Youth Ministry Leaders

2018 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 is the founder and president of Josiah Venture, an organisation focused on training next-generation leaders in 11 countries of Eastern Europe. He dreams of a movement of God among young people in Eastern Europe, one that finds its home in the local church and which transforms society. He lives with his wife Connie and three children in Frydlant, Czech Republic.  He holds a BA in Theology and a MA in Education. He has lived and served in Europe for the past 25 years. Before moving to the Czech Republic he ministered to youth in Germany with Cadence International.

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.


Denisa Harčarová is the director of the School of Leaders, the discipleship programme run by Training Centre Kompas in Slovakia. She was called to serve God when she was 17, and since then her biggest passion has been to make disciples who make disciples. Together with her husband Daniel, she serves in their local church in the ministry focused on families and leads three small groups - one focused on couples and two focused on single girls and boys. She received her master's degree in mathematics and English language and literature and a year later she received her PhDr in didactics of mathematics at Charles University in Prague.


Ben Williams and his wife Kristy moved to Lviv over ten years ago to pioneer Josiah Venture’s  ministry  in Ukraine. During that time they have established effective strategies for evangelism and discipleship in the Ukrainian context, and now lead a growing team of Ukrainians and international missionaries who equip churches all over Ukraine to reach out to and disciple young people. Ben is also very involved in his local church’s youth ministry, thus he has a strong experience in leading on a local, city-wide, and national level. 



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?
Ben Williams

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, Denisa Harčarová, Ben Williams, Terry English, 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

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

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

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

Reaching and Discipling Young Men
Speaker to be announced

Many youth groups are beginning to feel the lack of “men” in their ministry – they are not attracting and keeping teenage guys, which in the long run also means they have fewer men in their leadership teams. This session will study models of outreach and discipleship which have shown great success in reaching young men and will enable the participants to assess how they can best reach young men in their context.

Walk 2/6 Small Groups: Mission, Foundations, Expansions, and Multiplication
Paul Bowman, Denisa Harčarová, Ben Williams, Terry English, 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, Denisa Harčarová, Ben Williams, Terry English, and Dave Patty 


Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer