Youth Ministry Leaders

2019 European Youth Ministry Leaders Network

Sometimes youth ministry is viewed as a non-essential “add on,” a place to serve when one is too young to do anything else or too experienced to move into “real ministry.”  However, the data would tell us that just the opposite should be true.  Ninety percent of believers put their trust in Christ before their 21st birthday.  Strong youth ministry is essential if we want to reach Europe again for Christ.

A high percentage of Christian workers receive their call into ministry while they are still young.  Young people are more teachable, more easily motivated and mobilised, and still have most of their key life decisions before them.  Teaching them to reach their peers and make disciples can prepare a new generation of leaders for the church.

In spite of this, most youth leaders have no specific training on how to effectively lead their local youth ministry.  Learning a philosophy of ministry based on the life of Christ and drawing from the experiences of others who are effective in a European context can powerfully increase their effectiveness.  Quality preparation can also keep them from becoming discouraged or burned out.

The aim of the Youth Ministry Leaders Network is to lay a strong base in youth ministry philosophy from the life of Christ, as well as teach strategies that are bearing significant fruit in a European context.  The participant will walk away with a deeper understanding of what makes a disciple-making youth ministry, as well as have specific tools that can be immediately applied to their setting.  

This year's programme will include lecture options for the whole group and 4 small group sessions divided by ministry stage.  The small groups will discuss "Walk 2/6”, a special course designed to equip youth leaders to build disciple making youth ministries following the model of Jesus.  Participants from previous years are encouraged to return and choose a different ministry stage as well as different seminars to keep deepening their youth ministry skills. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.



Dave Patty has been involved in training youth leaders and leading national and international youth movements in Europe for over 30 years and serves as the president of Josiah Venture.  He is also a founding member of Global Youth Initiative, which mobilises and equips youth ministry trainers in over 40 countries of the world.  Dave is an ordained pastor with a BA in theology and a MA in education.  He has also done graduate work in leadership development at Harvard University.  For the past 21 years he has lived in the Czech Republic, and spent the 10 years before that in Germany.  Dave is married to Connie, and has three children, Tyler, Caleb, and Claire.


Terry English is the Director of Training for Josiah Venture. As such he oversees the creation and rollout of ministry team and disciple making resources throughout Central and Eastern Europe, and also oversees evangelistic ministries and tools currently being used by over 400 churches. Prior to moving to the Czech Republic 20 years ago, he also worked with youth and student outreach ministries in the USA, UK, and Norway. While his focus is now on training local churches, he also continues to work with a local youth ministry in the Czech Republic so that he can keep his finger on the pulse of current trends in youth culture, and has recently helped his local church plant a new expression of church in Ostrava.




Paul Bowman has 20 years of experience in full-time youth ministry in the local church. He has served in a variety of settings throughout Ireland – both urban and rural – working with churched and unchurched young people. He is passionate about developing youth ministries that are rooted in the life of Christ, making disciples, and focusing on development of the whole person. He has been leading teams of young people on short-term mission trips to the Czech Republic for 15 years. He is committed to training and equipping the next generation of youth leaders.  He lives with his wife Val and their three children in Saintfield, Northern Ireland.  He holds a BSc Hons in Community Youth Work and is currently studying for a Masters in Transformational Leadership.


Zala Cempre was born and raised in Slovenia. She accepted Christ through an English camp organised by Josiah Venture and a local church. Soon after accepting Christ she started volunteering with the high school youth group and discipling girls. While finishing her master’s degree in international business she was asked to consider full-time ministry. Zala currently leads a high school youth group and a 2-year discipleship program for Slovene college students and loves to take students on short trips to former Yugoslavian countries to serve local churches. 


Kristy Williams has 12 years of experience as a full-time missionary in the context of youth ministry and leadership training. She has been serving primarily in Ukraine, although her love for training youth leaders also leads her to different opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe with her missionary organisation, Josiah Venture.  Kristy is passionate about disciple-making and teaching leadership principles to youth leaders. She also develops ministries to public schools that help local churches build relationships with the teenagers and teachers in their neighborhood schools. Kristy and her husband, Ben, live in Lviv, Ukraine with their two school-aged children. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Finance, a Masters of Business Administration, an MA in Global Leadership, and is currently working on a PhD in Organisational Leadership.




