The 10 TED Talks every youth leader should watch (1)

ted talk

I love TED talks. They’re often inspiring, challenging and it’s a quick and easy way to get fresh perspectives and new ideas.

For youth leaders, TED talks are a brilliant resource. I’ve truly learned a lot by watching a few talks each month and in this post, I want to share my favorites with you. Here are the 10 TED talks that every youth leader should watch:

1. Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

This is the ultimate TED talk in my opinion. It’s brilliant, it’s funny, it’s personal and it will completely change your perspective and paradigm. Literally life changing.

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Change the world or go home


I came across this ad in a Dutch magazine. It’s for wine apparently, though I’ve never heard of this particular brand. What struck me was the slogan they were using:

“Be moved. Love. Encourage and excite. Be enthusiastic. Motivate. Change the world or go home.”

Not sure what this has to do with wine, but this would make a pretty awesome personal mission statement. Change the world or go home… [Read more…]

There is no formula. There is God.

math formula

“I’ve seen so many brothers and sisters whom I love who follow one paradigm after another. They’re going to Willow Creek. They’ll do 40 Days of Purpose, this model and that model; en they end up discouraged. They find out after 18 months that no system works. There is no formula. There’s God.

This is Christianity. This isn’t copying IBM or Apple. We’re supposed to get before the Lord and find out what God wants us to do. Every church is unique. Every pastor is unique, so we can’t make shortcuts and get some model that we copy in some mechanical way to get the same results so we can be more influential or have a church that’s large and all of that.

When I see that 1,500 ministers are leaving the church every month, I think much of that is discouragement that comes from ‘Oh, that’s the answer. No wait, this is the answer’. ”

Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City, in an interview with Preaching May/June 2012

It was never supposed to be easy


If I reminded of one thing in this week before Easter, this Holy Week, it’s this: it was never supposed to be easy. Life isn’t easy and being a youth leader isn’t easy and that’s how it is supposed to be.

Too often we hear that if you just give your heart to Jesus, everything will be just fine. Or that if you just pray hard enough or believe good enough, everything good will come your way. It’s a lie.

Jesus told His disciples that whoever wanted to follow Him, had to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him (Mark 8:34). He never promised us a rose garden, as a matter of fact He promised us tribulations, hate, betrayal, and even death (Matthew 24:9,10).

It was never supposed to be easy.

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The seasons of the soul and your role as youth leader


There’s an old Christian song that tells us about the seasons of the soul:

The season in the rain will end at least

A season full of pain will surely pass

The reason will be plain someday when love reveals its core

Such are the seasons of the soul

(Jamie Owens Collins – Seasons of the soul)

In our spiritual journey with God, there are always ups and downs. There are beautiful mountain tops that we never want to leave, but there are also valleys of the shadow of death that make us struggle and stumble. Our walk with God has its good and its bad seasons. It’s a comfort to know that these bad seasons are just that: seasons that will pass.

But what if we are in that rain, in those storms or in a season full of pain? Does that disqualify us as a youth leader? Should we quit temporarily, or even permanently? Can we minister to students when our own soul is crying out for God?

Yes, we can. And we should.

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5 messages teens need to hear

Words are of more importance than we often realize. Words can wound, maybe even kill, but they can also affirm and build up. What we as youth leaders tell our teens matters. The words we use can make a difference. Here are 5 messages teens need to hear from us as youth leaders:

1. God loves you, no matter what

This is the most important truth of them all and one that we should keep repeating every single time we talk to teens. No matter what you have done, no matter what you will do, God will always love you. He loves you even if you’re the biggest sinner that ever walked the face of the earth. He loves you when your depressed and cutting yourself, he loves you when you’re having sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend, he loves you when you’re angry all the time, he loves you whether you’re gay or straight or confused…There is absolutely nothing you could ever do that would make God stop loving you. Let’s tell teens that and affirm them in God’s love for them again and again.


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The loneliness of leadership: 9 healthy ways to deal with it


Leadership means loneliness in some ways. With every step in leadership we make, comes the inevitable increase in loneliness. The higher we climb in leadership, the more responsibilities we get, the lonelier we become.

We can’t share everything we experience in our youth ministry with our team because some of it isn’t beneficial to them. We can’t be completely open about what we encounter or wrestle with towards parents or church member because there’s a confidentiality issue. We can’t ask just anyone for advice about our struggle with the senior pastor, because we don’t want to talk behind his back.

And yet at the end of the day, we’re the ones who have to make the decisions. The buck stops with us.

No one said it better than William Shakespeare in ‘King Henry IV, Part II’:

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”

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