Practical Ministry Application in West Africa

In December 2016, I taught a course in Nigeria called Youth Culture. That course is part of a larger program that YMI has started that is sure to impact the 13,000 churches in the Nigerian Baptist Convention.

One of my students, Samuel, recently wrote YMI to tell us about how the program is impacting the youth workers in Nigeria.

He writes, “The fire you kindle has started to burn in Nigeria. As you always emphasize in class that this is not meant for class or academic purpose; the wave is blowing beyond the four walls of classroom. Some of us are already applying the lessons beyond the demand of assignment. We are not really after class grades but how to impact our generation. The magic is that the more we venture into carrying out the class assignments, the more interest we develop for the ministry.”

I love hearing that they are applying what they have learned. I’ve always said that my desire is to see what is taught in the classroom put into practice in the local church.

Samuel continues, “The truth is that I have never seen and been passionate about youth ministry like this before. This is one of the most practical courses I have taken in all my theological trainings (about 10 years).”

The key to application of academic assignments is to teach in a practical manner. I pray that my teaching will always be practical and allow students to dream about what they can do in their ministries to impact the next generation.

You can read more about the program in West Africa by clicking here.




How to Use Plotagraph

I’ve been obsessed with using Plotagraph, a new app that turns your still pictures into moving ones. In my opinion, the best uses for this app is to make a regular photo you took look like a time-lapse.

I use it along with inShot on my Spanish youth ministry site’s Instagram and Facebook to post moving clouds along with verses or quotes.

It’s great for social media.

Here’s one I took the other night at sunset:

If you’re interested in using it, I wrote up a tutorial on How to Use Plotagraph over on my other website.


Hair Salon Ministry in Cuba

One of the things I teach all the time is that God wants to use young people. He wants to take their gifts, talents, and interests, and he wants to allow them to be free to serve him with those things he has graciously given them.

While I was in Cuba, the youth group girls had a brilliant idea to open up one of the church meme era home as a hair salon and offer free hair-styling to the community. It was an incredible way to invite people in and share the gospel while meeting a need.

My favorite part is how they used their talents and gifts and interests for ministry.

They were excited to do it and worked hard to organize everything they needed to get it done. They took their time styling hair and talking to those who came in, and it was obvious that they genuinely enjoyed what they were doing.

As a result of their use of their gifts, a few girls from the community responded to the gospel and many others heard the message that they may not have otherwise heard.

If you don’t sing or play an instrument, you can still be useful for the Kingdom!


Cuba 2017 Report

I created a full report of my trip to Cuba and would love it if you’d take a look at it. Please continue to pray for the work there. God is doing many great things, and we are blessed to be a part of it.

Click below to open the report.
Adobe Spark Page


Parting Thoughts from Pastor Noel

At the end of my trip to Cuba last month, the pastor of the church, Noel, gave some closing thoughts to the group about how our visit impacted him personally, the church we went to serve, and the small church plant that we helped paint.

I recorded this with my iPhone and then put some subtitles on it in English. This video means a lot to me because of what he says about how the trip impacted him and how our group was perceived by the people there.


Three Priorities in My Life (and an update from the last 30 days)

I’m trying out a new audio platform called Anchor. In this episode I talk a little about my crazy life the last 30 days and what I’ve been doing. As I reflect on what has occupied my time, I realize that it really speaks about the three priorities in my life at this time.

Check it out and let me know what you think about it.

If you can’t see the audio player above, you can listen at this link.

By the way, I didn’t edit at all. These are just the thoughts straight out of my head and into my mouth.


Neighborhood Fireworks

For the longest time, we didn’t have much of a 4th of July celebration. We would have low-key celebrations in Mexico alongside our other expat friends, but we couldn’t actually go out and do fireworks.

Since we’ve moved back to the USA, we’ve really gotten to know our neighbors and enjoy being around them. It’s been a fun few years. Almost every evening this summer we have spent time outside with them, and last Monday we had a Fourth of July celebration, complete with some fireworks (no big ones lit by us).

Here’s a video I made:

How did you celebrate the Fourth?


YMI’s Adolescent Orphan Ministry – How it all Began

I spent some time this week helping my friend Micah make some videos about the Adolescent Orphan Ministry he is starting with our organization, Youth Ministry International.

The story he tells grabs my attention because this entire ministry started with one person’s desire to do something daring and take a mission trip. Then one thing led to another and now there is an entire vision to connect local church youth ministries to adolescent orphans around the world and help them become followers of Jesus.

Remember, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10).

What is the one thing God is asking you to do today that you need to obey Him in?

If you want to know more about YMI’s Adolescent Orphan Ministry, be sure to visit


Everyone needs a Mr. Miyagi

I was flipping through the channels yesterday, and I saw that the original Karate Kid movie was on. I remember that movie from when I was a kid, so I watched the end…right where Daniel Son was entering the tournament, gets his leg swept by the Cobra Kai, goes into the locker room and gets told there’s no hope, and then stares at Mr. Miyagi and asks him to “do that thing you do” to heal up his injured leg.

Then he hobbles out to the match to fight the final battle and delivers a Crane kick to Johnny’s face and wins the trophy.

What a great movie! I quickly posted this on my Instagram story: “Everyone needs a Mr. Miyagi.” If you’ve seen the movies, you’ll know that Miyagi helps young Daniel through life.

Here are a few things a Mr. Miyagi does for your life:

  1. Teaches you the basics
  2. Piques your interested in the subject
  3. Let’s you learn on your own while guiding you
  4. Puts up with your immaturity
  5. Helps you when your hurt

What else did Mr. Miyagi do that you think is useful life?

Do you have someone who helps you like Miyagi helped Daniel?