Posted on Leave a comment

Why I’m Excited About our PPM Youth Leader Trip to Alaska

Marko here. We posted the other day about the second youth leader vision trip we’re taking in September to Alaska, to help people get a sense of both the amazing work of Praying Pelican Missions and this fantastic location. But I thought I might share a bit more backstory and details.

The Youth Cartel has been partnering with Praying Pelican Missions for a number of years, and I’ve been on ten or more trips with them. We’ve tried multiple approaches over the years to figure out how the Cartel can get the word out about this org we believe is “best in class” (and I write that as someone who has been on many, many youth mission trips with multiple organizations). In the early years, Adam and I went on what could be called “blogging trips”: we’d go see the work of PPM in a country, and blog about our experiences. Knowing that PPM’s approach is to develop longterm partnerships with local churches (led by local pastors), and to serve under their authority and on their behalf, I would always pull these pastors aside for private conversations about how they were treated by PPM. Honestly, these conversations are what really sold me.

We’ve tried to do some Cartel/PPM trips with youth groups from the Cartel fam; and while those were great, it wasn’t our strong suit. I’m not sure why it took us so long to remember that a couple vision trips we did for youth workers years ago were the best thing we could offer, and that’s being proved out with these Alaska trips. I mentioned the first trip (September 17 – 20) on my Facebook and Twitter, and we filled it in six hours. So I asked PPM if we could add a second trip a week earlier (September 10 – 13), and they scrambled to accommodate us (props particularly go to the Alaska team for this).

I got to go on a partnership trip with them to Alaska last summer, and honestly, it’s one of my favorite locations I’ve been to. As a group leader, I was stoked to see it has a great combo of factors: less cost than an international trip, but some of the ‘feel’; wonderful ministries excited to receive help, but none of the challenges of passports and immunizations and currency exchange. and it is guh-guh-gorgeous, of course.

I’ve said this before: I think that youth ministry short-term missions can one of the worst things we do in youth ministry (drive-by missions, white savior complex, ministry tourism); but it can also be one of the best things we do in youth ministry, when the context is carefully curated to increase the likelihood that our churches bless local churches and they bless us. When done correctly (as I firmly believe PPM strives to do), we get to participate in partnership with the work of the Kingdom with Jesus who is already present and actively at work in the location where we serve.

SO: I encourage you, youth worker, to consider a trip with Praying Pelican. And I have been so deeply encouraged in the last couple weeks hearing so many stories of Cartel-y youth workers who are going on PPM trips this summer, and heard about them through us.

We’ve limited the size of these Alaska vision trips in order to maximize the experience. And we have about four or five spots remaining on the Sept 10 – 13 trip. You’ll spend a few days with me and a small group of peers. OH, and it’s free (you just have to get to Anchorage). Please feel free to reach out to me ( with any question you might have. Or, get info and register here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Get a Vision for Missions in Alaska

Join Marko and PPM as we explore what healthy short-term missions look like in beautiful Alaska. This trip is intended for church leaders who are exploring a future mission trip for their group. You will have the opportunity to visit local churches and non-profit organizations that are serving those who call Alaska their home.

This trip has limited availability, with 8 spots available (limit 1 leader per church/organization). The costs of this trip are sponsored by The Youth Cartel and Praying Pelican Missions, making it at no cost to you. There is a refundable registration fee of $100 to reserve your spot that will be returned to you after the trip.

This leader trip includes all ministry visits, lodging (at local churches), meals, transportation, staffing, and pre-trip prep. It does not include your flight to Anchorage, Alaska.

September 10-13, 2022 ($100 refundable registration)   

Learn More

Posted on Leave a comment

Help Your Teens with Deeper Questions

Teenagers are smart and insightful, full of joy, doubts, worries, hope, great ideas, generosity, and questions. Their questions about the world and about God are as complex as they are, and they don’t settle for easy answers. That’s why we created this devotional and curriculum, which addresses the things teens often wonder about faith and life.

These will both be releasing August 1st, but we are running a pre-release special with extra savings. 

  • Deeper Questions Curriculum, Volume 1: The Bible
    Deeper Questions Curriculum, Volume 1: The Bible
  • What Do I Believe About What I Believe: A Deeper Questions Devotional
    What Do I Believe About What I Believe: A Deeper Questions Devotional
Posted on Leave a comment

Summer Reading for Youth Workers

Summer is here! Summer camp, beach days, and camping trips give you extra time to dive into a good book. We’ve got your next great summer read right here. These books will help you think about youth ministry in some new ways. We’ve got you covered with theology, church life, and what the future could hold. 

  • A Faith of Their Own: A Theological Field Guide for Youth Ministry
    A Faith of Their Own: A Theological Field Guide for Youth Ministry
  • 5 Views on the Future of Youth Ministry: Perspectives on What Could or Should Be
    5 Views on the Future of Youth Ministry: Perspectives on What Could or Should Be
  • Being Young: A Biblical Theology of Youth
    Being Young: A Biblical Theology of Youth
  • Called: A Novel About Youth Ministry Transition
    Called: A Novel About Youth Ministry Transition
Posted on Leave a comment

Introducing: Stir

Help stir the faith imagination of your students. Stir is designed for youth workers to lead, not follow by using different elements centered around a common theme and the leader decides which elements to use to create their lesson. Stir can be used for sermons, bible studies, retreats, camps, and more.

