The stories we tell as youth pastors are valuable and important. They shape what we believe about who we are and what’s important about our calling. We have many prominent voices in the youth ministry who bless us greatly. We also have countless people who never write a book or get the main stage at a convention. I have been convicted to get some of their stories out. These are some of my youth ministry heroes (who are relatively unknown). You can read the first two posts here and here.


Russ and Pam Watson
Russ and Pam are two parents at my church have given up so much to share Jesus with teenagers. Two years ago they they told me that God has instructed them to start a Wyldlife club at their sons’ Junior High. Without a staff person to rely on, they jumped in feet first. They organize the clubs, do contact work and even used their vacation time to go to camp. I was talking with them the other day and we were sharing how ministry is a lifestyle for them. They don’t see the teens they reach as something they do, they arrange their world around it. What’s also great about Russ and Pam is that they bring their two teenage sons along with them. They have a burden to share the Gospel and they want their kids to develop that burden too. Russ and Pam are an example to me that so much great ministry happens not by paid youth workers, but by the volunteers who give up much to share the Gospel.

Jon Odom
This Texas transplant to Ohio consistently wows me with the thoughtfulness with which he does ministry. Jon is the kind of youth worker who has the ability to ask the questions “Why?” and “What could be?” He wants to understand and discern before he moves ahead with something. The best thing is that he does this with a team of staff and leaders. He isn’t a lone ranger visionary (something I am guilty of). Over the past year Jonathan and his team have come up with some powerful and culturally specific core values that will shape their youth ministry strategies. He is an example to me of doing youth ministry that is informed and discerned by listening to the Spirit.