Youth Ministry Sherpas

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Sherpa Legends — Duffy and Maggie Robbins

December 19th, 2019

When we think about legendary youth speakers, Duffy Robbins is one of the first people to come to mind. He has been challenging, inspiring, and entertaining students for over 40 years. His warm style and quick wit has influenced many generations of students and youth workers.

In addition to being a sought-after conference speaker, Duffy served for many years as Professor of Youth Ministries at Eastern University near Philadelphia, as well as a key member of the Youth Specialties speaking team. Recently, he and Maggie moved to the western part of Pennsylvania to take a similar position at Grove City College (Steve's Alma Mater). Following the raising of their two daughters, Maggie pursued her passion by becoming a Spiritual Director, and each year brings her special gift to the Youth Specialties Conference.

Despite some confusion during the interview, we were able to determine they've been married for 46 years!

For the official resume, Duffy has his D.Min. in Youth and Family Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, and is the author of numerous books including Ministry of Nurture, This Way to Youth Ministry: An Introduction to the AdventureSpeaking to Teenagers (which he co-wrote with Doug Fields), Youth Ministry Nuts and Bolts and Enjoy the Silence (which he co-wrote with Maggie). Duffy also teaches in the D-Min program at Gordon-Conwell Seminary and serves as associate staff member with the Center for Parent-Youth Understanding (CPYU).

We were blessed to spend time with Duffy and Maggie for a live session at the National Youth Workers Convention in Tampa. Our time was short, but rich. We can't wait to talk to them again.

New Legend this Thursday

December 17th, 2019

Recorded live from the National Youth Workers Convention in Tampa, FL!

If you grew up in a youth group sometime in the past 30 years, chances are you've heard Duffy Robins speak. Who knows how many students he has spoken to over his many years as a conference speaker. After a distinguished career as Professor of Youth Ministries at Eastern University near Philadelphia, Duffy has taken his talents to other side of the state, to Grove City College (Steve's Alma Mater!). We were blessed to be joined by Duffy's wife, Maggie, for our first-ever "live" show. We can't wait for you to hear our "legendary" conversation with Duffy and Maggie Robbins.

YMS Episode 66 — Back to Our Calling

December 10th, 2019

Do you know who Kami Rita is? You should. He's a man who knows his calling.

Do you ever wonder if you should still be in youth ministry, or question whether you were ever called in the first place?

We have. And still do. But deep down, we also know we were called to this. And what helps us persevere is coming back to the story of how God called us into this in the first place. We realize that we've been imprinted with a supernatural design to do what we do. It's something we will always have, and it's what keeps us coming back year after year, even when we grow tired, discouraged, or wonder if we still have it.

Remembering our calling affirms our calling.

Kami Rita is the greatest Sherpa in history. Earlier this year, he summited Everest for the 24th time at the age of 49. He is definitely called to climb the mountain. We think you are too. We hope we've helped you get this far.

As 2019 draws to a close, may this episode encourage you to continue in this amazing calling until the 24th summit, the 49th year, the next retreat, or this year's Christmas party. Whatever you are feeling in terms of your stamina, remember that you were called to this.

Blessings to you as we wrap up our second year of the Youth Ministry Sherpas Podcast. See you in 2020!

Episode 66 -- Back to Our Calling

YMS Episode 65 — Introverts vs. Extroverts

December 3rd, 2019

One of us is the life of the party, sending invites to the whole neighborhood to stop over for a swim. The other is happier sitting alone by the pool sipping coffee, ignoring the doorbell.

Which of us has a better personality for youth ministry?

The truth is -- both of us and neither of us.

In today's episode, Mathew and Steve discuss the questions we've asked ourselves our entire lives in youth ministry. What are the advantages and disadvantages of our personality types? What do we bring to the table that's needed, and what do we need to work harder at? Mathew is the more stereotypical youth pastor -- the life of the party who rarely grows tired of people. Steve, on the other hand, is just as happy spending the day alone with books as with students. What we've both come to realize is that God made us exactly as we are -- with strengths and weaknesses -- and will use us uniquely in the lives of students. We just need to know when to dig deep for the part of us that doesn't come naturally. 

Perhaps you've questioned your calling as an introvert, or perhaps you've questioned your methods as an extrovert. Either way, lean into your strengths as you live out your calling in student ministry.

Episode 65 -- Introverts vs. Extroverts

YMS Episode 64 — Live from NYWC 2019

November 26th, 2019

We were looking forward to this for 365 days!

We were back at the National Youth Workers Convention for the second time as exhibitors. We had a blast meeting people from all over the country who are serving faithfully in youth ministries large and small. We gave away a suitcase full of fuzzy socks and llamacorns, enough stickers to cover the earth, and a few t-shirts and fuzzy llamas too. What a great time!

