My mother was a classic Church Lady and there were often “book clubs” hosted at our house in suburban Nashville. The books were usually some fiction book about a white woman finding herself, and I don’t remember actually reading the books being much of a requirement. The gatherings, as far as I remember, included a … Continue reading This Book Club is “Not for the Faint of Heart”
Something that was preached to me when I was younger: “Give a man a fish, and they’ll eat for a day; Teach a man to fish, and they’ll eat for life.” If you know me, I would usually buck at this, but there is a concept of dignity in service rooted in this statement that … Continue reading Fish & Fishing: The Tricky Theology of Youth Missions
Everyone hurts. Physically, mentally, spiritually. It’s a part of life. It’s not something that we get to be exempt from; we must all experience it. However, sharing it is never something we want someone to learn to do alone. Let’s Start with the Bible… Personally, my theology of hurt is built on a couple of … Continue reading Basics, Limits, & Joy: Pastoral Care with Teenagers
Let’s be honest: most of us enjoy working with students because we know students are awe-inspiring. I love seeing their growth and witnessing their questions, knowing that God loves them and God asks them to love all, allowing them a place to feel enveloped in God’s love and grace, a space that welcomes all and … Continue reading Finding Your Why: Theology & Youth Ministry
It is SUMMER y’all! Here in my current home of Texas, it is a high of a comfy, casual 97 degrees. AND I have a mission trip in a few weeks. So, what do you do when you have a job that requires you to be: Outside all day in late summer Often physically very … Continue reading 7 Summer Youth Ministry Fashion STAPLES
Setting Healthier Boundaries in Ministry I am a perfectionist, a planner, and an overachiever. A classic Enneagram 1. So imagine my surprise nearly three years ago when I found myself overwhelmed in ministry. I was consistently stressed out and anxious, and it seemed I couldn’t keep my head above water. It felt like I was … Continue reading Put Down the Coffee Table
My children were 4 & 6 when they lost me. It was the summer of 2013, my 40th birthday when I sustained a traumatic brain injury. Every day for years, I experienced excruciating pain, dizzying migraines, memory loss, slurred speech, and a host of other debilitating symptoms. Sound, light, and motion made me sick. Even … Continue reading Loved and Called: Accessibility in Ministry
This post was drafted in Summer 2020 about what doing ministry in the pandemic had been like. We wanted to share it now, as so many of us emerge into a post-Covid world, as a celebration and reminder of how far we have all come, and the strength we all found. We hope you are … Continue reading The Sprint
I remember so vividly my freshman year of college being asked what I thought I would do with my Christian Studies degree I was pursuing. Without much hesitation, I said, “I’d really love to be a pastor’s wife.” As confident as I felt in God’s call to church ministry, I still limited myself to what … Continue reading Season of Singleness
Ok, you’re in your pre-summer calm before the storm, you have a little wiggle room in the budget (turns out you were spending a lot on donuts pre-covid…) and you want to grab a couple games, fun things, and distractions to throw at children when you’re on day 3 of middle school mission trip and … Continue reading Our 15 Amazon Snags for Youth Min Summer!
Over the last few weeks on the Women in Youth Ministry Blog, I have been exploring the overwhelming reality of eating disorders, mental health, and body image that is present in our society – and the effect they have on us as Women in Youth Ministry, on the youth we work with, and beyond. In … Continue reading Body, Part 3: Empowering Youth
Earlier this month, on the Women in Youth Ministry Blog, we began a series discussing the relationship between our bodies and the work we do. In that blog, I shared pieces of my own story with an eating disorder and how it has impacted me as a leader in Youth Ministry spaces. You can read … Continue reading Body, Part 2: Body Neutrality in Youth Ministry Spaces
I remember the first time I was afraid of my own body, afraid to put it out into the world as it was. I was only seven or eight years old in elementary school, and some boy called me a name that would haunt me for many years to come. This was not the trigger … Continue reading Body, Part 1: Offering Vulnerability
Grief is like water seeping from a cracked drinking glass–you don’t always notice all the places that its touched until you see the crinkled and stained spots that appear. In the past seven years of ministry, I have grieved many things: the loss of community, the loss of support, loss of heart-felt dreams, the loss … Continue reading Claiming Your Call in Ministry
If distracting yourself from any and everything was an Olympic event, I would medal every time. The problem with staying distracted is that it keeps me (it keeps all of us, really) from staying in the present moment. It shields our ability to imagine possibilities and dream of new realities. Most importantly, it keeps us … Continue reading Cleaning out the Fridge (and other Spiritual Practices)
I live in Texas, and we famously got rocked by a snowstorm in February of this year. We had no power, no water, for days on end. Subzero temperatures, followed by two days of snow and ice, and the whole state shut down. But, because it’s Texas, the temperature swung back up to around 70 … Continue reading The Great Thaw
Tony Campolo has this incredible sermon that he preaches, it starts with him describing a service that his church has every year. The preachers take turns preaching after each other, Tony says that it’s not officially a competition, but we all know that’s exactly what it is. One year, Tony stood up to preach and … Continue reading We are Sunday People
