Notes And Quotes From The DYM Student Ministry Volunteer National Training Day

Had a great morning at the National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry Training in Edwardsville, IL! I heard there were something like 20,000 youth workers gathered at 300 different sites around North America. Thankful for the people who participated, for the leaders and presenters, and for Erin and her church who hosted! Here are some of the notes I took:

If you’re going to be a leader, you have to be a learner.

Doug Fields

It’s more about who you are than what you do. 

Doug Fields

Good youth ministry begins with Jesus.

Doug Fields

All the tricks and tips are just going to mask immature spiritual life. Your heart must be right with the Lord to serve in life-changing student ministry. Want to show fruit? Stay close to Jesus. (John 15) 

Doug Fields

Your spiritual development isn’t just about you, but about your life in Christ. Your inner world, your faith, your spiritual life matters in youth ministry. 

Doug Fields

As you commit to being a youth leader, will you also be committed to staying close to Jesus? 

Doug Fields

I have to look back if I want to minister effectively today. 

Heather Flies

As we age, we have the tendency to forget the all-consuming nature and intensity of living the teen years. When we force ourselves to look back we can get a glimpse of it. And we can become an interrupter for parents.

Heather Flies

Instead of seeing teens as a problem to be solved, try viewing them as a wonder to behold.

Mark Oestreicher

Youth workers are among the list of people who help hardwire the brains of teens to live a life of vibrant faith. 

Mark Oestreicher

How we help students learn to serve, learn to ask questions, and learn to engage with the gospel becomes an issue of stewardship.

Mark Oestreicher

A teenager’s brain can be developed through prayer, meditation and spiritual singing… and helps them understand God, as personal compassionate and other than themselves. 

Mark Oestreicher

“Did you follow Jesus into this?  Can you follow Jesus out of this?”  I thought this was an awesome grace filled response o give kids a chance to reboot. 

Mark Oestreicher

The anterior cingulate study was fascinating! I think I missed a bunch in my note-taking, but in general, it’s common knowledge that a teenager’s brain is still developing. The typical response may be to assume adults and teens are on uncurably different planes. In reality, we should have a posture of “curiosity” when working with this age group. We also need to create a safe place for our older teens to test.  And we need to be filled with grace and mercy and love for your teen as you watch them go through this phase. 


Look kids in the eye and say something kind about them. Do this with every student who shows up.

Chap Clark

Kids need to believe they matter. Figure out a way for each student to contribute something. Teenagers need to belong!

Chap Clark

One big, ultimate goal: get students plugged into the larger church.

Chap Clark

Be a student of students! Learning who they are, what they like to do and how they think is of huge benefit for youth workers and parents.

Chap Clark

Be present and available when students arrive your ministry. Your logistics should be taken care of in advance so that you’re not messing with a computer or paperwork as students show up.

Chap Clark

Ulimately, the idea of “pouring into kids” is mutual. As you are serving in ministry, engage with students, don’t just talk at them.

Chap Clark

One big rule for dealing with hurt in student’s lives: Freak out on the inside, but be cool on the outside.

Katie Edwards

God loves these kids more than you do. And he loves us.

Katie Edwards

Students will more likely remember how you made them feel than what you said.

Katie Edwards

One job of the youth worker is to rally support around a hurting student and their parents.

Katie Edwards

Make disciples that make disciples… Jesus was laser-focused on multiplication. 

Karl Romeus

If Jesus needed to get into the word and pray, so do you. 

Karl Romeus

Disciple-making for Jesus was meeting people where they were then challenging them. 

Karl Romeus

When it comes to discipling students, are we OPEN?

  • OFFER: Allow students to investigate faith and wrestle with doubts. 
  • PERSONAL INVITATION: Invite students to follow you as “I follow Jesus.” 
  • EMPOWER THEM AS MINISTRY TEAMMATES: Students aren’t just learning, they are becoming partners in your ministry.
  • NEXT PERSON: think of who is whose next! 

Repeat the process over and over, trusting Jesus as you do. Be in him and he will bear the fruit.


Why do parents need to win? Because the kids’ faith wins when parents win.

Kara Powell

There is no variable more important to the faith formation of teens than the faith of parents. 

Kara Powell

“The church can’t out-teach what parents teach at home. We are partners with parents, rooting for a teen to have a faith that lasts.” 

Kara Powell

Parents need to be more connected to the faith community so their kids can grow in faith and stick with it. 

Kara Powell

One of the best ways to help parents and students engage is through serving.

Kara Powell

 I write with church leaders in mind and I would be honored to have you join me by subscribing to the blog. You can take a look at the top posts here. The posts are categorized: pastors, worship leadersstudent ministry and kids ministry. In case we’re just meeting, here’s little about my life.


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