How to Create Relationships with Unchurched People

Timing is everything…

I am honored to be a blogger for my friends at Dare 2 Share, through D2S I write four posts per month but never know when one may go live. The timing on a blog post this month couldn’t have been better.

On Thursday of this week I received an email from a youth pastor friend of mine who has been attending the Youthmark Mission51 Retreats I believe since they began. His letter virtually mirrors the Dear Aaby question I received a couple months ago for the D2S blog. 

Both questions were essentially asking, “how can I, as a pastor, create relationships with unchurched peers?” 

Check out the letter & question on the Dare 2 Share blog here.

Here is my video response!



Full Circle

This weekend has been a fun one for me.

I’m doing some behind the scenes stuff for the Dare 2 Share conference, namely doing some pre-work for the blog I write for them (here).

Not only is it fun seeing my many friends at D2S, it’s great to hang out with my friends from the band Everfound. Over the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to share in ministry with them (we’ve done camps and events together).

After my first event I did with them (2010) I got in touch with D2S and told them they needed to get Everfound on the radar. Here we are three years later and they’re touring together! It’s come full circle!

Two summers ago I had my family with me for a camp in Colorado that I spoke at and Everfound was the worship band (my kids fell in love with them). Since then we have had them up to the Northwest for a couple Youthmark events as well. My kids were stoked to see them today.

The Aaby kids with Everfound

The Aaby kids with Everfound

As I gear up for the main part of our Mission51 Training Retreat tour, this has been a fun weekend to sort 0f get ref0cussed on the task at hand and be encouraged by good friends.



April (No) Foolin’

Move: Mission Prep Workbook

Move: Mission Prep Workbook

This is an INCREDIBLE deal we are offering throughout the month of April. It represents a $40 savings for the Strategy or Strategy Pack Plus deals!

For just $59 per person you will receive a complete package to train participants for before, during and after a mission trip!

By ordering for a team (8 or more) you receive for each person:

  • A Mission Prep Workbook (10 studies and 10 applications)
  • A RoadGrip Devotional for the mission trip
  • A HomeBase Guided study for parents back home
  • A Merge Book; 18 studies through a book of the Bible after the mission

3BooksIn addition, youth leaders receive a complete Leaders Guide which covers all the admin and fundraising as well as 10 outlines for teaching the entire youth group through the core Bible section of Acts the mission team is dealing with.

Many will want to take advantage of not just the curriculum but will want to do the Strategy Plus Pack which gets participants to one of our Mission51 Retreats. You get all the curric and the retreat for only $110!

To take advantage of either the $59 or $110 deals, click here.


Mission51 number one, done.

IMG_0428This last weekend was spent at Indian Hills Camp in Jamul (near San Diego), California!

The REAL LIFE themed Mission51 Retreat was an absolute win. Though there are several little kinks that need to be worked out for the next event in New England, I consider this retreat the best “first” event of the spring in our five year history.

The big wins from my perspective (not in any particular order):

IMG_0433The Group Interaction/Broken Down Walls- The programming elements of REAL LIFE get the students interacting with folk from other groups far more than any of our previous retreats. Doing just a little investigation on Facebook I can already see many students from different youth groups interacting and following up online.

Clusters- We introduced a new training method to the groups this year. I am absolutely STOKED about these and how well they worked! This put participants in the most realistic opportunity to practice real-life entry points into spiritual conversations.

IMG_0435Double Vision- The guys  (Mason and Micah) were a hoot to be with and did a fantastic job leading in worship but the most telling thing to me was that they were so much more than great musicians and worship leaders- these guys love Jesus and want others to know him! They took leadership in other areas of the retreat and it truly became a SLAMM (Student Led, Adult Mentored Ministry) setting.

I’m looking forward to five other retreats with DV, (click on that and “like” them) the mentoring side of this is such a fun side of the ministry. I literally watched these guys grow in confidence and grasp the different concepts and opportunities we were giving them. The great thing, God has been at work in and through these boys for a long time. Matt, their dad/manager/agent/mentor was along for the trip as well!

