Training Topics

Most youth ministry conferences are not about youth workers and what they need, they are about speakers and what they want to say. Refuel Retreats are all about what you want to talk about. We’ve selected key topics which we think are crucial for every youth worker, but we also present them in discussion based settings, making the training as collaborative as possible. Below are current topics we’re discussing at upcoming Refuel Retreats.

Please note that each location offers ONE of the following topics. Visit each location page for details.

Leadership Pathway

Every youth pastor wants to grow in their leadership, but the path is not always clear. Ho do we grow our own leadership and how do we encourage the growth of leaders in our ministry? By diving into the Leadership Pathway, you’ll learn a simple, practical, and straightforward approach to leadership development that can work for anyone.

Deep Discipleship

Everything in youth ministry is not discipleship. Not everything we do or even everything we teach is discipleship. Discipleship is the process of multiplication through relationship, and discipleship takes place when mature believers shape newer believers into committed followers of Jesus Christ who live out the kind of devotion that Jesus described through his teachings.

And while we’ve noticed a lot of people talking about discipleship, we’ve seen few people actually explaining how to do it. So that’s what we set out to do.

1. The Discipleship Problem: First, we’ll confront the challenges we face in discipleship. We’ll highlight common misconceptions, clarify expectations, and determine what it takes to create a ministry culture where discipleship can flourish. 2. A Discipleship Process: Next, we’ll explain the LeaderTreks Discipleship Model, which outlines the role of the discipler and the experience of the disciple. We’ll also share with you the importance of consistent and complete content in your discipleship strategy. 3. A Personalized Plan: To close out our time, we’ll apply the LeaderTreks Discipleship Model to an individual student to create a personalized plan for student growth. You’ll walk away with the specifics that your volunteers need to fully participate in the discipleship process.

Facing Your Leadership Challenges

Leading a youth ministry is a ton of work. While you might have thought being a youth pastor was all about ministry to students, you’ve probably figured out it’s a ton more than that. You have to be able to lead people (students, parents, and adult volunteers), manage budgets, be a good communicator, and most importantly care for people’s spiritual needs, which we all know can be messy. Have you ever considered that you need to grow yourself in order to grow your ministry?

1. Leading Yourself: Developing your own leadership identity is key to overcoming so many of the challenges you face in ministry. This will help you find success in your leadership and will prevent you from mimicking others around you. 2. Leading the Mission: Are you spending most of your time in areas that push the mission forward or in areas that drain your energy? When you learn how to lead the mission, you’ll steer the ministry in the right direction. 3. Leading Up: Every youth pastor needs to work with people who are older than they are: adult volunteers, parents, and senior pastors to name a few. Knowing how to effectively lead up is one of the most essential things a youth pastor can learn and it can help the church rally behind the youth ministry in big ways.

Developing Your Adult Volunteers

When most people think about capacity in terms of youth ministry, they think about how many kids the youth room can fit. Yet the truth about capacity is that it has nothing to do with the size of your youth room and everything to do with the number of adults who are in meaningful relationships with students. Every youth ministry has a capacity issue because we all need more adult volunteers. But how do you develop those volunteers into full-fledged youth workers?

1. Place by Passion: What if, instead of placing adult volunteers by our needs, we placed them by their passions? By placing adults in areas that excite them, they’ll stay in ministry longer. 2. Five Step Plan For Developing Volunteers: When you are intentional with developing your adult volunteers, you’ll set them up for success in youth ministry, and their impact will be greater. 3. Making Volunteers Leaders: You will always need volunteers for your ministry; to cook meals, to drive students, and to chaperone. But when you develop volunteers into leaders, your ministry can grow in exciting ways.

Leading With Your Head Above Water

Youth ministry can often make us feel like we are drowning. As the pressures mount, our ability to keep moving forward is often hindered. When we create a strategic plan it brings focus to your ministry and to gives us the ability to lead with confidence.

1. Mission, Focus, and the Student Experience: Before we can make a plan we have to know what we are shooting for. In this session we will explore our mission and specifically how we want to focus on the mission. We will also answer the question, “what kind of disciple will our student look like at graduation?” 2. Critical Success Factors: Every ministry has success factors; actions that must happen for the ministry to reach its goals. We will help you discover these and challenge you to define them so everyone involved in your ministry can understand what is most important. 3. Key Metrics and Must Do’s: In this session we will start by making goals for the coming year. Once we have the goals we will then figure out what we must do to reach them. During this session we will finish our “Game Plan.” You will walk out the door with a easy to share plan, ready to move your leadership forward.

Student Leaders Start Here

Student leaders need a healthy start in student leadership. Often we want to give them leadership books to read or leadership roles to fill. Honestly the best place to start is by being a leader worth following. This experience will give you the tools to teach leadership though your own experience. We will help you improve your leadership so you can grow a new generation of leaders.


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