Each volume contains three lessons. Each lesson has three sections: Head, Heart, and Hands. Teaching elements include videos, discussion questions, sermon helps, activities, and more.

Use code “stir” when you purchase both and save $10!

  • Stir: Humans
    Stir: Humans
  • Stir: Creation
    Stir: Creation
Posted on Leave a comment

Youth Ministry Coaching for You

You’ve heard us talk before about the Youth Ministry Coaching Program and the benefits we’ve built into the program. We make sure each cohort has a plan and goals laid out, but God always shows up in ways we could never have planned. These stories tell the actual experience you get from YMCP:

YMCP had a major impact on me. Covid took away so much, especially from my ministry and spiritual needs. Getting together with my cohort kept me focused and grounded. I was afraid to join this program, knowing I would be the only Black woman, but I learned we are all one in the spirit, all loving kids and God.
Natalie Young

YMCP provided a space for me to acknowledge the depth of my need, confront my fears, and begin to move forward in a new season of life and ministry. It was hard, and at times it hurt, but it was beautiful.
Kyle Holder

Being a part of the Women in Youth Ministry Cohort was a life-changing experience for me. As a veteran youth minister, it breathed new life into my ministry, empowered me to make significant changes in my personal and vocational life, and gifted me with connections to others in youth ministry that I will always treasure. 
Sharon Hilliard

As a young youth minister, I lacked confidence, and I felt like I had little sense of direction for my ministry and my personal vocation. YMCP provided me with community, support, and the training that I needed to thrive in youth ministry. Our youth ministry now operates from a values-based approach to lead students to Jesus. 
C.J. Lord

We’d love to have you join one of our YMCP cohorts and connect with a community of youth workers who will walk with you as you focus on your personal growth, your skills as a  youth worker, and the impact on the ministry you work with.

Cohorts are currently forming across the country: 
Level 1 in Denver, Dallas / Fort Worth, Orlando, Atlanta, Northern Indiana

Level 2 in Northern Indiana, Virginia, and North Carolina

We also have unique cohorts for Women in Youth Ministry, one in partnership with Fuller Youth Institute / Tenx10 in San Diego, and an Online Only group. 

To learn more details about each cohort, visit our coaching page

Posted on Leave a comment

Total Family Ministry

This huge collection of digital resources is designed to help strengthen the families in your church from David and Kathy Lynn.

The hundreds of resources included could be used in many ways. Here are some of the directions you could go:

Parenting Faith
Empower, equip, and encourage parents to be more intentional about passing on their Christian faith to their children, including teenagers, by practicing the Five Faith Promises.

• Grandparenting Faith
Implement an effective grandparenting faith ministry …get an initiative going and growing that helps grandparents pass on their Christian faith to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

• Faith Make-n-Takes
Six quick and easy cross†generational activities that families can create in the church building to use at home. Your youth lead these activities.

• MarriagEnergizers
A MarriagEnergizers ministry provides you with resources to strengthen marriages in Christ. Your youth can partner with a married couple as they encourage couples in their marriage.

• Families Together
A monthly gathering of families (excluding December and July), including singles and seniors, who play, pray, grow, and serve together. Youth lead all the family sessions.

Get Total Family Ministry today to make supporting the families in your church easier.

  • Total Family Ministry
    Total Family Ministry
Posted on 1 Comment

Mumblr — free screen game

Marko here. I found a simple little screen game I created a few years ago and played it with my small group last night. Nothing fancy. I called it Mumblr; the goal is simply for students to phonetically say the phrases on the screen and try to shout out the correct answer. Feel free to make it your own, design-wise and/or content-wise.

The Powerpoint and a PDF version are here in this dropbox folder:

Posted on Leave a comment

Youth Worker Coaching Cohorts Actively Filling

The Youth Cartel believes that a healthy, vibrant youth ministry needs a healthy, vibrant youth worker. To that end, we developed the Youth Ministry Coaching Program to stretch your thinking and help you grow as a whole person. With more than 650 graduates, mostly in cohorts of 10 people, we’ve seen amazing transformation, both at a personal level and in the practice of this amazing calling to teenagers.

We are currently working to fill the following cohorts. Reach out directly to me (marko at theyouthcartel dot com) if you would like more info. Or go to the coaching page to download an overview brochure.

Women’s cohort (Level 1, hybrid cohort with 2 in-person meetings and 4 online meetings)

Denver (Level 1)

Dallas/Fort Worth (Level 1)

Northern IN (Level 1 and Level 2)

North GA UMC (Level 1, open to Methodist youth workers in the North GA Conf)

Northern VA (Level 2)

Charlotte (Level 2)

TENx10 San Diego (This cohort, in partnership with the Fuller Youth Institute, combines The Youth Cartel’s form with training content from FYI)