by Hank Hilliard
These quotes can open the door to deep reflection and discussion about the state of youth ministry at your church. Some of the quotes challenge us to move deeper in ministry. Some serve as encouragement and inspiration. Use the quotes to move your ministry team into deeper discussion about where you are and where you hope to go in ministry with students.

  • Give a copy to each person. Have everyone go off alone for 10 to 15 minutes. Instruct each person to read through the quotes a couple of times. Pick two or three quotes that stand out to you or that speak to you about youth ministry. Think deeply. Listen for what God might be saying to you through these words. Take a few notes if you like. Come back together as a group and allow each person to share his or her thoughts and feelings. Then ask what practical applications you can make as a group in your ministry based on what you have heard during the sharing time.
  • Divide into groups of three to four people. Cut out the quotes so there is only one quote on each sheet. Place the sheets in an envelope. In groups, draw a quote from the envelope. Discuss what the quote says to you as a youth minister, and what implications that has for your ministry. Allow an opportunity for anyone to share who would like to do so. Feel free to dig deep or go in a new direction if conversation leads there. Have someone take brief notes of your discussion. (Some good stuff will be said, and you want to remember it!) Once you are done with that quote, draw another. Spend 20 to 30 minutes or until you run out of quotes (which you shouldn’t). Come back as a big group and share. Have someone from your small group type up the notes in an understandable format and email them out to all team members. These can be used for a deeper application later.

Big Group Sharing:

  1. What quote struck you most deeply? Why?
  2. What was something valuable you discovered in your alone/small group time?
  3. What now?  What is something you will take with you from this time together and apply to your ministry?  What can we take as a group?


Study after study in the field of youth development makes it clear that the single most important thing that can make a positive difference in the life of a young person is the presence of a caring adult. —Mark Yaconelli

If we take the yearnings of young people seriously, then we can admit to ourselves that youth aren’t interested in our answers (often given in response to questions they’re not asking). They’re not looking for safe activities. What they’re seeking is the companionship of adults who embody a different way of being. —Mark Yaconelli

It’s not what I think. It’s not what you think. It’s what I think you think about me. —Unknown

Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention. The capacity to give one’s attention to a sufferer is a very rare and difficult thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle. —Simone Weil, Waiting for God

Small acts of kindness are little blessings, balms that heal the many mean and belittling messages young people receive each day. —Mark Yaconelli

Youth look for the church to show them something. Someone, capable of turning their lives inside out and the world upside down. Most of the time we have offered them pizza. We are painfully aware that we have sold them short. —Kenda Creasy Dean, Ron Foster, The Godbearing Life

For pastors to burn without being consumed we need companionship for the journey, people who continue to stoke our faith with ever more challenging fuel. —Kenda Creasy Dean, Ron Foster, The Godbearing Life

It takes a greenhouse to nurture the souls of young people—a greenhouse formed by adults who want to know God. A young person’s faith is best tended by a variety of relationships within a Christian community. —Mark Yaconelli

Youth ministry used to be about forming relationships with teens so that they would come to your programs. Today, programs are not the end goal. Instead, programs serve as open doors for building relationships. —Hank Hilliard

The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have. —Norman Vincent Peale