Recent Articles

Free NYWC Video - Mark Yaconelli

by Mark Yaconell Posted in Free ResourcesTrainingYouth Worker Development

In this free video, Mark Yaconelli reminds us of the gift we bring to young people and calls us to remember the God we’ve met. It’s a perfect reminder; it’s not your job to save your church or chase the shiny, new and spectacular.  We are so excited that Mark will be joining us again at NYWC in both San Diego and Nashville.  We hope you consider joining us too.  To learn more, visit

YS Unconference Wrap-up

by Mark Matlock Posted in TrainingYouth Worker Development

13 cities, hundreds of youth workers, 30 denominations, 13 days of conversations all in about five weeks time. That was my YS UnConference experience.

Three Tips for Youth Workers who are Parents

by Kara Powell and Brad Griffi Posted in Adolescent DevelopmentParentsTrainingYouth Worker Development

“I am better with other people’s kids than I am my own.” We’ll never forget the first time we heard this honest, gut-wrenching confession from a successful youth pastor. This sharp, thoughtful leader was honestly sharing his own struggles with being a parent in ministry. When he articulated the words above, you could hear a collective resonance in the room as leaders from around the country agreed: Yes, this is an issue for us too.

Connecting with Students

by Jonathan McKee Posted in ArticlesFeatured ArticleHigh SchoolProgrammingTrainingYouth Worker Development

Last month a student from the high school just down the street from me excused himself from class about 10:15 a.m., walked into a restroom, and shot himself. It was his 17th birthday.  

The 3 Foundations to Small Groups You Must Know

by Laurie Polic Posted in Adolescent DevelopmentArticlesAdviceFeatured ArticleFeatured ReviewHigh SchoolMiddle SchoolParentsProgrammingResource and Book ReviewsTrainingYouth Worker Development

Small groups are not the end of ministry; they are the beginning. Many youth workers believe that if they can get kids into small groups, their job is done. But the real job has just begun. Ministry is about life change, and for this to happen, there needs to be an intentional ap- proach to HOW small groups will nurture and shape students’ lives.   Exerpt from "Small Group Strategies" by Laurie Polich

Helping Teenagers in Crisis

by Youth Specialtie Posted in Adolescent DevelopmentArticlesAdviceFree ResourcesProgrammingTrainingYouth Worker Development

When teens hurt, youth workers are often the first to know. When parents panic or worry about their children, they are the first to be called, and when tragedy strikes a community, they are the pillars many look to communicate how students should process and confront challenging and life-changing situations.

Waking Up From The American Dream

by Jonathan McKee Posted in Adolescent DevelopmentArticlesAdviceFeatured ArticleFree ResourcesHigh SchoolMiddle SchoolMovie Study GuidesParentsProgrammingResource and Book ReviewsTrainingYouth Worker Development

It was over a decade ago. The kids were young. Ashley was still in diapers. We attended a wealthy church where most of our friends had loads of spending money in their pockets. We didn’t.

Do Your Teenagers Know How to Pray?

by Kara Powell and Brad Griffi Posted in Adolescent DevelopmentFeatured ArticleHigh SchoolMiddle SchoolParentsProgrammingResource and Book ReviewsTrainingYouth Worker Development

In a recent gathering of youth workers, we asked everyone (ourselves included) to take thirty minutes in solitude to consider the following about what prayer was like as a teenager: What helped you come alive to God? What disciplines sustained your faith? What do you remember about the content, frequency, and rhythms of your prayers?

After the Altar Call

by David R Smit Posted in Adolescent DevelopmentArticlesAdviceFeatured ArticleFree ResourcesHigh SchoolMiddle SchoolParentsProgrammingTrainingYouth Worker Development

There are many potential mistakes that can ruin an altar call and negatively affect a teenager’s decision to follow Christ. And though all of us have made these errors from time to time, the good news is, we don’t have to ever again! Here are the seven biggest mistakes youth ministry leaders make during altar calls…and a few simple ways to correct them.

5 Ways to Value a Youth Ministry Volunteer’s Time

by Aaron Helman Posted in ColumnsArticlesAdviceFeatured ArticleHigh SchoolMiddle SchoolProgrammingTrainingYouth Worker Development

Your volunteers are busy people just like you. They have families and jobs and their own relationships with God. After juggling all of those things, they still manage to help you lead a thriving ministry. My guess is you want them to continue to do that for quite some time. The fastest way to drive away good volunteers is to waste their time. That's why you need to be intentional about making sure you don't.

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