We also had the privilege of being part of the official program at NYWC, thanks to Josh Griffin and our friends at DYM. We will release our Sherpa Legend Interview with Duffy and Maggie Robbins soon!

But on today's episode, we share the answers we received to our question, "What is the greatest advantage of youth ministry in your 20s/30s/40s/50s?" We were blessed to hear answers from every generation. And we have to say, longevity and wisdom rule!

If you were part of today's show, thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you next year.

Episode 64 -- Live from NYWC

YMS Episode 63 — Making the Most of a Conference

November 19th, 2019

OH MY! We can barely contain our excitement!

This episode releases the day before we fly to Tampa for the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC)! We are pumped to hang out with our tribe, enjoy the Big Room sessions, and meet everybody in the Exhibit Hall! These are our people!

NYWC is always one of the highlights of our year, which is saying something, because we've been to a LOT of youth ministry conferences. Mathew estimates he's been to 25 or more. In fact, we've been to at least 7 together. Conferences are great fun, and definitely have helped us stay in youth ministry for so long!

Whether you are coming with a spouse, your team, or alone, we have learned some helpful tips for making the most of NYWC, or any youth ministry conference for that matter. Here are four things you can do to maximize your experience:

Decompress -- make sure you take time for yourself
Deconstruct -- stretch yourself and learn something new
Debrief -- seek conversations around what you are learning
Declutter -- don't try to bring every idea home with you. Pick one!

We can't wait to meet you! Stop by BOOTH 742 and try to win a llama-corn or a t-shirt. We will also be doing a LIVE SHOW in the DYM Podcast Booth from 2:00 to 3:00 pm Saturday. 

EPISODE 63 -- Making the Most of a Conference


Sherpa Legends — Katie Edwards

November 14th, 2019

Get ready to meet royalty! Katie Edwards is the Junior High pastor at Saddleback Church in Orange County, where she has served for over 20 years. From her first days as an intern in a ministry of less than 10 kids to now serving as "The Queen" of youth ministry at one of the nation's most influential churches, Katie's journey is one of humble faithfulness and the blessing of God. When she began, she had no idea where this would lead or how the church would change. More than 20 years later, she has so much wisdom to share -- about junior high students, about serving from her strengths, about being a lifelong learner, and about creating a culture that is beautiful and sustainable, no matter the size. 

There's a reason she's the Queen, and we were blessed to be in her court for an hour.

We know you will enjoy this episode of Sherpa Legends with Katie Edwards!

New Legend this Thursday

November 12th, 2019

Get ready to meet royalty! Katie Edwards is the Junior High pastor at Saddleback Church in Orange County, where she has served for over 20 years. From her first days as an intern in a ministry of less than 10 kids to now serving as "The Queen" of youth ministry at one of the nation's most influential churches, Katie's journey is one of humble faithfulness and the blessing of God. There's a reason she's the Queen, and we were blessed to be in her court for an hour. Tune in Thursday to hear the full episode.

YMS Episode 62 — Celebrating the Victories of Others

November 5th, 2019

Comparison is the enemy of joy and longevity in youth ministry. Learning to appreciate our situation and what God is doing through us is vitally important to our long-term success and personal well-being as youth workers.

But what if we could go a step further? What if we could actually celebrate the success of others, including the youth pastor next door and the church down the road? What if we made it our mission to be such kingdom-builders that we actually DO something to bless those who, for too long, were our "competition"?

We recorded this episode the day after the Washington Nationals won the World Series. Neither of us are Nationals fans, but we enjoyed seeing our friends celebrate their team's victory. It occurred to us -- what if we were able to spread that goodwill to our friends in youth ministry, and help us all to be intentional about celebrating the victory of others? All of us would probably say it's a good idea to not be competitive, but what do we actually do to encourage and celebrate our youth worker compadres? 

We think this is a great -- and challenging idea that will result in many more youth workers sticking with it for the long haul.

EPISODE 62 -- Celebrating the Victories of Others

YMS Episode 61 — Great Expectations (the sequel)

October 29th, 2019

In a perfect world, we would all be perfect youthworkers. Every need would be met, every student would follow Christ, every expectation would be exceeded, and we would go to sleep at night knowing we made it happen.

Yeah, right.

Reality is much different. Despite our best efforts, we will fail. What do we do when the expectations others place on us, and the ones we place on ourselves, go unmet? What do we do when they are simply unrealistic in the first place?

You know, like the expectations we place on NFL refs? But we digress.

We don't always like the great expectations placed on us, whether from church leaders, parents, students, or even ourselves. In this episode, we focus on the great expectations of parents and students. They can be enough to drive anyone nuts, but in the end, it helps to remember many of those expectations come from a place of pain.

We also discover that the best lessons we learn really did come in kindergarten. And we also learned there is such a thing as a speed cuber.

And Halloween is the "Devil's Holiday."


Episode 61 -- Great Expectations (the sequel)

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