The youth ministry world is full of heroes, men and women who give it all to help teens know and experience the love of Christ. While there are many great public writers and speakers who have a national voice, it’s been a desire of mine to elevate the people I know who are doing great things in youth ministry who aren’t necessarily household names. These are people who’s stories need to be told. You can read my first post here.

Shawn Kiger
I met shawn as part of my Youth Ministry Coaching Program cohort. He is quiet and mellow. I often wonder what is going on inside of his brain. As we interacted, I quickly understood what makes Shawn great. Shawn has served faithfully for many years in a small church in Virginia. In those years he has seen youth grow up and become parents of teens in his group. He is humble, giving and warm. What I love about Shawn is that he is a picture of contentment and faithfulness. Whenever I get believe the lie that the grass may be greener somewhere else, I think of Shawn and realize that I can be content wherever God has called me. Shawn may never get to be on the main stage in the ministry world, but he is the guy you want to talk to if you want to know what it takes to thrive in a small church setting for a long time.

Emily Capes
Emily is another cohorter that I admire greatly. She serves in Florida. She runs (a lot) and loves teenagers (a lot). Emily has the gift of presence. I’ve never met a youth worker who is more in the moment with you than she is. Emily listens to you as if her life depended on it. That presence is her gift to teens. She wants them to know that each conversation is a holy moment where God will arrive. When I get distracted by the to-do lists in ministry I remind myself that the most important gift I can give to students is being present with them. Emily gives me a flesh and bones example of how to do that in Jesus’ name with students.