Holy Week is celebrated in many churches, both Catholic and Protestant, around the world. But if this week isn’t something you are familiar with, take a journey with me through this week that leads us through triumph, despair, and glorious hope. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, the Sunday prior to Easter. On this Sunday, … Continue reading Journey Through Holy Week
I sat around a table with four other youth pastors the other night. All of us, now vaccinated, gathered on a patio, seeing each other for the first time in a year, to catch up. Turn by turn, we asked each other about our churches and ministries, and turn by turn, we all answered, “Eh, … Continue reading You’re Not Bad at Ministry- It’s Just Hard
With schools closed for the rest of the school year, data says that most children ages 6-12 are spending at least 50% more time online, with no definitive statistic for teenagers. But as I talk to our teenagers, and use my instincts from my personal increased screen time, I can guess that that most of … Continue reading Navigating Screen-Related Addictions and Teenagers in the Midst of COVID-19
This morning in my devotion, I read the story of Mary and Martha. To be honest, I’ve always rolled my eyes at the story, because growing up the story was told as “don’t be a Martha!” And guess what, sisters? I’m totally a Martha. I’ve always envied Mary’s. I have always envied people who can … Continue reading Being a Mary during COVID-19
Have you ever felt like a unicorn? That’s a weird statement, but oftentimes, as women in ministry, that is what we are treated as. I have been to many an event where I look around and see many men in the room and very little women who I can connect with ministry-wise. I have spent … Continue reading Pay it Forward
“No, I Don’t Love Babies!” This past June our second child, Baby C, was being baptized in the church. It’s two weeks before our scheduled baptism and my husband and I see another baby being baptized. It was beautiful. And the Pastor says to the older sibling, about 4, “do you love Jesus”. “Yes I … Continue reading Raising Our Own (ornery) Kids
Enneagram 9’s are peacemakers. Our ideal world is one where relationships are restored and everyone works together in harmony. We long for shalom, or relationships restored to how they should be. My first real encounter with the Enneagram happened because of a course I was taking for school. A group of us did some reading, … Continue reading Enneagram 9 (and in youth ministry)
Enneagram 8’s are also known as THE CHALLENGER. THE CONFRONTER. I am OBSESSED with personality tests, as I’ve always felt misunderstood and grasping for anything that can help me understand myself and how to communicate with other people. And especially as an 8, understanding my Enneagram type has been crucial to understanding who I am … Continue reading Enneagram 8 (and in youth ministry)
“Let’s do all the things! And have as much fun as possible while doing it” – Enneagram Sevens Everywhere In case you are new to the Enneagram or have only spent time looking at your number allow, me to provide you with a very simple description of what it’s like to be a seven. Seven’s … Continue reading Enneagram 7 (and in youth ministry)
As youth ministry leaders, we can use the Enneagram to better understand the needs of our volunteers. The health of our ministries is largely determined by how engaged our volunteers are, and it’s important to understand that each volunteer needs something different in order to fully engage. Enneagram Sixes specifically thrive in ministries that value … Continue reading Enneagram 6 (and in youth ministry)
I am a Five on the enneagram. Fives are known for their knowledge seeking and tend to be more observers than anything else. I would also wager that fives are one of the most confused groups in the Enneagram. The majority of fives are introverts, yet when under stress become a seven (high functioning, life … Continue reading Enneagram 5 (and in youth ministry)
Hi, my name is Patti and I shun labels of all kinds. I block quiz apps on social media. I dislike personality tests because I feel like they never capture the true essence of ME. It began no differently with the Enneagram as with any other personality profile. I’ve taken at least a dozen for … Continue reading Enneagram 4 (and in youth ministry)
DO YOU: Find yourself doing things for attention Over-commit to things because you want to please other people Become obsessive about being the best at whatever you do Have a hard time sharing the spotlight with others If you find out someone is better at something than you, get jealous or possibly just quit doing … Continue reading Enneagram 3 (and in youth ministry)
Enneagram 2- The Helper. The Giver. Sounds like the best pastor ever, right? In so many ways, the positive qualities of the Enneagram 2 (intuiting the feelings of people around me, incredible commitment to relationships, being able to navigate relational tension with tact and grace) have been a great asset to my life in ministry. … Continue reading Enneagram 2 (and in youth ministry)
I always felt like the odd (wo)man out in Youth Ministry circles. First, there’s the gender thing. Super fun to be in the “regional” youth ministry gatherings that are basically a bro fest. (Even more fun when you’re serving in a conservative area and several of the guys in the group aren’t sure if they … Continue reading Enneagram 1 (and in youth ministry)
It’s our last day of “Women in Youth Ministry Month,” and I want to take today to share something I’ve been working through for the last month or so. Last month I went to the FIERCE Conference, a gathering of mostly United Methodist Female pastors (and some strays, like me. #unordained). The gathering included the … Continue reading No More Apologies.
