Who Are the Leading Youth Ministry Voices Today?

Someone asked me just last week "Who are the leading (younger) voices in Youth Ministry today?"
I asked them to ellaborate.
"Well, you know, the next Doug Fields... Bo Boshers... Mark Oestreicher... Duffy Robbins?"
Problem is, I couldn't think of any. Don't get me wrong... had the question been rephrased, "Terrace, who are the leading Youth Ministry Bloggers today?" I could have very easily rattled off a few names - especially those I read regularly. But WHO are the leading youth ministry voices?
It made me think long and hard about who is investing in youth workers (and young, church leaders in general) today. I mean, you might argue that you take youth workers within your church under your wing... but what about the youth pastor down the street who is still in his first year? This is what I think of when I hear guys like Doug, Marko, Duffy and Bo named. These are veteran youth workers who are not just investing in leaders within their ministry context but they have gone above and beyond to mentor and equip the leaders down the street and across state lines.
You might say, "Well, I help others through my blog." Oh, please. Yea, that's great... but you need to be rubbing shoulders with workers in your field. Listen to them. Encourage them. Pray with them. See how you might even invest in their ministries. Remember, we're on the same team here.
Perhaps I should ask the rookies the question... WHO are you looking to in youth ministry for training, equipping, and encouragement? I might find a better answer there.

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24 Responses to “Who Are the Leading Youth Ministry Voices Today?”

  1. # Blogger Mario Hood

    I look to Judah Smith, Chris Durso and Rich Wilkerson Jr.  

  2. # Anonymous boyd bettis

    A friend of mine named Josh Turner is doing a great job leading a student ministry here in town at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, FL.

    check him out: @joshuaturner  

  3. # Blogger Kara Szyarto

    DC Curry, Josh Turner, Adam McLane  

  4. # Anonymous jeremy

    Clay Scroggins (North Point)
    Jacob Oullette (Cornerstone Church)
    Tony Cobb (Lifechurch.tv)
    Kevin Moore (180 - Church on the Move)
    Joel Stockstill (Bethany Prayer Center)
    Zac Gandara (Christian Faith Center)

    These would be my top 6.  

  5. # Blogger Terrace Crawford

    @ALL - thanks for these mentions. I'm not familiar with a number of these. Feel free to drop links to their twitter or blogs.


  6. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Youth Ministry is of secondary importance to those who keep the Gospel paramount in their ministries.

    Mark Dever (Capital Hill Baptist)
    Matt Chandler (The Village)
    David Platt (Church at Brook Hills)

    Chet Andrews
    Greer, SC  

  7. # Anonymous Anonymous

    My friend, Clayton King, is doing a great job evangelizing young people and partnering with youth pastors and churches to build the kingdom. His ministry at Crossroads is focused on discipleship.  

  8. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Some sharp guys on these lists...

    Also influenced by:

    Josh Griffin – Saddleback Church

    Chris King – Fellowship Church

    Jeff Borton - Christ Fellowship  

  9. # Blogger Dan Colwin

    Doug Franklin (President of LeaderTreks) http://www.dougfranklinonline.com/  

  10. # Anonymous jeff texas

    I would say Voices(speakers) for teens

    Tony Nolan WINTERJAM






    Josh Griffin – Saddleback Church @joshuagriffin  

  11. # Blogger paulTILLEY.net

    IN the UK I look to Richard Passmore (http://www.sundaypapers.org.uk/), Jonny Baker (http://jonnybaker.blogs.com/)
    Nigel Pimlott (Youth Work After Christendom) & Dave Wiles (http://www.emergingchurch.info/reflection/davewiles/index.htm)  

  12. # Blogger David

    Not sure of the top voices... have been to the last 7 YS conferences, and there seem to always be new speakers and new ideas. However, the best speakers I have heard not from YS over the last few years...

    DC Curry from Indiana
    Jack Janigian from Detroit
    Andy Tilly from Dallas
    Jonathan McKee from L.A.
    EJ Swanson from Lake Anne Camps

    All guys committed to youth ministry and who have done a great job at communicating to student groups I have been a part of or near.  

  13. # Blogger Danny Ferguson

    I'm trying to be a voice that can help youth workers get the mindset they need to continue long term. I'd love your input on how I can do it better.

