my own. Growing pains are a team effort…parents, volunteers and student leaders.

3. Cringe Worthy. I am unsure what to do with cringe worthy moments…to laugh or to cry. This week our guest speaker at our monthly parent event dropped the mother of cuss words…laugh or cry? I guess we’ll make the decision based on the emails we get from parents. Or a few weeks back during a service, during one of our junior high services the speaker said pride is worse than porn…to which a young 7th grade boy leaned over to a leader and asked, “what’s porn?” Oh man…laugh or cry? (While we laughed and cried over that moment we talked about how our ministry is so diverse. Seriously, we have sexually active//drug using junior high students right next to students who don’t know what porn is…once again confirming our need for a team approach to ministry.)

4. Dream Center. Monday morning were getting on a plane with 46 students and leaders to head to LA. I am super excited because I love serving alongside students. If you are interested in guest blogging while I am away- send me an email at neelym@occ.org.

What’s your week been like after Easter?

Worship Together this weekend at Saddleback – fun little video to help remind our students we aren’t having services this week in youth group but are all together in the main auditorium.


Had some great discussion this week with some friends about how sometimes the messenger gets in the way of the message. A few questions to think about:

  • Are my clothes getting in the way of the message?
  • Is my weight distracting others (high or low)?
  • Am I trying too hard to be cool?
  • Am I out of breath (and out of shape) when I speak?
  • Have I spent more time thinking about my wardrobe then the words?
  • Will I care more about my perception or impact?
  • What does my attire tell parents that visit or drop their kids off?

Now these could all be pretty “surface” things – so I think you can have this discussion in a healthy way, or it could lead you down a potentially unhealthy road.

I think I’ll write more in detail about some of my answers to these questions next week (after we get back from our Spring Break serve trip) but would love to get you thinking and know your thoughts, too!




Recently I took a long car ride with my children that involved driving several days through many States. As we went they knew to keep asking, “Are we there yet?” was futile. However, to make the time go faster, they decided to focus on “markers” in our trip. How long would it take to get out of the State we were driving through? When would we get to the next rest stop? There was one thing that was abundantly clear to them: our final destination. No matter the number of bathroom stops or hours in the car a point would come when we “arrived.”

This got me thinking about ministry. When we look at the scope of our students do we know where the endpoint is? In other words, when a student graduates out of our youth group who has been produced? We might say phrases like, “A fully devoted follower of Christ.” However, what does that really mean?

This is one of our first steps in leading our team or even our students. We must be clear about where we are going. In a world that often uses the phrase “casting vision,” this is vital. Anything can be conquered when we know WHERE we are going. We might have a “mission statement” for our ministry. However, if it is longer than one sentence, if everyone in our ministry can’t easily recite it, and if no one really understands its meaning, it is useless. If your people don’t know where the journey ends then they feel like all is purposeless. This one line sums up the target.

Once you and your team decide the “end student” you are hoping the Lord will produce through your ministry, talk about it, ALL THE TIME. When we got stuck in traffic on our trip it was supremely frustrating for all of us. No one wants to feel stagnant. However, the knowledge that the highway was not goal kept us all in check. We refocused on the excitement of where we were headed, and what it would look like when we got there.

Secondly, everyone wants to know, “How will we get there?” and “How do we know we are headed in the right direction?” Figure out the core values you are looking for in your team and ministry. Put these clearly in place. At our ministry they are to be Christ-Centered, Relationally Driven, Servant-Leaders and to have Integrity in everything. We explain what these mean, and how they relate to where we are going. This is one way we know HOW we are headed in that right direction. Secondly, we plan in a myriad of ways. There is a five year strategic plan that is broken into increments. We know where we are looking to get to at the end of the five years, but also in 2, 1, 6 months and even a month from now. Then we hold everyone accountable to these. This lets everyone see those mile markers to know how we are going, and how to know when we have arrived.

The trip can be really long when it comes to working with youth, especially those stuck in survival mode. We can wonder some days if we are moving at all. However, when we are clear about where we are headed and how we will get there, everyone hangs in for the ride.

Where are you headed?




Summer is right around the corner, and that means we’ve got summer interns coming in hot!

I’m thrilled to add them to our student ministry team – each of them is “home grown” – the only summer interns we bring in are former students in our ministry who are ready to come back as leaders. We do offer longer internships for outsiders (if you or someone you know is interested, let me know!).

So what am I hoping our summer interns get out of this summer?

Enjoy the first month. Work hard. Do everything that is assigned. Get to know the team. Get to know students. Highly relational boss. Be above nothing. Laugh and learned a lot. Begin to wonder why people think youth ministry is so hard.

Co-lead an event. Co-teach a Bible study. Co-plan a trip. Work directly with a supervisor/mentor to understand the ins and outs of everything there is to do in youth ministry. Begin to understand the full scope of serving students.

Your turn. Lead the team. You shoot and edit the video. Run something from start to finish. Pull it off. Backup as needed, encouragement all the way, but it is yours to lead! Begin to feel the weight of leading a ministry and the pressures that comes with it. Also begins to understand the depth of fulfillment when following God’s call.

So pumped about this summer!