“I have no where to put that.” I said to our creative director ten minutes before the service started. I had carefully crafted my outfit to hide the growing baby bump, but I had failed to consider the mic pack. “Just clip it to your waistband.” Sure. They looked like jeans, but they were not. … Continue reading I’m just… Different
I’m not coming to your conference if there aren’t women on the platform. I’m not coming to your conference if there aren’t people of color teaching and not just entertaining. There. I said it. I said what my spirit has been screaming for all 20 years of ministry I’ve walked in. If your conference does … Continue reading I’m not Coming to Your Conference
I’ve always felt like making friends is an awkward endeavor. Growing up, I had one friend, Linsey, who I spent all of my time with. Sure, I was friendly with other people and had fun with other kids, but Linsey was my best friend and my other relationships were just not as good as that … Continue reading Navigating Friendships at Church When You Have to Be Nice To Everyone
There’s a billboard on the freeway by the exit to my house. It’s for a furniture discount store that opens only on the weekends. The imagery is simple: a black background with two lines of yellow text “We can please your wife three days a week. Can you?” There’s this concept of men in our … Continue reading The Church’s Role in Combating Toxic Masculinity
My College professor told us in my first ministry class, “If you can do anything else and be happy, do it.” I have used that question as a gauge throughout many years working in small churches, large churches, rural churches, city churches. When Ministry became very hard and I wanted to quit, it was this … Continue reading My Journey to an affirming denomination
Since my first taste of youth ministry back in 2001 as a volunteer with middle school youth, I have had only one passion and felt only one call in my life. That call was to be a youth minister. After finishing college, I proceeded directly to seminary where I interned at a church in their … Continue reading When it’s time to say goodbye.
I’ve got three kids. Three kids is SO MANY KIDS. (I know that there are many serving in ministry who have more kids. And you are amazing. Look:. you’re amazing if you have one. Or two. Or nine. Or none. Let’s just agree everyone is amazing, unless they actively undergird the systems and policies that … Continue reading Fight for Maternity Leave
3 years ago, I was at the gym, trying to furiously work off the weight that I’d been gaining, but to no avail, could not lose. I ate all the right things, drank zero calories, but I couldn’t lose the weight. So, I went to the gym regularly to try to get skinny. This particular … Continue reading To my Cysters
Early in February, I volunteered to write a blog post for this month — Women in Youth Ministry Month. Since that day, I have started and restarted writing this post no less than 50 times. My topic? Grieving / navigating youth ministry as a single parent. Not exactly what I thought I would be writing … Continue reading Grieving as a Single Parent in Youth Ministry
I was a tomboy with sparkly shoes. Since I was a little girl, I never really fit in anywhere. I loved nail polish and climbing trees. When I was about 9 years old I pushed my cousin out of a tree. He broke his arm and cried like a baby. I didn’t feel sorry for … Continue reading You Need Better Soft Skills
Conferences were a staple of my first several years in ministry. You know the kind- bright lights, fog (is fog a thing anymore?), everyone is really amped up about life and Jesus and ministry. And at these gatherings, specifically for those of us in youth ministry, the message was as loud as the chorus of … Continue reading About that call…
I’m a graduate student in seminary. And it’s hard. Can I get an Amen? To my fellow se(wo)menarians, (See what I did there?) here are my words for you (and maybe for myself, because I need to hear it too): First, you are doing great. Remember last week when you went to that student’s piano … Continue reading Seminary Survival Guide
Faith and sexuality are taboo topics, especially when combined. There are so many opinions, arguments and even more questions. All of this results in anger, hurt, frustration and disunity. Anger, hurt and frustration for the conservative believer, for the affirming believer and for the LGBTQ community. And, anger, hurt and frustration for people like me- … Continue reading LGBTQ & in Youth Ministry
I have been in some sort of youth ministry capacity for 14 years. From volunteer to staff, most of which at the same church. Through those years I had a fluctuation of feelings towards being a woman in youth ministry. Sometimes, under the right leadership, I felt no different. My early years of being a … Continue reading You are Not Second Pick
For childfree women, an unspoken culture of shame exists within the Church. When you’re childfree and in ministry, everyone and their mother seems to have an opinion on your life choices. Here are five truths to always come back to: Just because you’re not a parent doesn’t mean you can’t partner well with parents. When … Continue reading 5 Things Every Childfree Woman in Youth Ministry Needs to Hear
When I was sixteen years old, the Lord called me a girl from small town Arkansas to ministry. I was given this list early into my ministry of goals that I should follow in order to be a great and respected minister by someone I valued as a minister. God made me with a “Type-A … Continue reading Foster Care and Ministry
My calling into full time student ministry within the local church was so crystal clear it scared me. I knew without any shadow of a doubt that the Lord was making a way for me. I was 21 when I was hired in my first full time staff role the day after I graduated from … Continue reading An Unexpected Season
Last October, I got married to a WONDERFUL man, and honestly, it was an answer to prayers. And not in the “OMG I wanna get married” kind of way, but in the “OMG now I can stop dating losers.” Because my husband is anything BUT a loser, and let me just say… I have quite … Continue reading 21 Things that can ONLY happen when dating as a WOMAN in YOUTH MINISTRY.
