My name is Rachel Blom, I am Dutch of origin, American at heart and ultimately Heaven-bound, but at the present I live in the south of Germany near Munich with my husband and our wonderful four year old son. I grew up in a Baptist church so to speak, and ‘came to Christ’ at a very early age. I feel blessed that I have always known Jesus as my Friend and Savior, even as a child.
Youth Leaders Academy was born in a season of frustration and confusion. I could not understand why God would bring us to the south of Germany, 850 kilometers away from the church in The Netherlands where I’d been a youth pastor. I loved the youth ministry, I loved my students and I missed it all like crazy. I didn’t understand what God was doing and quite frankly, I was pretty angry with Him.
At first, the time of rest was great, for I had worked way too hard in the years before our move and I needed a prolonged Sabbath. But then it started to itch. My husband had a wonderful job, but it turned out to be too complicated for me to work here and so I was stuck at home. I went from being a fulltime youth pastor, mom and wife to being ‘just’ a mom and wife, a homemaker. I didn’t care for it one bit.
That’s when the idea of blogging was born, to share my experience in youth ministry with others. And to at least do something that made me feel useful to be honest. So Youth Leaders Academy was started in March 2011.
It’s been an awesome ride so far. God has shown me that it was time for a new season. A new season in being a mom, as my son needs me now more than others need me. A new season in being a wife, because my husband has a demanding job and I want to support him in that. But also a new season in youth ministry, a season of equipping others instead of doing the job myself. I’m still a volunteer in youth ministry in our church here, but my main focus is on helping and training others to grow in their roles in youth ministry.
In this journey, I’ve rediscovered an old passion: writing. I love writing blog post for Youth Leaders Academy and for other websites and magazines and I’ve also written a few books on youth ministry and speaking/preaching. I’m also writing fiction, but that’s not published (yet).
I’ve also built upon another passion of mine: speaking and preaching. God has blessed me in this area and I’ve even been able to speak in German in my church here.
So here I am: wife, mom, blogger and author. But above all, I am a child of God, trying to trust her Father that He knows best. And I can honestly say I am happy and content. Not that I understand all of His plans, but then again I don’t think I ever will, or that anyone will ever will.
I love reading (inspirational) romances, YA novels, youth ministry, leadership and historical non-fiction, especially American history and WW II stuff. But anything else that grabs me is fine as well. I’m addicted to high school tv series and quality tv series like The West Wing, I love movies and I eat way too much chocolate. The name Rachel means ‘female lamb’ and I’ve always had a thing for sheep ever since I found out, hence the design of this site Other than that, I’m quite normal. I think.
About this blog
Anyway, that’s enough about me. Let me tell something about Youth Leaders Academy. Youth Leaders Academy is a blog aimed at training youth leaders worldwide to serve better in youth ministry, whether as volunteer or on staff. I post a few times a week on practical topics relevant to youth leaders, ranging from leadership, to small groups and practical aspects like organizing a service of retreat (with the occasional book or resources review thrown in).
Youth Leaders Academy is aimed at youth leaders from all churches and denominations. For the record: I have a Baptist and evangelical background and am currently involved in an evangelical church. That may shine through in my posts and examples, but it doesn’t mean I value other denominations as somehow less.
Where to start
If you’re new to Youth Leaders Academy, I’m so happy you found it! Can I give you a tip? Start with subscribing to all our posts by email.
And while you’re at it, did you know we have a biweekly free newsletter filled with great youth ministry stuff? Sign up today!
There’s tons of information here for you. You can search using key words in the search form (right sidebar), browse through the different categories (see right sidebar), start with the Blog series or go to the Top posts. A series dear to my heart is the series on Preaching for Youth and if you’re looking for practical ideas for sermon topics, you’ll like our Youth Sermon Topics page. Go check these out!
The photo of the sheep in my header was taken in my home country Holland on one of our famous ‘dykes’ by Dutch photographer Miro Schaap and he holds all copyrights.
My blog is hosted by DreamHost and they’re doing an awesome job. I can recommend them wholeheartedly!
I accept guest posts for Youth Leaders Academy. Be sure to have a look around the site to see what kind of posts I usually post. Here’s some general guidelines: 500-1000 words, ‘how-to’ type of posts preferred, topic has to be related to youth ministry, no games/ideas types of posts. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested!
You can subscribe to this blog via email (which is the best way to make sure you don’t miss any posts) or RSS. I’d love to connect with you on Twitter, LinkedIn or via email. You can email me at rachel (at) youthleadersacademy.com