Hey everyone from YS Palooza!

Thanks for making our youth ministry workshop on small group leaders so fun this weekend — I enjoyed meeting many of you and here are a bunch of links from the 99 Thoughts for Small Group Leader trainings I promised you as well:


The graduation gift set from Simply Youth Ministry is a great idea for your seniors that are heading off to college next year. It includes 3 great resources – 99 Thoughts for College-Age People, Creative Times with God and Live Large, Be Different, Shine Bright.

Want to get 5 sets for free – sent right to your door just in time for the end of the school year and senior weekend? All you have to do is leave a comment on this post here on the blog and you’re in on the giveaway. I’ll pick one comment at random on Wednesday. Worth playing for? Hope you win!


Simply Youth Ministry has put together a little graduation bundle that might be perfect for your graduating seniors. It includes books by Doug Fields, Chuck Bomar and myself and is close to half price when bundled together. Check it out!

Here are a few other posts if you’re checking out gift ideas for seniors, too:


So… you’re going on a mission trip this summer. You’re the one in charge and you’re planning everything. You’ve selected the location, the local partner, the service you’re doing, how long you’re going to be there, the place you’re going to stay, the meals you’re going to eat, who’s speaking during your worship services, and who’s driving the vans. Whew! Did I leave anything out?

That’s a ton of work. And then, you’ll be the one in charge the whole time that you’re there (not to mention the trip to and back). Wow… that’s a lot. But, wait…

Doug Fields’ post about Serve first… lead second made me think about all the incredible leadership opportunities that exist in a week-long summer mission trip. Within the context of that week away from home, in uncomfortable situations, real significant growth can be be produced in a teenagers life. It’s a great situation to give them a chance to lead. Here’s a few ways you can facilitate that and make your life easier during the mission trip.

1) The Service Project: Why not let one of your youth be the leader at the project site? Once you know that details of the project and have made sure the basic safety issues are covered – let one of your kids lead. How cool would it be to see a 15 year-old girl organize and direct the work of her peers and adults? Imagine the pride a teenager would feel knowing they gave the guidance and encouragement everyone needed to serve well. You’ll be there to make sure nothing “goes wrong” but maybe you can give up control and see your students succeed.

2) The Worship and Devotions: You’ve planned for times of worship during your mission trip. Think about how you can give students a chance to lead in those moments. Can a student lead a devotion during lunch at your service project? Could a different student pray each night as part of your worship service? You could also encourage your teenagers to share a testimony or “God Sighting” of what God is doing in their life (recently or during the trip).

3) At Your Lodging Facility: This is great place for your kids to step up and take the lead. Let a student lead free-time activities. Give a student the opportunity lead the dish washing crew or the bathroom cleaning crew. If you’re cooking your own meals, give your students the chance to actually cook (please follow applicable safety guidelines).

Your mission trip experience can be so much more than only serving someone in need. And it can be so much more than you being the only one leading. There are many, many opportunities for you to see real growth in students. Don’t miss out on the chance to see the teenagers in your group grow as leaders as well.

Our friend Doug Fields had a good post this past weekend that connected service and student leadership. Even better, his post drew that connection with The Big Day of Serving. Thanks Doug!

Serve first… lead second. Give kids an opportunity to serve!


Our student leadership is just getting off the ground again right now (you can download our application later this week if you want to adapt it for your ministry) and we’re looking at curriculum to take our students through. Up first we’re going to do a book study of Doug Fields’ Help! I’m a Student Leader book, then we’re probably going to adapt LIVE’s Leadership lessons. We already use the LIVE Curriculum in our Life Groups, seems like a great fit. Here’s a bit of the company line if you want to check it out, too:

We’ve partnered with our good friends at LeaderTreks to help your students and adults discover indispensable biblical principles that are relevant both to daily life and to youth ministry. LeaderTreks has built a solid reputation as a national ministry committed to helping congregations pursue the goal of consistent leadership development within youth ministries.


Just finished up recording a “digital presenter” session for the Converge Student Leadership Conference in the Midwest. I wish I could have been a part of it live – but I’m pumped to teach on video. Looks like such a fun event! I would highly recommend either Converge in the Midwest or Student Leadership Conference on either coast! Oh, and while we’re on the subject of student leaders, Doug Franklin has been killing it, lately!


Doug Fields just posted a hilarious new promo video from this Fall we used to promote the Facebook Official series in HSM. It is one of my favorite videos we’ve ever done in HSM – for a long time we had held back because … well, it is pretty awesome. If you want to check it out – head over to his blog and watch it = really effective, really funny.