The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is call my boss and tell him that one of our graduated students was missing. He was waiting for his flight to come back from a conference. I was a 22 year old, part-time, associate youth director and I was facing the worst fear of almost every … Continue reading The Worst Part of the Job
We have an AWESOME RESOURCE for you today! The beautiful CHARLIE CONDER is giving away three-months of coaching to TWO lucky women! Go to her website and fill out the form! Cheers, sisters!
Recently, I found myself speaking to an old friend of mine on the topic of being a female pastor. She had an unsure look on her face as I spoke of my experience, to which she then responded, “Well, I guess since you and your husband are co-pastors, it’s okay”. As well meaning as my … Continue reading Co-Pastoring (With my Husband)
I’m a mom to 3 kids under 6 – a rambunctious 5 year old boy and twin girls who are almost four. I’m also in full-time student ministry. Some days this life is exhilarating and gives me the energy of five people. Some days getting out of the house in the morning feels as intimidating … Continue reading Mom of 3 and in Youth Ministry
In fourteen years of full-time youth ministry, I can count on one hand the number of men who have been intentionally mean to me because I’m a woman. In my conservative background, being a female ordained minister is definitely not the norm. I regularly am put into a position to have conversations with my brothers … Continue reading Three Things that Male Youth Workers May Not Know About Being a Woman in Ministry
I can vividly recall the moment I first felt that I was truly a beloved child of God. While in worship one Sunday, I had only been attending worship for a month or so, I said the Lord’s Prayer for the very first time. As I said those words, I was moved to tears and … Continue reading “Is it I, Lord?”
As a woman in youth ministry, sometimes it can seem like only dudes get cool speaking gigs. Imagine how excited I was when I opened up my laptop to find an email from a BIG-freakin-deal student ministry organization. They emailed to let me know that I, along with a few others would be speaking for … Continue reading The gig (and website) that was (and then wasn’t )
“I’m just the youth pastor” I’m sure you uttered this sentence, heard this sentence, or have thought this sentence. Early in my ministry someone walked into my office that I shared with a few other youth pastors and they asked “where can I find a pastor?”. When we offered that we were pastors, they shrugged us off … Continue reading “Just a” Youth Pastor
There has been much talk of toxic masculinity in the news recently, which has especially infuriated those of us who are God’s true children that uphold Biblical gender roles for men and wo-men. And yet, one of the biggest cultural errors of our time that is creeping into the life of the church is the … Continue reading Is it biblical to have a beard?
Hey sisters! This month is Women’s History Month, and we wanted to take this opportunity to get our blog off-and-running by saturating it with posts celebrating women over the month of March! Many women have already submitted their articles for this month, but we do have room for more women who might want to write. … Continue reading Women in Youth Ministry Month!
This year for Christmas, my sister gave me the BEST gift: A “Women in Ministry Survival Kit.” I’ve joked about these sorts of kits before in our Women in Youth Ministry Facebook group, as I’ve seen youth pastors “meme” starter packs before. However, like most youth pastor memes, they are very male-centered. So, I created … Continue reading Women in Ministry Survival Kit
In the small town of 2,000 that I grew up in, church was typically not a choice — everyone went to church. Except for my family: my parents were uninterested in church, so my Nana brought it upon herself to make sure I was there. Growing up in the church, I had so many questions … Continue reading God Redeems our Stories
Being single in a world that seems to be full of dating adults is difficult; but being single when half your teens are dating is a whole new ball game. Girl, it ain’t easy sometimes. Here are a few things I have learned being a single woman in Youth Ministry and embracing the season: Give … Continue reading Single in Youth Ministry
Welcome to the first post on our new blog. One of my goals for Women in Youth Ministry is that we can have a place for women to share their call stories, especially for those women still considering their calls. When I recieved my call to ministry, I was unaware that women could even do ministry. However, … Continue reading God gives calls.