4 Questions To Ask About Your Ministry Program

By Justin Knowles

Things are rolling in this season of our ministry. Both the student ministry and the college ministry of Christ’s Church of the Valley are moving forward and by the grace of God, we have not ran it into the ground yet. In a few weeks our team is going out for a team planning day. We will have lunch, coffee, sit around and talked about what is to come in the next season. Needless to say I am stoked! But as we have been planning here are some great questions we had to answer in order for us to move forward effectively:

Why are we doing this? – We don’t want to do something just to do it. As tempting or cool as something might be, we want to have a purpose or reason why we are doing a certain series or event. When we answer this, we then can help get everyone on board, get our volunteers excited and everyone knows what the goal is. When you know where you are going, you can actually get there.

Is this the best we can do? – When we decide what we want to do and why, the question is, “Is this the best way possible to do it?” Am I able to give this my best? Is the best use of our resources? Can we do something else that is more effective? I stole this event process from Josh Griffin and it’s “best idea wins”. What is the best way to pull this off to make it awesome.

What are we doing that is not working? – This one is a little tougher. This is going to have you and the team look at what your ministry is doing right now and evaluate it. We might have started something a while ago but it has lost its touch, effectiveness, and spark. This will lead you to the last question, which is…

What needs to die? – When something needs to die, it needs to die. I know that everything you do in your ministry right now at one time solved a problem at one time. The question is, “Is that problem already solved and are we still doing that thing?” If the answer is “yes” then it is time to look at that thing and kill it. It points you back to the first question of “Why are we doing this?” If you can’t answer it, kill it. If the answer to “Is this the best we can do?” is “No”, then kill it. If you determine it’s not working as well as it once used to, then kill it. You will see how much more momentum you will gain when you don’t have that dead wait.

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How to Communicate with Parents by Text While You're at Summer Camp

By Josh Griffin

Parents adored our communication at summer camp in the past and I'm not sure I ever really recorded some of the stretegy about it up to this point! Parents need some communcation while their kids are away - but how much? And what kind? If you want parents singing your praises when they pick their kids up, put some thought into it! Here are a few of mine, adapated from a text conversation from a friend running it this week! 

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Do Your Students Think Of Your Ministry As A Place To Discuss, Doubt & Process?

By Justin Knowles

So I don’t know if you have noticed yet, maybe you don’t have a TV or any form of social media, but there is a TON of things happening around us. People are flooding to social media putting up opinions for all to see (which is not a bad thing, everyone has that right). My mind goes to the question, “What does this mean for my ministry and my students?” because I don’t doubt they are seeing a bunch of different articles being posted left and right about a whole bunch of things and they will have a ton to process and a ton of questions. Where can they do this safely? My hope is in your ministry. One of the safest places on the planet to talk through life, faith and culture should be their student ministry.

Developmentally, most don’t have the ability to fully process everything they are hearing, reading and seeing. What does this mean for us youth pastors? It means we need to provide an atmosphere for students to discuss, bring up, and have conversations about what is going through their heads. When students are talking about stuff, it helps them process their thoughts, and when they are processing their thoughts they are growing and learning.

One of the best things we can do for our student ministries is to make sure we create a safe place for students to think, bring up doubts and confusions without fear of judgment or fear of ridicule from their pastor and volunteers to begin to walk through some great questions on faith, culture and the doubts and questions that come along with it. If it’s life transformation we are all after in the lives of students it starts with learning about the heart, the desires, the thoughts, the lives of those who are in our care and pointing them back to Jesus. Your service, program, room (whatever you do) should be a safe place for students to talk and process through and we are there to help, guide, pray with them through it all. Side note: All of that could be squashed in two seconds by a “not really thought through” post on social media. They are watching to see how you respond to whatever is big at the time.

Jesus was the best at asking questions. Read the through the Gospels and you will see. Questions start conversations and dig into lives and lets people know you care for them and the same goes with students in our youth ministry. Asking our students questions shows we care about what they have to say and we can begin these conversations.

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HSM Summer Camp 2016 Live Feed

By Josh Griffin

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Embracing Pokemon's Pokestop at Your Church

By Josh Griffin

A ton of places of worship are Pokemon "stops" or "gyms" from the incredibly popular new Pokemon Go app. It is easily the videogame sensation of the year! It also presents an incredibly unique opportunity for many churches to embrace the floods of people swinging by their property to play the game.

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How to respond to parents' questions

By Jen Bradbury

A week ago, I held a logistics meeting for our combined junior high and high school mission trip. This is an interesting trip because it's filled with a mix of students, some of whom are going on their first ever mission trip; Others who are veteran mission trip participants who have gone on 6-7 trips.

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Download Youth Ministry Podcast: Episode 294

By Josh Griffin

Another episode of the Download Youth MInistry Podcast. Enjoy the show - and please be sure to visit and thank our sponsors Orange, Leadertreks, YM360 & Azusa Pacific University. Just enough youth ministry so you don't feel guilty for listening!

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POLL: Getting the Word Out

By Josh Griffin

Fun poll this week about promoting events and what tool you're currently using to get the word out. Hope you're having a GREAT summer of ministry!

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2 Student Leadership Conferences Down ... 1 to Go!

By Josh Griffin

Here are 2 highlight videos from our Student Leadership Conferences this summer - we've had an absolute blast the past 2 events in Indiana and Georgia - we've got 1 last one this week here starting tonight in Southern California. What a great time so far this summer! You HAVE to join us in 2017! Dates coming soon! Read More

VIDEO: Student Leaders Show Up

By Josh Griffin

Here's a video from our Student Leadership Conference 2016 about student leaders who show up. Hope the video is inspiring, and if it is helpful in any way, feel free to play it in your youth group, too!

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Josh Griffin


Josh is the High School Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He’s the co- founder of DYM and is the father of 4 who speaks a little, writes a little, Twitters a bit, and blogs a lot.

Blog Authors


Doug Fields

Doug Fields is a 30+ year youth ministry veteran who is the Author of 50+ books, Founder of Simply Youth Ministry, Speaker, Pastor, Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth & Family at Azusa Pacific University, and a Partner in DYM.


Rachel Blom

Rachel Blom is from The Netherlands originally and has youth ministry experience in several countries, both as a volunteer and on staff.


Justin Knowles

Justin Knowles is the Lead Next Gen. Pastor of Christ's Church of the Valley in San Dimas, CA. He oversees Jr. High, High School and College ministries at the church.


Colton Harker

Colton Harker serves college-age students at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He loves Jesus, people, life change, and Netflix.


Christopher Wesley

Blogging serving at a Catholic Church. Chris Wesley has been in youth ministry for over 9 years as the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Maryland.


Jen Bradbury

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus and her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. She also blogs regularly at www.YMJen.com


Neely McQueen

Blogging about girls' ministry. Neely McQueen has been working with students for over 15 years. She works in Student Ministries at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, WA.


Leneita Fix

Author, Speaker, Director Ministry Development for Asian Youth Ministries. Love 22 years of working with youth and equipping others in the trenches in youth ministry.

Geoff Stewart

Geoff Stewart

Geoff Stewart serves the Jr/Sr High School Pastor at Peace Portal Alliance Church in Surrey B.C. and doesn't appreciate the jokes about being Canadian (unless they are funny of course).


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the founder of The Source for Youth Ministry and the author of over a dozen books like More Than Just the Talk and Connect.



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