Kenda Creasy Dean at #NYWC

There is a strange phenomenon going on right now within Christendom. Those who have beautiful and creative ways to expand the kingdom are doing so outside the context of the local church.

The American Church has been operating within a very small frame. And the way that you frame a story matters. The bigger the frame, the bigger the impact, so why has the church narrowed its scope and frame?

Not only have we narrowed the audience we are hoping to captivate, but we have narrowed the ways we seek to expand the kingdom.

Is the church where people think small? Is the church where good ideas go to die? Why is the church not more entrepreneurial?

This could be the very reason the church stateside is dwindling…

We may have set the church above the kingdom. And Jesus didn’t say “seek yes first the church,” he said, “seek he first the KINGDOM.” Have young people left the church not because of disbelief, but because of the church itself!

Young people long to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to make an impact, they want to initiate change! So why is the church standing in the way?!

Youth Pastors, there is no greater place to begin the process of transformation than in the youth ministry. How can you expand the frame? How can you, WITH your students, think bigger?

Kara Powell: Yes or No at #NYWC

It is difficult to continually say “yes” to the commitments in our lives. We are constantly having to decide what, and who, we say YES to.

Time talks…it can shout the truth where words lie.” – Dorothy Bass

We say YES so much that we end up saying NO to the people we care about most.

Are we sacrificing our families on the alter of ministry?

We are not the only ones wrestling with this. The families in our ministries have a hard time prioritizing as well. Parents are saying YES without realizing the NO’s.

We should decide our yes’s and our no’s based on our theology, not our schedules. If not, our busyness makes us practical atheists.

“Exhaustion has become the new status symbol” -Brene Brown

This lays in stark contrast to Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”

So what truths are we speaking over ourselves and over our students in light of this? Is our job to to try harder to glorify God, our are we and the students we lead, called to REST in what God has already accomplished?

Here are two steps to help your decision making process as you rest in Him:

1. If it’s not a definite yes, it’s a no.
2. Chose your few great “yes” priorities.

Pick 4 and do those four well!

For more great information from Kara, check out

Tullian Tchividjian: Grace at #NYWC

Here you will find my notes from Tullians message at #NYWC

We have a problem fully embracing Gods grace. We like to replace what He has DONE with what we have to DO.

We like to replace “it is finished,” with “we need to accomplish.” Then in our attempts to produce and be approved by God we turn to our good works to pump up our self worth and value.

When we do this we have created idols of worship that pale in comparison to the inexhaustible grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

“We are idol making factories” -John Calvin

We tend to make idols out of anything and everything. Even our performance as pastors and youth pastors becomes our idol. We get bent on fixing people and fail to realize that WE can’t fix people. Furthermore, the fact that WE are trying to fix people demonstrates that we are idolaters and and aren’t even “fixed” ourselves!

Even our best attempts to glorify God are steeped in selfishness. Therefore we are fully dependent on Christ to redeem and cover even our attempts to glorify Him.

You are not good enough. You will NEVER be, but this is why we believe in His substitution for us. He achieved, accomplished, and finished what we could never do, which is our righteousness.

Walt Mueller: 5 Pressing Trends in Youth Ministry

The World is changing and we need to keep up with the trends. The more we understand what is shaping our teens, the better we will be able to speak into their context with Gods truth and wisdom.

Our goal is to integrate our faith through every square inch of our lives which is worship. (See Romans 12:1-2)

Culture is…

1. The soup they swim in.

We want to know what’s in the soup. If this is what they are eating up, it will be what they become.

2. A Map.

Culture for teens often dictates the direction they head. Culture often tells teens, “you are what you look like.”

3. A Mirror.

Culture will reflect the pressures and realities that teens face. Get to know culture and you’ll better understand teens.

5 Trends:

1. The Me.

It’s all about me. What I can do, achieve, and receive. When reed this by telling our children that they are princes and princesses. When we make our children “royalty” they will have a difficult time with submission to God and the edification of others above self.