    Danny Ferguson

  14. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Funny that not a single person mentioned a female voice. So i would add Kara Powell at Fuller Youth institute. Interesting work there with intergenerational ministry.

    Also, Chris Folmsbee and the crew at Bwrefoot ministries in Kansas City.

    Ben Zabel
    Grand Rapids, MI  

  15. # Anonymous Terry Philmore Denver CO

    I think there are some great leaders on here!I'm not super fimilar with them but know all there names! Wondering if we can hear more from guys like

    Clay scroggins
    Chuck Bomar (college min)
    Josh Griffin
    Tim Schmoyer
    Clayton King

    Terrace are you able to get interviews with these guys? Then blog Them?  

  16. # Blogger brent

    I try and do everything I can out here in West Central IN and Southern IL to help the newer youth workers. Several here are at their first Church, I've been at it for 10 years. However, Shan Smith at Agape in Terre Haute Challenges and Encourages me like crazy!  

  17. # Blogger Terrace Crawford

    These are all great mentions. Thank you!
    Terry, that's a great idea. I'll see what I can do.

    @ALL - Go here: http://bit.ly/dtSnHI
    ... and read a follow-up blog post that Josh Griffin wrote on the subject. Great read.


  18. # Anonymous Mark Matlock

    Terrace, this is a great question I am asking all the time as I help program NYWC each year with seminar speakers etc.

    I was at a table with Duffy, Walt Mueller, Marv Penner, Chap Clark, Rich VanPelt, and Jim Burns last year in Atlanta's NYWC and asked them why they thought larger voices weren't emerging.

    Jim (Doug Field's mentor) was the first to speak, he said that part of the problem was they (the voices at the table and I assumed the others in his generation) held onto all the open spots for too long and didn't give space for voices to emerge.

    Most of the people you mention have one common connection, they were a part of the National Resource Seminar (ater called "The Core") and travelled the country intensely doing youth worker training. So they had time "together" as they wrote the material and then had time to refine and present as they travelled to speak across the nation.

    Another contributing factor... the church planting movement. While some of this was a good thing, many who would have been shining stars in the youth ministry world, went straight to the pastorate in the early nineties in the hopes of becoming the next Hybels and Warren. Ultimately many became mediocre church plants.

    One of the reason I am doing these youth ministry unconfrences, is to give space for new voices to emerge without a "top down" kind of approach. You can learn more about them at http://www.youthministryunconference.com  

  19. # Blogger jwright

    Brett Levy - @BrettLevy

    Tim Schmoyer - http://www.studentministry.org/ or @timschmoyer

    Adam McLane - (he's easy enough to find)  

  20. # Anonymous jeremy zach

    I love this question....
    If you notice almost every commentor thinks that someone else is a leading voice. I love it. There is so much beauty in diversity and valuing/listening/reading other youth workers that are in the trenches.

    I find it so fascinating reading about the other "normal" youth workers who are slaving away making things happen at some small church in Oregon.

    Over the last year, these are the voices that have shaped my view and thoughts about youth ministry:
    - Fuller Youth Institute (brad, kara, chap)
    - Dan Haugh
    - Tim Schmoyer
    - Adam Mclane
    - Greg Stier and Jason Lamb
    - Mike King
    - Rethinking youth ministry
    - Lars Rood
    - Kenda Dean
    - Josh Griffin
    - Paul Tilly  

  21. # Blogger Joel Mayward

    The writer/theologian that has shaped me the most in the past year has got to be Andy Root.  

  22. # Anonymous Anonymous

    "Duffy, Walt Mueller, Marv Penner, Chap Clark, Rich VanPelt, and Jim Burns"

    Are any of these guys in a church as the youth pastor? One problem I have is that being in youth ministry for 20+ years I have heard all of these guys several times. They are not saying anything really new and they have been out of the loop for so long (as far as being on staff and under the leadership of a lead pastor) that they can't relate to the average youth pastor anymore.

    That was one thing I appreciated about Doug Fields before he quit Saddleback. I knew he could relate well because we were in the same boat.  

  23. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Great question!

    Mark Hall
    Roger Glidewell
    Bobby McGraw
    Tony Nolan
    Dave Edwards  

  24. # Anonymous Anonymous

    This post, among others lead me to write my perspective. Yes, a bit late compared to the original conversation...

    Thanks Terrace!  

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