It was the hardest time in my life.
I’d been a youth pastor in my home country of The Netherlands and I loved it. Sure, it was tough at times, especially with a young child and all, but I was passionate about Jesus and about my students. Then my husband got a job in the south of Germany and we moved hundreds of miles away. There I was, home alone in a strange country, with my husband at work and my son in pre-K, far away from friends and family…and far away from youth ministry.
I cried buckets.
For practical reasons I couldn’t work and because of the language I was still learning, volunteering would be a challenge as well. I had all this knowledge and experience in youth ministry, I missed my students like crazy, and I felt utterly useless. Rock bottom, that’s what it was. I doubted God, myself, and everything else.
But God gave me a new dream, planted seed by seed. The dream to support and equip others to serve better in youth ministry. That’s how Youth Leaders Academy was born.
Over the years, it has grown from a few blog posts to a well-known blog in youth ministry circles and I am intensely grateful for that. I’ve published several books on youth ministry, written articles in youth ministry magazines, spoken at conferences, etc. And more importantly, I’ve made friends all over the world and we have each other’s back as we serve Jesus in ministry.
All this because God brought me to a desert in the south of Germany.In hindsight, it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
I’m so grateful to be serving youth leaders worldwide and help them grow in their role in youth ministry, whether on staff or a volunteer. On Youth Leaders Academy, you’ll find a ton of resources on practical topics like small groups, leadership, pastoral care, and personal growth. The monthly Top Posts give you a good indication of what’s popular, aside from our two acclaimed series on Preaching for Youth and Youth Sermon Topics. Use the search function in the right side bar to find specific topics.
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Even more about me (for the really curious readers)
My name is Rachel Blom (the name Rachel means ‘female lamb’ or ‘ewe’ by the way and ever since I found out, I’ve had a thing for sheep; hence the design of my site!) and I am many things:
- a child of God on a lifelong journey to follow Jesus
- the proud mom of a kind, curious, happy, and supersmart 8 year old son
- a volunteer with Youth for Christ in a Campus for Life program near where I live (both middle school and high school groups)
- Dutch. I was born and raised in The Netherlands. From 2010 till 2013 we lived in the south of Germany and ever since, the Albany area of New York is our home
- a youth ministry veteran. I’ve been involved in youth ministry in one way or another since 1999 and I still love it.
- an author with several published (non-fiction) books, both traditionally published and through various ebook publishers. I’ve also magazine articles, youth ministry resources, and more. Check out my portfolio here.
- a gifted speaker. Being Dutch, I’m always reluctant to list my accomplishments, talents, or gifts. It’s not something that sits well in our culture. But from all the feedback I’ve received over the years, it’s clear that God has blessed me with a gift for speaking/preaching and I’m passionate about this. I love communicating God’s Word to all audiences, but especially to students. And I love doing keynotes or talks at conferences, or teaching seminars and workshops. Topics include speaking/teaching, social media, communication in general and youth ministry management.
- a blogger. I blog for various blogs, including of course this one, but also for ChurchMag, Download Youth Ministry, YouthWork Journal and others.
- an aspiring fiction writer. I started writing stories and books when I was not even a teen and I haven’t stopped since. My dream is to get published in young adult fiction.
- a reader. I don’t merely love books, I devour them. Stories captivate me and if a book has a great story, I cannot put it down. Follow me on Goodreads to find out how much and what I read (hint: it might shock you!)
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.
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. 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!
I’d love to connect with you on social media (see social media icons on the top of the page).