IMG_0439In addition to our time at the camp, I was able to preach at one of the participating churches (Pine Valley Community Church) on Sunday after the M51 Retreat. I love this church and have a great history with them. They invited Double Vision to lead worship as well!

I believe God is going to use these retreats to really make a difference in the lives of teens and adults throughout the country. Your prayers are needed and much appreciated!

IMG_0440And of course there was one other huge win (that literally almost made me miss my flight because of how crowded it was, the delay it caused and the traffic we then encountered): IN-N-OUT Burger!

Mission51 number one, done!


Students Aren’t The Only Ones Asking…

Our small group (full of us “older peeps”) had a great conversation last night about the days following the crucifixion.

Questions arose…

  • “If you were one of the disciples, what would you have done after he was killed and buried?”
  • “Would you have believed it when someone said ‘He’s alive?”
  • “What would it be like when you really did see him alive?”

Then the doozy of all questions became the topic of conversation for the rest of our time…

  • “After seeing Jesus alive, who would you tell and how would you tell them about Jesus?”

Our questions has less to do with back then and more about today. Who are we telling about the resurrected Savior of our sins?

I love that the small group with folk in their late 20’s through people in their 50’s is asking the same question teens are asking. As I gear up to train students this spring through Youthmark’s Mission51 Retreats I was pleased to see that my friends at Dare 2 Share just posted a video in which a gal coming off of weekend retreat was essentially asking the question “how can I talk about Jesus after I’ve been to camp?”  You can see the question and read my answer at the D2S blog here. Here is the quick (45 seconds or so) video.

I hope you’re thinking through real-life spiritual conversations just like Joy is. I hope you’re asking the question “whom shall I share with?” and “how shall I share?”


Spring Forward Announcement #2

As I stated in my last post, this week I am posting two successive posts pertaining to partnerships and announcements that have me pretty jazzed!

In my last post I introduced the readers to Double Vision, a band we have partnered with for our Mission51 Retreats.

c_40Youthmark is not the only organization who believes in this concept I have deemed SLAMM (Student Led, Adult Mentored Ministry). My friends and partners at Youth Missions International are among the others who believe in this and are partnering with Youthmark to make this venture a reality. 

YMI Blue LogoYouth Missions International (YMI) uses all of our curriculum and training elements for before, during and after a mission venture. In addition to partnering with us through the curriculum, YMI is helping make this partnership with Double Vision a reality. Do you believe in giving teens the opportunity to develop their gifts, skills and talents? Perhaps you’ll partner with us as well?

I had the opportunity to speak at YMI’s annual banquet this last weekend. Beyond the short-term mission trips (STM), they send individuals on longer STM’s, run internships and also have an extensive Sports Camp ministry. YMI is growing rapidly- they recently entered into a fabulous agreement with AWANA which will open up a world of opportunity for both orgs.

IMG_4634I’m seriously pumped up about these partnerships as I believe through Youthmark and YMI we’ll be able to advance God’s kingdom through the proclamation of the gospel through students faster and farther! With teens like Micah and Mason (Double Vision) leading their peers!

Speaking of proclamation, through YMI we are looking for others to believe in this training and support this cause through the Proclaim Campaign. 

Double Vision will be flown to all of our seven Mission51 locations this spring. In addition to the twin boys, their manager (who happens to be their dad) will be traveling with. Flights, lodging, rentals and food are among a number of costs, but it’s a cause we believe in, but certainly would love to see others support it as well and offset some of the costs.

If you’d like to donate to this (or other YMI causes) please click here (and scroll to bottom). There you’ll see you can give directly to the Proclaim campaign simply by giving in the fifth box down.

I’ll be sure to post many-an-update and keep you posted on how Micah and Mason are doing and how Youthmark and YMI are encouraged by the hundreds of teens and adults we get to train to share the gospel in Real Life (the theme for the Mission51 retreat).

Thanks for your prayers and for considering a gift!


P.S. I have one more really BIG announcement in regard to this next week!