A Youth Pastor’s Must Read: Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World



I have been a youth pastor for six years now. One thing that I have learned from these years of ministry is that part of being a good youth pastor, or a good pastor in general, is the ability to be a continuous learner. I never assume what I know and understand about youth ministry is the best or even most satisfactory way to minster. Youth ministry is a constant race to keep up with your students.

A few years ago, I sent a message out to some of my fellow youth pastor friends asking for book recommendations. A friend recommended a book, by Brock Morgan, titled “Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World: A Hopeful Wake-Up Call.” I proceeded to purchase it, but it sat on my kindle for a year and a half before I finally sat down to read Morgan’s book.

In case you are someone who doesn’t like reading a lot of writing or you are skimming this post, I want to make this clear from the beginning. If you are youth pastor in the United States and have not read “Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World: A Hopeful Wake-Up Call,” GO AND PURCHASE IT AMAZON NOW and read it.

I genuinely believe it is a must read for any youth pastor and even some lead pastors. Morgan does an amazing job of painting a picture of the world and mindset of the students in our youth ministries. Further, he explains why the methods of our youth ministry past might not be working any more.

He touches on subject like:

  • What defines the post-Christian world (as I am sure some of you are already asking, but I don’t want to take away from his book).
  • What are post-Christian world students looking for in faith?
  • How to properly define success in youth ministry
  • How to keep your focus and keep going

Ministry is a constantly changing field. Even more so when it comes to the youth of our churches. As youth ministers, we sometimes bear the heavy burden and expectations of keeping students in our churches. If we hope to even succeed, we best understand our ministry purpose and the students we are ministering too.

This post is not really a book review. This post is a book recommendation. If you are interested in reading Morgan’s book, you can click here to head over to amazon and purchase a physical copy of kindle version.

I want to close this recommendation with a quote from “Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World: A Hopeful Wake-Up Call.”

“The essence of youth ministry is to create environments where students can experience the warmth of God. With every talk we give, every game or activity we lead, and every time we run into students at the mall, they experience God’s warmth. And that’s because our relationship with Jesus is our ministry.”

Morgan, Brock (2013-09-24). Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World: A Hopeful Wake-Up Call (Kindle Locations 159-161). The Youth Cartel. Kindle Edition.



Dance Party For The Win! – Walk To Mt Doom Day 1 Reflection

Five miles a day is a lot!

I am now one day into my journey to Mt. Doom, with my friend Levi. Yesterday I successfully walked 5.34 miles. According to my Vivofit 2 that is a total of 11,796 steps. At the end of the day my thought was… that’s a lot of steps!

As I was racking up the steps today, I discovered a few things.

First, I realized that Sam never left Frodo’s side. If I am to journey with Levi as my Sam, we need to always be together. Now.. I don’t be literally. What I realized is that my milage tracker did not have us journeying together, but taking two different journeys. Depending on how many miles we each walked, one of us could be ahead of their other and not be together on the journey.

I figured out a fix. The journey to Mt Doom is 1779 miles. In order that we are journeying together, I double the total miles and subtract our combined miles to determine our location on the journey.

This does two things. 1. We will always be together on a journey and 2. We are now actually working together to get to Mt. Doom.

The second thing I discovered today is how much work it takes to get to five miles of walking. This is what has lead my to my post title. After dinner, I realize I had a little over 2,000 steps to reach my 5 mile/11,000 steps goal for the day. I did not see how I could possibly get these steps in. I had already took my walk for the day.


The beauty of my two young sons is how they love to have dance parties. I turned on some epic music (the Ultimate Toddler Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/1255864681/playlist/6wYvSZWkm2GtuRK5coPIgW) and we danced out hearts out!

I danced the rest of my steps with them and reached my goal of 5 miles. Thanks boys! You got me there!

It was a great first day! I reached my goal of over 11,000 steps and had a great walk with my boys for a couple miles! Now on to day two. It will be a work day. I’m interested to see how my work schedule impacts my walking distance. Only time will tell.


My Walk To Mt Doom

I should make something clear from the beginning of this. I love the Lord of the Rings movies! I like them so much, when someone asks what my favorite movie or movie series is, I usually don’t say Lord of the Rings, because in my mind they are in a league of its own. It was the winter of my sophomore year of high school when the first movie was released. I had never heard of the books or the great adventures of Frodo and the fellowship of the ring. The other day I took my son, Wesley, to the dentist. The dental assistant was wanting to know how much Wesley weighed, but Wesley did not want to stand on the scale by himself. I quickly came up with a solution to this problem. I picked Wesley up and stood on the scale and looked at the number. Then I placed Wesley on the floor and look again at the number. We figured out Wesley’s weight, but more I was surprised by the number for my weight, 180lbs.

A lot has changed since the first time I watch the Lord of the Rings film, I am now a thirty year old man and probably 50 lbs heavier than I was then (I am purely guesstimating the weight of my gangly high school self). It might seem like I am making a big fuss over a small amount of weight, but it is a big amount to me. It was at that point I decided, something had to change.

