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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. 


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.


Andrej Lovše has been serving as a youth minister for 15 years. After 5 years of developing youth ministry in local churches in Croatia, he moved back home to Slovenia. 10 years ago he started leading a youth-focused church-planting team. At the same time he joined Josiah Venture, and God has used their work with youth to grow the young church. For the last 4 years Andrej has been leading the national youth organisation that serves churches around Slovenia in their development of youth ministries. Andrej earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from the Institute for Biblical Studies in Zagreb, Croatia and an MA in Christian ministry from Abilene Christian University.


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
Terry English

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?
Kristy 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?
Denisa Harčarová and Paul Bowman

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, Denisa Harčarová, Andrej LovšeKristy 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

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

Helping Young People Find a Home in the Local Church
Andrej Lovše

Often youth ministries create subcultures where young people feel very much at home but still feel disconnected from the general life of the church.  When this happens, we face the real danger of young people walking away from the church when they “graduate” from the youth ministry.   This seminar will look at how you can help young people truly find their home in the local church and help the larger church body reach out to the young people. 

Understanding the Teenage Brain in Order to Better Serve the Next Generation
Kristy Williams

The teenager's brain has incredible potential, yet if youth and the adults that work with them do not understand this powerful organ, we may be missing out on opportunities to shepherd and mentor the next generation. This workshop will look at a teenager's brain development and its neurological stages, hormonal levels, stress functions, substance and addiction issues, and several other topics that give insight into why teenagers act and feel the ways that they do. 


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


Day 4

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

Equipping Young People to Share the Gospel with Their Peers
Kristy Williams and 
Denisa Harčarová

Because they are rooted in the youth context and culture, young people have the very best potential to reach their friends for Christ.  In spite of this, often the most they are challenged to do is invite a friend to an evangelistic event.  What makes a student effective at peer to peer evangelism? This seminar will help you equip and empower your young people to reach their friends for Christ.

Pastoral Care for Young People: The Issues Teens Are Dealing with and How to Respond
Paul Bowman

The shape of our society tomorrow will depend to a large extent on how we relate to and care for our young people today. So what do young people really need? How can we ensure that our youth ministries are caring for the whole person?  What mistakes are frequently made? This session will explore the areas in a young person's life where pastoral care is needed and provide insight on the qualities that we as leaders need to demonstrate if we are to effectively provide pastoral care.  


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


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