Appearances aren’t everything.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely the “go-to” person for youth ministry in your church. Maybe I’m wrong, but play along with me for a moment.

Now let’s take a quick rabbit trail.

I was looking for an image recently using the keyword “expert.”

Google is normally my friend for this, but in this particular instance I came up short.


Google Images essentially told me that in all of the Internet’s pages, there was no picture that matched this word.

First off, that’s never, ever happened to me before.

Secondly, I found it completely satirical that this was the word Google said couldn’t be matched to anything that represented it.

I thought it might’ve been a fluke, so I typed in searches using other words. They all showed up, but again and again for more than 20 minutes, I couldn’t get an image for the word “expert.”

That all changed when I tried it again an hour later. But for a brief moment in time, there was no “expert” to be found.

Now… how does that relate to you?

expert2Should you have the appearance of being the expert on youth ministry (or whatever your area of responsibility) is in your church?

Or, should you help someone else become the expert on youth ministry (or whatever your area of responsibility is) in your church?

For that matter, should anyone be an expert… or should we all be learners?

Well, what do you know?

Any thoughts?


Thiago-nascimento-opera-background-speaker-jpg1In this episode of Let’s Talk Youth Ministry, Kurt Johnston and I give four practical tips to the youth worker who may be feeling disgruntled towards leadership. This is a topic that will come up at some point in your time in ministry. Check it out!!

If you have any questions or topic suggestions send them to: Also, Subscribe


Hope it helps,

AC & Kurt


It saddens me to read blogs and hear about so many people in ministry being bruised and hurt by leaders within the church. And while I understand there is another side to the story, I believe the first side should start with us as leaders. So if you are leading a ministry or a leader in a ministry, here are a few things for you to think about and also share with your leaders. These are some things I believe we forget from time to time and as a result people are hurt.

You Are Flawed – Being in leadership does not change this fact. Actually, being in leadership should heighten your sensitivity to the fact that you are flawed, and the depth of the pain and hurt you are able to inflict is immeasurable. So you are flawed, and your logic should never trump scripture.

You Are Held To A Higher Standard – God holds us to a higher standard because it protects us and the people we lead, not because we are special. God created standards for protection not punishment. Viewing them as punishment sets you on the road to not keeping them. Yes, in ministry you have someone to report to, but the truth of the matter is in the end we will all have to report to God. And the standards your direct report sets for you does not relinquish you from the standards God has already set as a minister of the gospel. This is something we must remember as we lead.

A Life Of Duality Ends In Destruction – It’s only a matter of time before you are exposed. Reach out for help NOW, because being found out does you and everyone you know more HARM than good.

Being Prideful Is A Sin – There is a reason why being prideful is a sin. It’s because the very meaning of pride is to take pleasure in ones own accomplishments. As a leader, taking pride in anything becomes a slippery slope you can’t afford. How about taking a position of humility in everything. Recognizing God and those he’s placed in your life to help you become the person you are today. Pride displays a false sense of the truth, so don’t buy the lie. I’m not saying you can’t receive a complement. I’m just saying, receive it in perspective.

Now, I didn’t write this to bash on leaders. I wrote it because as a leader in ministry I need to be reminded of these things. If we don’t put ourselves in check, we will be checked by the consequences of our actions. So what are some other things we need to remember that causes harm to those we lead?

Hope it helps,


491398827_640Evangelizing can be weird for students. I felt like a salesman trying to share my faith when I was in school. And not just any salesman, but a salesman who sells things people don’t know they want or even need. A perfect example of this is the person at the kiosk booths at the mall. They pace up and down talking to people who aren’t paying them any attention. Trying to sell them something they didn’t even come to the mall to get. I used to feel that way when I would have to go out and share my faith. I would think to myself, these people don’t want to hear what I have to say. It wasn’t until I got older that I understood that it will always be about sharing something with people who don’t know they need it.

Now, I personally believe God uses a lot of different ways to share His message through us. So I will never say one way is better. Because in some way or another God uses them all. But in this post I want to discuss evangelizing through relationship.

While I wouldn’t say it’s better, I will say it’s my favorite when it comes to teaching students how to evangelize to their friends. Evangelizing through relationships teaches students three things:

  1. It reinforces the main point of the gospel, which is God’s longing to be in relationship with us.
  2. It helps students not see the person being evangelized as a project or a deal needing closing, but a person God loves.
  3. It helps them speak through their own relationship with God, and from their own story and experiences which can’t be disputed.

So here are the four steps I like to walk students through when it comes to sharing there faith with their friends.

I Teach Them To Know The Gospel - Have you ever lead someone to a destination you didn’t know the directions to? I’m guessing your answer is NO. Well, it’s the same when it comes to sharing our faith. You gotta know how you got to where you are, in order to show people how to get there.

I Teach Them To Know Their Story – A lot of times students are paralyzed by fear because they don’t know what to say. So I’ll have students write their story out using a template if needed. And it will be about how God has changed their life. They will use this information to share the gospel. I’ve learned that people are more interested in hearing what God has done in your life, than just hearing what He can possibly do in theirs. So teach them to know their story.

I Teach Them To Get To Know Their Friends Story - A lot of times we know people and are friends with them, but we never engage in any conversations concerning the issues of life. So it’s important they know you care about the details of their life, because you are modeling how much God cares about them. Also, you have to earn the right to speak into their life, the same way people have to earn the right to speak into yours. We do that through getting to know who they are. Learning someone else’s journey is the quickest way to grow in relationship with that person. Get to know there story.

I Teach Them To Understand The Gospel And How It Intersects Their Story. – The gospel becomes more real once you understand how it applies to you. And for the most part we are most comfortable talking about ourselves. So it’s important that we don’t just know the verses and the right christianized language. We need to understand the gospel in light of how it relates to our story. And there is a confidence that comes to the one who understands this point.

Hope it  helps,


Thiago-nascimento-opera-background-speaker-jpg1In this episode I called on Kurt’s 25 years of youth ministry experience. Check it out!!!

Email any questions or topic suggestions to:

Also, Don’t forget to Subscribe to get the most current episode emailed to you!!

Hope it helps,

AC & Kurt

Thiago-nascimento-opera-background-speaker-jpg1Our 25th episode is HERE!!! In this episode we give you four ways that has helped us support our students, in their spiritual growth. We love sharing our experiences and learnings with you, so thanks for watching. Don’t forget to Subscribe to get the newest show straight to email.


Hope it helps,

AC & Kurt

Thiago-nascimento-opera-background-speaker-jpg1Ever thought how do I grow my youth ministry? Well, Kurt and I will spend the next few weeks discussing some ways to grow your ministry. So tune in!!!


Hope it helps,

AC & Kurt

Connecting-PuzzleEver had students show up to youth group, and they look like a deer caught in head lights? They know no one, and feel super awkward. We’ve definitely experienced this in our ministry, and especially with freshman. So we did a few things to help them out this year. Here they go:

  1. Freshman Frenzy - It’s an event just for freshman where we get to love on them, and cater everything we do just for them. At this event we want to do two things. We want to connect them to the ministry, and to other students. This resource (This Book Gets Around) was a huge hit at this event. It allowed students to interact with each other without being awkward. We also had ways to get connected to the ministry on display.
  2. Ten Minute Party - This is a gathering for students who have brought a friend to church. Students are able to grab free snacks and info. And for fall kick-off we printed up some shirts that said (HSM Loves Your School). We gave them away to the student who brought a friend, and we gave one to the friend they brought. Some of the shirts were personalized to the five large schools that make up our ministry. Those went over really well.
  3. 10 by 10 - We take 10 minutes out of our large group time, and we split students up into grades. We use this time to connect students to their peers in our ministry. They also get to connect with a leader and student leader.

The idea is to help students get connected. We often times encourage students to bring their friends to church which is great, but we also need to make sure their friend can get connected easily. So here are 3 questions to ask your volunteers and staff:

  1. Are we doing a great job getting students connected? – You need to have a process to plug students into, so they have the opportunity to connect with the ministry and other students.
  2. Are we doing a great job at helping are students invite their friends?- Sometimes we assume students know how to invite friends or share the gospel. Help them in these areas because both are not as easy as we think.
  3. Do we have a follow-up plan for the students who do come? – We miss out when we don’t follow up with the students who wants to be connected.

Almost every student that walks into your ministry is a potential returner turned regular. I believe in order for that to happen we must become intentional, and we you can’t give up. Keep trying new things until you find something that works for your ministry. What are you doing to connect students?

Hope it helps,