Leadership in Flux

Jeff Thompson —  February 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

A couple months ago I came across this article – “The Secrets of Generation Flux.”

I found it fascinating and very applicable to ministry life today. These younger leaders and the description of how to lead a new generation speak directly to who we serve and lead with.

I would love to know what you think? Did you find parallels to your ministry? Did the article ring true for you? Or did it seem too far fetched for you – off base?

generation flux

New Things

Jeff Thompson —  February 4, 2013 — Leave a comment

new thingsIt’s scary to start new things. They’re different. They might not work. They might actually work and grow and become bigger than you could’ve imagined or prepared for. Starting new things is hard…

And yet… don’t we need to? Jesus basically started new things every day for the years he was working publicly and developing his disciples. Everything was new. And it was excited. It was impossible to prepare for. It failed and succeeded in ways that no one involved could predict.

The scary process of starting new things is part of the history of Group Mission Trips. For almost 30 years we only did one kind of mission trip – our Workcamp program. And we new exactly how that worked. How to prepare and plan.  How to lead. Bu then several years ago we felt God leading us to start a new ministry. A new direction for us. A new way to serve those with needs. That’s how Week of Hope was born.

The crazy, fun thing is since the moment we chose to start something new (Week of Hope) we haven’t stopped. From that choice Lifetree Adventures, Leading Edge Outreach, and The Big Day of Serving have all come (and gone). One of those was a “failure” in the sense that it didn’t work for us and the churches we serve. But we still tried and there are even more new things on the horizon now.

What about your ministry? When the last time you dared to venture out and start something completely new? Change the night of your main youth group meeting? That’s crazy talk. Stop doing your favorite outreach program for something new? Impossible. Take your students on a mission trip far from home? Just too difficult. Or it it…

What “new thing” could God be calling you to if you listened?

simple truthOur friends at Simply Youth Ministry have created a great new resource for your students.  I wanted to share it with you.  Imagine empowering your students to spend just a few minutes each day discovering a life-shaping, thought-provoking, Jesus-centered truth that can transform them into the kind of people God crafted them to be.

Sounds like a worthwhile investment, doesn’t it?

The Simple Truth Bible features 366 daily devotionals—each one a tasty, bite-size morsel that powerfully reveals what it means to deeply love and trust God, to lead a Jesus-centered life, and to lean on Scripture for guidance and wisdom.

Teenagers will discover how to experience hope in the middle of tough times, how God deeply and passionately loves them, how to build an authentic friendship with Jesus, and how they were created to lead a life of impact in this world and for eternity.

Each devotion includes:

  • Thoughts on a specific passage of Scripture and how it relates to students’ lives
  • Insights to help teenagers turn their thoughts into prayers as they spend time with God
  • Ideas to follow if students want to spend more than a few minutes each day with God
  • Perspective on how that day’s passage fits into the big picture of the Bible


familyreunionLast week we gathered with youth leaders from around the country.  It was a great time of thinking, analyzing, and celebrating together our love of youth mission trips.  Sorta like a family reunion (but not like the cheesy family reunion photo I chose for this post).  I love times like that.  It was our second year of hosting this meeting and just like last year I learned new things.

Here’s some of my insights:

  • This group was pretty representative of youth ministry as a whole.  There were more volunteer youth leaders than paid.  There were just as many women as men.  And many of these leaders were responsible for more than just high school ministry at their church.
  • No surprise, but these leaders believed that involving youth in service was integral to their developing a healthy relationship with Jesus.
  • The relationship we have with these leaders means they are willing to share honest, real feedback with us.
  • These leaders want to grow and develop.  They do not think they have it all figured out.

When you read this list do you think of your team, your ministry?  We consider these leaders part of our team.  We create the mission experiences we create for them.  They are on our team.  My prayer and hope for you would be your ministry would be made up of these kinds of people.

  • People from every walk of life, age, level of involvement, levels of experience, both women and men.  All of them interested in working with you to help students grow in their relationship with Jesus.
  • People who understand that involving students in service is an integral part of their development.
  • People to give you honest, real feedback.
  • People who want to grow and develop.  Not happy with what they know or worse believe they have nothing to learn

If you already have a team like this, consider yourself blessed.  God is going to use you to change lives.



Simply Youth Ministry Conference is  a great event for relaxing, recharging, reconnecting with your passion for ministry.  It’s one of my favorite youth ministry events of the year.

  • There are over 190 hours of brand new training this year.  Check it out!
  • Lecrae, All Sons & Daughters, Shane & Shane, and Jordan Howerton Band will all be performing.

To take advantage of the early bird pricing please Register Here.  See you there!

I’m not a big baseball fan.  I grew up in Chicago and when I was young there wasn’t much baseball to root for in either the Cubs or Sox.  So, you can understand if I’m not passionate about our nation’s past-time.

I have however been watching a little of the playoffs this year.  I’ve really like the winner take all games (the one game Wild Card playoff and the game 5).  The pressure.  The intensity.  The “if I don’t do this now our season is over” feeling you see on the players faces.  It’s crazy sometimes how it all comes down to one play…

I remember a similar feeling in my youth ministry.  The feeling that every event, every Bible study, every mid-week meeting was that one moment that would give someone a chance to find Jesus or not.  It was intense…  I felt pressure.  It was like every illustration, game, discussion, every talk… every word was going to bring a student closer to Jesus… or not.  It caused me to plan and rehearse and schedule and, well, do all kinds of crazy things.

I now realize that Jesus uses any and all experiences to bring people into a deeper relationship with him.  It comes during planned times and spontaneous times.  Jesus connects with us wherever we are, whenever the time is right.  I don’t believe I would plan and schedule and stress the same way with any youth group I was leading.  I would want to create an environment in youth ministry where Jesus could step in at any moment – where Jesus was free to break in and change everything.

I guess it would be like a home run in the bottom of the ninth – without the fear of striking out.

It’s not a joke…  I really think serving a summer with Group Mission Trips is the best thing a ministry-minded college student could do.  Part of our DNA is believing in youth leadership.  It goes all the way back to our very first mission trip.  That’s why any student who is hired is given a tremendous amount of responsibility.  We literally believe in and trust college students to lead our mission locations each and every summer.  There is no other experience I know of that gives as much hands-on, real-life ministry experience as serving with us does.  If you know a college student that is interested in or loves ministry, please have them check out the opportunities below.





Came across this blog post yesterday.  Thought you might enjoy it.  It’s from a business blog but I thought the ideas and principles really connected with ministry.

The First 15 Minutes of Your Day May Sabotage How You Finish

Jeff Michaels works with us at Group and is genuine smart guy who cares about helping people find success.