Day 1

The Jesus Model: How Simple Principles from the Life of Christ Can Transform Your Ministry
Dave Patty

Since youth culture is a constantly moving target, those who work with young people are often looking for something “new”.  What are the latest trends, how do we capture young people’s attention, what will make our programmes attractive and contemporary?  While there is nothing wrong with being trendy, the most profound insights about youth ministry are actually very “old”.  We forget that Christianity began as a youth movement. Many of Jesus’ disciples were teenagers when he called them.  How did his youth group launch a movement that changed the world?  If Jesus were to teach us how to lead an effective youth ministry today, what would he say?

For first-time participants
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: What Are the Natural Stages of Development in a Youth Ministry? How Must You Change Your Leadership to Respond to Them?
Speaker to be announced

What it takes to start a youth ministry is very different from what it takes to grow one or what is needed to expand its impact after it is healthy.  Youth ministries follow certain patterns of development, and require a shift in focus from the leader at each stage.  Not understanding these stages can create barriers to growth, since a youth leader will often not naturally concentrate on the right things.  Looking at development of Christ’s ministry, how do we understand these stages, and how do we lead our youth group through them?

For returning participants
Where Have You Come and Where Are You Now?
Terry English 

Looking back at Christ’s stages of ministry, how has your ministry moved in the last year?  How do you identify your current condition and know how to prepare the way for increased fruitfulness?  


Day 2

Walk 2/6 Small Groups: Mission, Foundations, Expansions, and Multiplication
Paul Bowman, Zala Cempre, Terry English, Kristy Williams, and Dave Patty 

On Day 2, participants will be divided into four groups depending on the stage each participant is at in the development of his or her ministry.  Each group will do a different session of “Walk 2/6”, a special course designed to equip youth leaders to build disciple making youth ministries following the model of Jesus.   In these smaller units participants will look deeper into the life of Christ and directly apply what they see to their youth ministry, evaluating their current situation and discovering their next steps.  This will happen under the leadership of one of the teaching team, all of whom are experienced youth ministry coaches. Returning participants will be placed in a different track than they were previously in, so they can continue to grow and stretch in their leadership skills.

At the beginning of each track time, there will be a short 10-minute talk on a key youth topic that participants can teach in their youth ministry.


Day 3

Leading Life-Changing Small Groups: How You Can Develop Small Group Ministry That Results in Deep Life Change and Growth in Each of the Participants
Speaker to be announced

Small group ministry can be a powerful engine of discipleship in your local ministry.  Veteran small group leader Denisa HarĨarová has written several books on this topic, and will inspire and equip you with her practical insights. 

Walk 2/6 Small Groups: Mission, Foundations, Expansions, and Multiplication
Paul Bowman, Zala Cempre, Terry English, Kristy Williams, and Dave Patty 


Day 4

In the first session, participants can choose from the following two talks.

Teaching for Transformation: Five Secrets from the Master Teacher
Dave Patty

A central part of a healthy youth ministry is the teaching of God’s Word.  But after spending hours in school, and even more hours consuming media, the minds of young people are numb and unresponsive.  How was Christ able to hold the attention of crowds for hours?  Why did his teaching stick – and transform?  What can we learn from him that will make our teaching attractive, interesting, and life changing to young people who are hearing lots of noise.

Bridging the Gap between an Evangelistic Event and Your Local Ministry – Essential Steps to Seeing Long-Term Fruit from your Outreach Event
Terry English

Many churches put a lot of energy and resources into creating great evangelistic outreach events but are demotivated by the perceived lack of long-term fruit from these events. Using several studies from Europe and the USA as a foundation, we will examine what are the “must have’s” of follow up to ensure that those people you reach in your evangelistic events find a home in your local church. 

Walk 2/6 Small Groups: Mission, Foundations, Expansions, and Multiplication
Paul Bowman, Zala Cempre, Terry English, Kristy Williams, and Dave Patty 


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