Casa Caro survived Thanksgiving. With my hubby’s deteriorating health, our family comes to us so Steve can participate. I was happy to have another Thanksgiving with him.

My family is quirky. First of all, it WOULD be with me as the eldest setting the standard. I’d love to list all the other relative quirks but I have to see these people again in a month.

As the women were sitting around the table yesterday morning drinking coffee and waiting on the bird, I snapped a mental memory maker. I loved it…I’ll miss it someday when things change as they eventually do.

Just like my youth groups. Students came and went; so did leaders. So did I. I’m thankful for the memory makers moments. Even the “irritating at the time” events have softened in my mind’s review of the years.

Really? Good times had by all.


Genius! I loved this blog post from Paul Martin about making retreats more effective. One of his ideas there is ripe for stealing and claiming as your own (I do that all the time – doh!). Check this one out below, and head there for the rest:

5. Bonus, bonus – Also, I set up a video camera in a private room to let each person check in, a la The Real World, so that they can talk about their experience in private. When each of our students graduate, they get a video edited down of each of these “check ins” so they can see the growth they had over the years.

Love, love, love that.


Was talking to some younger youth workers this past week and they had a great question – when do you take vacation from your church/youth ministry? Is there a particular time of the year or month that is easiest, best or most needed personally? Vote in this week’s poll and explain your answers in the comments.

For me, I love August – the calm before the “back to school” storm. And recently I’ve started to really embrace Christmas season as well. That one is still busy at the church, but there’s plenty of time to be stolen/taken off there to give you a break from the day to day of youth group. Thoughts?


My wife just pulled out the Griffin family Thanksgiving table cloth – each year we grab Sharpies and write our prayers and thanksgivings on the gravy-stained memory masterpiece. I can’t wait to see what the kids write down over the years and how it will grow up with them. My wife is crying right now at the table reflecting on the past 12 months. Priceless. Steal this idea now.





I’m currently on holidays… and I have a problem.

Like me, you have probably heard a lot about appropriate boundaries and taking sufficient annual leave. Each year, in our January staff meeting, we all lock in our holidays for the next 12 months. The problem, which I assume I am not alone in confronting, is the timing of my current holidays.

At the moment, in Australia, we are in the middle of a school term. Is it reasonable for a youth pastor to take time off during school term? (To be clear, I usually take time off when kids are also on vacation.) Is it reasonable for a church to “strongly suggest” that you cannot take a week off at another time?

I’m genuinely torn about the issue. I have known/worked for churches where this isn’t an issue and known others where it has caused major fallout. Trouble is, I can make an argument for both sides. If you plan ahead, let everyone know and adequately resource others, is there a problem? If you use this time to evaluate the ministries reliance on your personality and utilise this time as a chance to train up others, are your holidays reasonable? Additionally, if you have a jam packed “holiday window between terms” through camps/mission trips and forward planning, is it fair to go six months (or more) without time off? Alternately, there are plenty of “down times” in youth ministry due to the layout of the school year. Should it be your responsibility to arrange that your holidays fall in this time frame?

If other jobs, retail particularly, can dictate time frames where their employees cannot take leave (usually November to mid-January), why should those within the church be immune to this reality?

I would love to know how youth ministers and churches have dealt with this issue.

Graham Baldock is a Youth Pastor from Sydney, Australia and has a youth ministry blog worth checking out at

Posted by Scott Rubin

Tomorrow is America’s day of Thankfulness, and this morning I was thinking about all that I’m grateful for things that I was also thankful for last Thanksgiving. The love of Jesus, supportive parents, best-friend wife, a mission to serve middle schoolers that fills me with passion, a friendship with a wise-man named Kurt Johnston…

But then I was also thinking of some things that have changed since last year — that I’m also super-grateful for. A couple of new friends I get to work with, an office that actually has a window, and some places that I’m growing this year that I wasn’t last year.

Here’s the 30-Second Challenge:
What are you Thankful for This year that is New since Last Thanksgiving?

I may actually try it out at my Thanksgiving dinner table with my family, & see what people say!

New Intern Program

 —  November 23, 2011 — Leave a comment

Are you looking for a place to intern? We’re launching a new program at Overlake and it’s going to be AMAZING!!!

Check out our Intern Promo (PDF File).

For more details -send me an email at!! Would love to have some ladies on the team with us!!

Just attended the National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta. What a great time with great youth workers from all over the country. Also had an awesome time connecting with good friends in the youth missions and youth ministry world. These are people I love and respect in ministry. Folks like Eric Iverson from Youthworks/Youth Specialties, Doug Franklin from LeaderTreks, Mark Orr from NNYM, Jake Kircher from We Love Our Youth Worker. These folks are simply some of the best people supporting youth leaders out there. Each with their own gifts and roles to play. Some are national and some very specific. Some of these guys work directly in the youth mission world and some just love youth leaders and try to support you in your ministry. What a great couple days…

These events are awesome for this kind of interaction. I love how many ministries are represented here. Showing how much support a youth leader truly has. Just look at the names of the ministries represented above. Youthworks/Youth Specialties – dedicated to getting students serving and supporting youth workers with a convention and resources. LeaderTreks – completely about helping youth leaders develop leadership skills in students. National Network of Youth Ministry (NNYM) – they just want to network youth workers so they know that are not alone. We Love Our Youth Worker – a brand new ministry that helps churches better serve and support their youth leader. How cool is that. 4 different ministries. 4 different purposes. All about youth ministry. I love these relationships. I love these four people. And there were dozens of other ministries there that I don’t even know.

I hope you know that if you serve the students of your church. You are loved and supported. And if you ever get a chance to attend a conference like NWYC or Simply Youth Ministry Conference, please go. You are not alone… You need to know that.