Ok, its Thu. Day b4 the conference opens. There is an excitement in the air. Prep is almost done.

Leadership team is an awesome group. My tip? Get to know all or at least some of them. Take Andy B for example: he leads the whole YM department back at Group and does a fine-no, great- job. Andy loves coffee, btw. The person that gets to buy Andy a cup of coffee then gets a starbux giftcard from me.

See ya tomorrow. It will be great! God is already here!!

I’ve been in youth ministry for almost 15 years now in just two churches, and there’s a reality that I’ve experienced many times over and it never gets any easier. People leave.

Over the past few years in ministry, I’ve experienced more turnover than I ever imagined I would. Interns naturally come and go – that’s one thing, but losing long-time friends, staff and key volunteers is usually unexpected and never seems to get any easier. Sure when some people leave an it isn’t an entirely bad thing (I’ve had personal praise and worship nights after transitioning out a rogue volunteer small group leader) so I suppose that is part of life, too. But “doing life” with these people and being close friends with your team and their families makes transitions like these difficult.

Here’s the reality of your youth ministry team in the next year:

  • Some good people are going to leave your church and go to a church in the area.
  • Some people on your team are going to move away because of a job-related or family situation.
  • Some people are going to be poured into and trained to be incredible, then immediately be sent out to serve in other ministries.
  • Some people just need to take a break and are going to take a season off.
  • Some people on your team are just going to burnout, give-up or quit.

And sometimes, God asks people to make a big move that you don’t fully understand because He hasn’t let you in on His plan yet.

When God calls, let them go. And until then, train them, love them, fight for them, bleed with them, share with them and believe in them like they’ll be serving by your side for the rest of their lives. And if and when He moves, be OK with what God is up to.

Hold your people loosely.


One of the fun things about conferences is that you can get some great deals in the conference bookstore. But what if you’re not in Chicago this weekend?

Well, I asked Andy over at Simply Youth Ministry to let MTDB readers in on some of the deals, and he offered me a promo code for 20% off of most everything in their store – matching the conference prices exactly. So if you’re looking for some great resources, including over 20 new ones just released this week for the conference – click on the banner to check them out and use the code mtdb11 at check out. It only works through Monday, but there you go!


I just spoke with my friend Justin Lathrop who let me know about a couple of great youth pastor openings that he is helping churches fill through HelpStaffMe and the William Vanderbloemen Group. One opportunity is for a larger church in California and the other is a good-size ministry in the South. Both are looking for experienced youth workers ready to make a move . Justin is going to be at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this week if you’re here in Chicago, or you can click over to HelpStaff.Me and apply online.

If you’re interested in either position, or just want to work with them on potentially pairing you with a great church in the future, head over there and check them out. Good people, good opportunities.


Posted by Kurt Johnston

…The Rob Bell dust-up over the weekend really got me heated. If you don’t know about it, and want to, google “Rob Bell universalism”. A few thoughts floating around my head in light of all of this:

- What ever happened to “They will know you are my disciples if you love one another?” Who was it that said that, anyway?

- Why do Christ-followers , who should display at least some of the fruits of the spirit (peace, patience, self control…) seem to be the best at making bold proclamations, accusations and criticisms about people and things before we could possibly know the full context, details, etc.?

- I cringe when I see words like “heresy” and “heretic” being used so easily.

- If theology is man’s attempt to study, understand and apply the ways of God…then it makes COMPLETE sense that at least some of our theology is wrong. I gotta admit, it would be nice if our (my)theology of hell was wrong….how wonderful would it be if Christ’s punishment, death and resurrection actually resulted in everybody going to Heaven!

Soul Surfer

 —  March 2, 2011 — 1 Comment

Last night, my friend and I got a chance to see an early screening of Soul Surfer. And since I love Bethany Hamilton’s story, I was excited to see it on the big screen.

  • My small groups girls will love it…and yours will too. It’s a great TRUE story of a GIRL who overcomes a major trauma. I had the chance to meet Bethany a few years back at our Student Leadership Conference (SLC) and she’s the real deal. She loves Jesus and wants to bring glory to his name. I am certain that my girls (and your girls) will be inspired. I am certain that boys will like it too.
  • I was mostly impressed with the movie. There were a few parts I felt myself squirm because…let’s be honest, their budget was not the same budget as Lord of the Rings. And well, Carrie Underwood is a really good singer. But seriously, Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt were pretty amazing. I loved a lot of the family moments in the movie.

The movie will be in theatres everywhere on April 8th- Definitley consider taking your girls to see it. I am certain they will enjoy it. And I promise it will lead to some interesting conversations!

Simply Youth Ministry is running a free shipping deal with all orders over $99. If you’ve been thinking about picking up something from them (here are some recommendations) now would be a great time!


The Group Workcamp people are awesome. But Toby Rowe? He loves to be hugged. The #10th person to hug Toby and say, “This is from Steph Caro” wins a GWF Hoodie! Hey, wins #2 GWF hoodies!

If you’ve ever done a mission trip but never with Group Workcamps, your kids deserve you stopping by and at least hearing what they have to say. Nobody does it better than GWF! Don’t let the price frighten you away if you’re used to doing your own trip for cheaper. Going with GWF will cost you less in the long run. Seriously, I’ve done over 50 camps with these people and they created the mold and are always breaking it to create new, fresh things.

Stop by and meet them. They’re located next to the I.T. Team booth and across from registration.