It has been said, “One does not simply walk into Mordor,” but if you have seen the Lord of the Rings movies or read the books, you will know that walking into Mordor is exactly what Frodo and Sam did. I think that if they can do it, I can do it! I am setting out on an adventure to walk to Mt Doom as Frodo and Sam did.

I am doing this for a couple reasons. First, I want to try and be healthier and exercise more. Second, I like having goals in front of me to achieve. Lastly, I love Lord of the Rings and think it will be a cool challenge to take on.

Thanks to EowynChallenge.net, I am able to know the number of miles walked by our adventures:

458 miles: Go from Hobbiton to Rivendell.

462 miles: Set out with the Fellowship from Rivendell to Lothlorien.

389 miles: Travel through Moria and down the Anduin from Lothlorien to Rauros Falls.

470 miles: Follow Frodo and Sam on the quest from Rauros to Mt. Doom.

This makes for a total trip of 1,779 miles.


Here is the plan!

1. Everything counts! 

I purchased a Garmin Vivofit 2 on Amazon. This will track each step I take and how many miles I have walked in the day. I am counting every step I take towards this journey and the Vivofit will track it while I work. The average person walks 2 to 3 miles a day. My goal is to reach 5 miles a day. I will be making up the difference with walks around my neighborhood.

2. There and back again! 

As Bilbo recorded his adventure, I will be blogging about my adventure as I go. I will write about my possible thoughts, struggles and maybe even things I learn about walking.

3. I need a Sam! 

If I am going to go on this grand adventure, I need a Sam. My friend Levi is going to be taking this walking challenge on as well. Together we will walk to the core of Mt Doom and depending on how this goes… Maybe we’ll even walk back.

(Can you see how we are sad from the weight of the one ring?)

4. Know the full story.


Click to view in Amazon


Click to view in Amazon


Click to view in Amazon

I have never read through the books of Lord of the Rings. So, I will be listening to them on audio book as I go.

5. Know where I am.

I will be tracking my progress along Frodo and Sam’s journey on a map of middle earth. You can see the picture below to see the path and key locations.

(each nick is a distance of 50 miles or so)


This is the adventure that is before me and I am excited to take it on. Perhaps you are like me and are wanting to find a way to maybe exercise a little bit and get a healthier, than I would invited you to consider starting your own adventure and join me in my walk to Mt Doom.


5 Ways To Be Thankful

I don’t know if your year has been anything like mine, but this year has gone by incredibly fast. Whether you year has gone by quickly or slowly, the month of November is upon us. This means two different things.

First, it means you better begin planning for what you are going to be buying your family for Christmas. Second, it means it is the season of being thankful.

Each year, my wife and I sit down with our extended family to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. During this meal, we always take time to go around and have everyone share something that they are thankful for from the previous year. That time is honestly one of my favorite times year. 

It is so important to be a thankful person. So, I thought I would write this post to help us discover some ways they can be thankful during this season.

1. Realize you are called to be thankful

Before we can even think about what we should be thankful for, we have to realize that God calls us to be thankful people. Paul writes in Colossians 3:15, “The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people.” Further Paul writes in Ephesians 5:20, “always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” As Christians, we are called to give thanks for everything.

2. Look at everything in your life and think of why you are thankful for it

I’ll be honest, this one seems like an obvious one. The sad thing is that we sometimes overlook the obvious things in our lives that we can be thankful for. This point is to help us evaluate everything and give thanks for it. It can be as big as the fact thank you keep breathing and as simple as having a bar of soap for when you shower. 

3. Look to the past

Sometimes in life, you can’t totally understand where you are and who you are until you look at where you came from. Think through the last five to ten years and think about the kind of person you were back then and who you are now. How have you grown and what have you learned? Who are people who have had a major influence in your life in these past years? This simple process of looking to the past can help you realize different things that you might be thankful for.

4. Tell someone that you are thankful for them

As a natural reaction to number three, there are many people that have had an influence on you in your life. Being thankful for them is great, but it is even better if you actually tell them how thankful you are for what they have done in your life. Perhaps you are shy and don’t want to talk to someone face to face, write a card or send an email.

(Hand written thank you cards are great! They tell the person you are willing to take the time to write a note of thanks. It can mean a lot.)

5. Give back and be generous

Giving back is the natural response to living a thankful life. Once we begin to discover how much we have and have been blessed with, we might discover that we have much that we can bless others with. Generosity is so powerful. 

Proverbs 11:25 states, “Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Further Proverbs 22:9 says, “Happy are generous people, because they give some of their food to the poor.”

During this thanksgiving month, there are so many ways to be generous and give back. Start a donation box and slowly fill it with items that you no longer need and can donate to a local shelter or a family in need. Another thing you could do it volunteer at a local food bank or shelter with your family and give back out of your time. Finally, you could consider sponsoring a child from around the world that is in needs (World Vision and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries).

November is the month of thanksgiving. So, go out there and be thankful!