We must help students have a deep deep understanding of their brokenness and depravity.

Are we raising a generation of narcissists or are we raining disciples marked by humility?

Our goal is to live counter-culturally for the glory of God and to teach our kids to do the same.

2. The Moment

Life is about the moment. Seize the day. YOLO. Eat, Drink and be Merry. Many students live in a manner to fully embrace the now and look forward to what’s next.

We need to help students understand how their decisions effect their long-term destination. Student seek instant gratification over delayed gratification. This flies against embracing the long-term process of sanctification.

3. The Marketing

students are being targeted and there is a worldview being sold. We must tech students how to think critically about culture and yhe messages being sent.

4. The Much

Student have too much of everything! Kids have too much information, activity, distraction, pressure, and negative parental input.

We need to teach student how to rest and Sabbath. We need to teach students about silence. God created us for a rythem of work AND rest.

5. The Mess

Students feel like they are drowning. Because there is so much to do and accomplish, they feel like they can do nothing well. This pressure leads to teenage apathy, pain, and struggle.

We must teach students that THEY cannot do everything on their own. But rather, they were created to lean fully on God and find comfort and help from a Gospel Community.

Find more great stuff from Walt Mueller at

#NYWC Session One

Because I’m so excited to be at The National Youth Workers Convention this year, I thought I’d live blog the event to share what God is teaching me.

Session One: Mark Matlock
5 Reasons the Church Needs Youth Ministry:

1. Youth Ministry is vital to helping teens integrate into the larger intergenerational community of the church.

The church must look to intentionally integrate, target, and speak to the life of teenagers.

2. Youth Ministry resists the status quo, helping a church stay relevant in a changing culture.

Youth are always on the cutting edge. What is relevant to them needs to be relevant to the church because they are the direction we are headed!

3. Youth Ministry focuses on inviting those who are not already part of the church into the deeper narrative of God’s plan for humankind.

So many come to faith during teenage years, so we must be intentional.

4. Youth Ministry reminds the church that teens are not marginalized members of the body but are co-creators and conspirators in the divine work of the church, restoring life on earth as it is in heaven.

The church must understand that teens are a part of the body that cannot function as a body unless ALL the parts are looked after and utilized.

5. Youth Ministry helps the church focus on the way of Jesus, which goes beyond tradition, dogma, and ritual.

Unless someone is around asking why, then tradition will die. Students keep life in the body by questioning everything. In these times we can breath life into the teens and reveal the meaning and purpose behind our liturgy.

Video Monday: Prayer

I’ve come across so many good videos recently so I thought I would share some of them with you over the next few Mondays! Some of them are worship songs/videos, some of them are sermons or sermon jams you need to hear, and some of them are creative works that will get your synapses firing.

In our second addition of Video Monday, I want to share a video we used at a recent retreat before we entered a time of prayer and reflection. This video is great to help students understand the role that prayer plays in our relationship with God. It also ends with the words “let us pray.” So think about using it next time you are preparing to transition into prayer and reflection.

Just take a watch. Be encouraged.

Have a great Monday!

David Sig 2


David Headshot

David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


3 Ways to Train Leaders

During my time in Youth Ministry I have seen leader trainings done many different ways. In different seasons of ministry, and for different events, different styles of training are necessary.

Furthermore, I have discovered that sticking to one style of training while excluding others is detrimental to the growth of the leaders in your ministry. So as you read about the different ways you can train leaders, pray about how you will implement them in your ministry.

3 Ways to Train Leaders:

1. Large Group Trainings

Large Group Trainings are best way to cast a consistent message to the masses. In addition, large group trainings stir camaraderie among the volunteers in your ministry. There’s just something special about having your whole volunteer base together to think, dream, and pray in the same direction! But here’s the kicker: What you provide better be good. The worst thing in the world is a long, boring, low quality group training where leaders are wondering why they stuck around after church when they could be at lunch or on the couch watching football!


