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You’re just getting started

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of college athletics.

At the gooey center of every college team is the coach. The college coach is far more important to the success of the program than at the professional level. For example, he/she sets the tone for everything from recruiting to player development to academic support to nutrician to training to recruiting and, most visibly, to performance on the field. Really good ones are also involved in fundraising, masterminding the press, and scheduling.

Continue reading You’re just getting started

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Lead Like a Girl?

Were you as intrigued as I was by the Super Bowl commercial asking young people to run, throw, or fight like a girl?  Ultimately, the ad transformed a negative comment into an inspirational phrase.  It stirred up in me all kinds of memories about the challenges of gender when you find yourself in any arena mostly occupied and led by men – including, of course, the local church.  When I feel dinged by the idea of “leading like a girl” I must catch myself, and be inspired by these kinds of thoughts – I’d like to lead boldly like Esther, wisely like Deborah, and with a surrendered spirit like Mary!  I’m thrilled that all over the globe, women of all ages are turning upside down what it means to lead as a female in the church.

That’s why I jumped at the chance to join The Youth Cartel’s gathering for women in youth ministry.  It’s vitally important that women called to serve in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ – especially as leaders and communicators – come together for support and challenge.  We need to regularly connect with other women who will quickly “get us” and almost finish our sentences!  My journey as a leader in the church is impossible for me to imagine without some amazing women who walked with me, listened when I needed to vent, told me I wasn’t crazy, prayed for me, and reminded me I was not alone.

I look forward to being among courageous women who are forging their own pathways, and providing an opportunity for us to talk about ministry wounds and challenges in a safe environment.  How great is it that three women—April Diaz, Leneita Fix and Rachel Blom—had the vision for making this gathering a reality!  Together we will explore the practical side of navigating ministry life in what can sometimes feel like a boy’s club – how to do our work with grace, truth-telling, humor, and relational intelligence.  I can’t wait to see how God will work among us!

If I could say anything to women church leaders, I would want them to know that no matter how difficult your situation may sometimes be, you are not alone, and YOU ARE NEEDED IN THE KINGDOM!  The church won’t be as beautiful a bride unless BOTH men and women show up with all that God created them to be.  Let’s come together and ennoble one another with that truth.  I look forward to seeing you in April!  (and getting out of Chicago weather)

nancy-beach-featuredNancy Beach is a passionate champion and voice for leaders and artists in the local church. For over 20 years, she served as the Programming Director for Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago. Nancy was privileged to be one of the founders of that local church, also serving as a Senior Member on the Management Team and using her communication gifts as one of the Teaching Pastors.  She truly believes God is calling her to give back to emerging leaders, drawing from her experience, her strategic mind, and her intuitive heart.


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PSALM 40 Lament


Waiting. No one likes waiting. Maybe least of all me. I’ve waited for my entire life to see your Church reflect your heart to see men and women lead your people. Equally. With skillful hands and integrity of heart [Psalm 78:72].  I’ve waited for your Church to wake up and get it that we have as much to contribute to the Kingdom as men do! I wish your Word was painfully clear about our contribution equality!

Too many times I’ve seen women in the pit of despair because they have not been allowed to use their voice, their gifts, their experiences, their very calling to build the Kingdom. You have not stopped them from leading and teaching, Lord; your people have.

My sisters and I have cried when we’ve been told “no”, “be quiet”, “this is not your place”. We need your rescue, God. We desperately need you to bring good news in places where we are pushed down, snuffed out, and negotiated around. Your Kingdom suffers when we are relegated to roles and ministries and places where we are not gifted or passionate. How long?

Our circumstances may not change, our culture may never fully reflect your heart for your Church, but you never change. You are solid and steady and trustworthy. When your Church may fail me, I can still be amazed by who you are. I will find my hope in who you are, not in an outcome – a promotion or a platform or power. I will receive a new song that you give me and sing to the rooftops of who you are and what you’ve done.  I will serve you fully and contribute my best to your Kingdom, even in the midst of broken systems and unjust theology. Give me the courage I need to be faithful today.

How long will we sing this song? When I grieve for what your Church is not yet, I must remember that you are a God of justice and have called ordinary people like me to bring justice on earth as it is in heaven [Matthew 5:10]. Help me not be afraid to speak out and speak for those who do not have a voice.

You have written your calling upon my heart and I will not forsake you. I will take joy in following you no matter what anyone else says.  Help me listen to you more and more and follow you obediently. Thank you for my calling, even if it’s not honored among others.

Ready to gather with fellow women in youth ministry? Join us for the first ever Women in Youth Ministry Campference. Learn more here


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A Cartel Approved Senior Prank


Let’s face it. Most senior pranks are dumb. Some toilet paper or some duct tape.

But some seniors at Santa Barbara High School win the award for this year’s most creative senior prank. They hired a mariachi band to follow principle John Becchio everywhere he went, starting at 7:30 AM.




That’s how you pull off a senior prank.

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The power of vulnerability

I think this TED talk is so personal and so important for us in ministry.

Imagine how powerful it would be if our students discovered that in Christ, we can:
– love with our whole hearts
– allow ourselves to be deeply seen
– to practice gratitude and joy
– I am enough

Imagine the power of our ministry if we could create space that wreaked of “you are worthy of love and belonging.”

Heads up: There’s a cuss word at about the 13 minute mark.

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The Power of Love

There’s something so sweet and special about an elderly man who spends 30 hours per week waving at commuters and saying, “I love you.” In a world where so few people hear those words on a daily basis you also have to admire a man willing to stand there and remind them that they are loved.

Keep waving, Johnny!

Good News makes people smile.

Read more about Johnny Barnes here. Of course you can also find him on Facebook. You can also learn more about this project from its maker, Matt Morris.