YS Palooza Highlights

This weekend, I had the privilege of attending and volunteering at YS Palooza – a conference for youth ministry leaders put on by Youth Specialties and hosted by my church.  It was an incredible experience and far better than I could have ever imagined.  I could probably right several blog posts recapping each learning lab.  The speakers were all amazing, and the Youth Specialties staff were fabulous.  While the conference was meant for youth leaders, I could see many people being inspired by the dynamic teaching.


Mark MatlockMark Matlock
Kara PowellKara Powell
Duffy RobbinsDuffy Robbins
Jonathan McKeeJonathan McKee


Andy Needham BandAndy Needham Band

Here are some of the highlights from the two-day conference:

  • 45% of American teenagers are diagnosed with some type of disorder.  This problem doesn’t exist elsewhere in the world.  In the United States, teenagers are in isolation.  They lack integration into the adult world.  Most United States teens are treated as children even after puberty.  (Mark Matlock)
  • “Faith growth is not just an individual thing – it’s a community/group thing.  It not just me – it’s we.”  (Mark Matlock)
  • We need to learn to be still.  It’s tough to hit a moving target.  “The best activity maybe inactivity.”  It’s so easy to have the tide of life pull us away from time with God.  (Duffy Robbins)
  • 1 out of 2 young people drift from God or church after high school.  (Kara Powell)
  • Based on research by the Fuller Youth Institute and Sticky Faith, involvement in inter-generational worship and service opportunities is the number one variable that helps teenagers to build sticky faith.  (Kara Powell)
  • Parents are the number one influence in their kid’s spiritual development, but other adults have a role to play.  (Kara Powell)
  • Small group leaders need to listen to teenagers.  (Jonathan McKee)
  • Connection with teenagers must be the first priority for youth ministry volunteers.  (Jonathan McKee)
  • Good News People are magnets – not megaphones.  Good News People admire the shards of God’s imagine in others.  Goo News People do not live out of fear.  Good News People astonish others.  Good News People invite others into a better story.  Good News People always credit Jesus.  (Mark Matlock).

Along with the great speakers, there were many great resources mentioned worth checking out:

  • Raising Wise Children by Mark Matlock
  • You Lost Me by David Kinnaman
  • Sticky Faith by Kara Powell
  • 10 Minute Talks by Jonathan McKee
  • Help!  I’m A Small Group Leader by Jonathan McKee
  • Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
  • Connect by Jonathan McKee

And finally, there were a couple of video clips that really hit home for me:

YS Palooza has left me with a lot to process.  More than anything, it has me thinking about how I can do a better job connecting with kids (including my own) and pointing them to Christ.

What do you think?  Who invested in you as a teenager?  Who can you invest in today?