  • Same vision cast to a large group
  • Time efficient.
  • Camaraderie.


  • Content better be high quality and engaging.
  • Hard to get 100% attendance.
  • Not overly relational.

2. Small Group Trainings

I love Small Group Trainings! Our Small Groups are divided by grades and we recently moved away from large group trainings for our small group leaders and moved toward…wait for it…small group trainings for small group leaders! Poof! (That was your mind.)

Small group trainings allow for great content to be distributed with a personal touch. Not only can you make sure that all your leaders understand the direction and vision of the ministry, but you can get specific on how everything applies to the ministry/group they lead.


  • Vision and instruction cast directly.
  • Mission can be localized to specific groups.
  • You can hear back from your leaders directly.


  • Multiple meetings over multiple weeks to reach everyone.
  • Vision must be cast over time rather than instantly.

3. One-on-One Trainings

These are by far my favorite! There is nothing more fulfilling than meeting with one of your leaders, having a heart-to-heart, pouring into them, and having them pour into you. The depth of conversation and connection that happen when you meet with each of your leaders cannot be replicated in larger gatherings!


  • Deep conversation & deep connection.
  • Relationship builders.
  • Personal & ministry development.


  • Takes FOREVER in larger ministries.
  • Calendar nightmare.

Final Thoughts:

How are you training your leaders? What’s working for you? How are you implementing each of these types of trainings? The goal of this post was not to reveal something new and groundbreaking, but rather to get you thinking about how intentional you are with your leader trainings.

I’d love to hear what’s working for you! Comment below!

David Headshot

David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


Video Monday: Good Good Father

I’ve come across so many good videos recently so I thought I would share some of them with you over the next few Mondays! Some of them are worship songs/videos, some of them are sermons or sermon jams you need to hear, and some of them are creative works that will get your synapses firing.

The first video I want to share with you is a worship song I can’t get out of my head! What I love  about this song is that it speaks to God’s identity as our Heavenly Father and our identity as a Child of God. It’s called “Good Good Father” by Housefires II.

Watch. Listen. Think. Worship.

Have a great Monday!

David Sig 2


David Headshot

David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


5 More Things Youth Pastors Need to Start

David Hanson wrote a fantastic rant post, “5 Things Youth Pastors Need to Stop”. Hopefully, you have stopped doing those 5 things by now but if not, there is still time. And if you have stopped those things or are planning to stop, here are 5 things Youth Pastors need to start!

1. Start Communicating the GOSPEL Dynamically

Entertainment can’t be the KING of your youth ministry and yet sadly it is for many churches. The KING has a throne and the KING’s name is Jesus. He needs to be the MAIN focus; the biblical story, his story, the gospel needs to be presented at every gathering or you’ve missed an important opportunity.

However, if you are going to push the gospel you need to learn to communicate it in a way that is engaging and dynamic. Primarily, because the gospel IS engaging and dynamic! So when you bore it all up, create a slumber party in your sermon, and cause people to leave scratching their head saying, “What?!” – it’s time to adjust the way you present the most life-changing, exciting news of ALL-TIME! If you don’t know how or where to start on that, stayed tuned for a followup post to this point.

2. Start Making it About Fruitfulness

Numbers can’t be your focus. When numbers are the focus, you lose sight on what Jesus thought was important. Jesus wasn’t anti-crowd or anti-big groups, however, he did push crowds away if they didn’t seem to get it. (John 6:60-66) Through Jesus’ teachings we learn that his primary goal was not MORE butts in seats but those that are growing the right fruit.

If God has entrusted you with 10 teens, disciple them so they are bearing good fruit! And they will then begin to disciple others. If God has entrusted your ministry with a 1,000 teens then find ways to make sure they are bearing good fruit so they also begin to share it with others! Both are HUGE tasks that need lots of prayer and all of the Holy Spirit.

3. Start Being You

If slang, trendy clothes, and knowing the lyrics to a Taylor Swift song is you. BE YOU and the teens will love it even if they pretend to hate it. If wearing New Balance shoes, cargo shorts, and saying things like “Aw Shucks!” is you, then BE YOU.

Don’t try to be a teen, cause you aren’t one. Don’t try to be considered “cool” by them because that actually will stunt their spiritual growth. What they really need is a Youth Pastor that is confident in who God has them to be! That’s what they want to become! I’ve seen very effective Youth Pastors on both ends of the “cool” spectrum but the defining quality was they were themselves, they weren’t faking it. Just be you, and lead your teens.

4. Start Creating a Long-Term Plan

You simply can’t allow anymore throw-away nights. Off-nights? Maybe. But don’t throw-away anymore nights. Create a plan for your gatherings and a goal/vision behind the gatherings! Pray that God gives you vision for these students for the six years (academics pending) you get to invest in their lives.

5. Start Implementing Healthy Margins In Your Life

Margins are what allow you to do youth ministry or any ministry for more than a few years. Burnout is real and you can’t do everything. Maybe this is a reminder to say “No” to a few things and “Yes” to a few days off. The reality is, inside ministry there is always something else that you can do so it’s important to find healthy margins.

David Headshot

Mark Knight is a Children’s and Youth Pastor in Tacoma, WA. He leads a team of directors that cover ministry from birth through young adults. He graduated from Northwest University with a double-major in Youth Ministry and Biblical Studies. Mark is married to his amazing wife, Lindsay, and they are expecting their first child in December.

5 Things Youth Pastors Need to Start

After ranting about 5 Things That Youth Pastors Need to Stop, I figured I should flip the script. So if you are a youth pastor, and your not doing the following…you need to start!

Below you will find five things that Youth Pastors Need to Start:

1. Start Engaging Parents.

Everyone who is doing research (i.e. Sticky Faith, Orange) related to youth ministry is pushing parental engagement and parent ministry. All of these studies are show that parents play the most significant role in the spiritual development of teens. Why fight upstream, trying to influence students on your own in 4 hours a week, when you could tap into the number one influence in the life of a teen?

2. Start Student Follow-up.

I know this seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve been shocked how poorly follow-up happens in youth ministry (I’m guilty)! And when I say “follow-up,” I’m not just talking about first-time visitors. Follow-up needs to happen with first-timers, students who make decisions concerning salvation or baptism, and students with serious prayer requests.

3. Start Planning Ahead.

Student Ministry has a bad reputation when it comes to both planning ahead and communicating to students and parents what’s happening in the near future. If you want the ministry you lead to be taken seriously, you need to show that you are not flying by the seat of your pants. Communicating regularly with parents about upcoming events, as well as the purpose behind these events, help build trust and rapport with parents. I plan out my teaching series for an entire year, and communicate major events quarterly. Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it!

4. Start Handing Over Ministry to Students

A temptation for Youth Pastors is to do everything themselves. You have probably experienced this! Do I let a student do the announcements or do I do them and make sure they get communicated clearly? Do I teach the lesson or do I let a student fumble though one? Do I tell students to invite friends to church so I can share the gospel or do I equip my students to go out and share the gospel?

I doubt any of you would admit to having these doubts, but don’t lie to yourself! We have ALL felt this way. But we must continually find ways to transfer ownership of the student ministry to students!

5. Start Reading.

We should all desire to be lifelong learners. The minute you think you have it all “figured out” will be the minute God throws a curveball your way. Any veteran pastor will attest that every year in ministry presents an new opportunity for growth and development. How are you actively studying and growing in your craft?

Need a place to start? Here are a few books I’ve read recently that got me thinking:

1. Middle School Ministry by Mark Oestreicher
2. Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler
3. Center Church by Timothy Keller 

Thanks for reading! What else do Youth Pastors need to Start? Comment below!

David Headshot

David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.