NYI Talk

NYI Talk uses interview-style videos and questions to challenge individuals and teams to reflect on their ministries. We invite you to use NYI Talk in meetings, during retreats, or on your own. Take time to explore how this leadership development tool may be used in your local context.


Talking About Race - Stretch Dean

Stretch Dean, Eastern Field Youth Coordinator, speaks honestly about the role the church should play in larger conversations around race.

  1. How does the unique origin of the name “Nazarene” influence the identity of your ministry?
  2. How can you better recognize the value of diversity in the youth ministry you lead?
  3. What can you do to build bridges of racial reconciliation in your context?

Students with No Church Background - Matt Dennis

Matt Dennis, Youth Pastor at Turning Leaf Community Church in Phoenix, provides his perspective on incorporating new students into a youth ministry.

  1. How do you help students understand the purpose behind the practices of the church?
  2. How do you balance your teaching between students who are new to the faith and students who are ready to go deeper?
  3. What resources do you share on a consistent basis with parents? What is one new resource you could begin providing parents with?

Building a Youth Ministry Team - Billy Buisman

Billy Buisman, Pastor of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for Spokane Valley Church of the Nazarene and District NYI President for the Northwest District, provides his perspective on the opportunities and challenges associated with building a youth ministry team.

  1. Have you and your ministry team ever defined why you do what you do? How might this shape aspects of ministry such as decision-making, conflict resolution, etc.?
  2. How good are you at relying on and trusting other people? What is one meaningful thing you can pass off to another leader?
  3. How well do you honor the time of volunteer leaders? How much are you including them in the overall process of running the ministry?

What Students Are Searching For - Jourdan Suos

Jourdan Suos, Connections Pastor at Mosaic Christian Community in St. Paul, MN and District NYI President for the Prairie Lakes District, shares her thoughts on the deepest heart cries of students today.

  1. How do you show students they have value on a consistent basis?
  2. How have you responded to outside students’ curiosity about the Christian faith in the past? How can you better engage the questions of these students in the future?
  3. Is your ministry currently more attractional or missional? Why?

Equipping Parents to Disciple - Phil Starr

Phil Starr, Student Ministries Pastor at Lima Community Church in Lima, Ohio, shares his thoughts on how youth pastors and leaders can better involve parents in the life of youth ministry.

  1. How can you better invite parents into the space of your youth ministry?
  2. Do parents understand the vision of your youth ministry? Why or why not?
  3. How can you continue to reinforce the idea of doing ministry with families, not for families in your context?

Meeting Students Where They Are - Greg Wells

Greg Wells shares his thoughts on creative ways youth ministries can meet students where they are.

  1. How well does your youth ministry do at getting outside the four walls of the church building? 
  2. How aware are you or your team of the things your students are interested in or connected to? 
  3. What existing connection points (FCA, YMCA, etc.) can your youth ministry leverage to better meet students where they are?

Concerns of College Students - Blair Spindle

Blair Spindle discusses some of the observations he’s made over the course of years of ministry to college students. 

  1. What is the place of emotion in faith? How does your ministry help students establish consistent Christian practices and rhythms?
  2. How can you or your team differentiate between the “needs” and “wants” of students at every level (middle school, high school, college)?
  3. Do you agree with Blair on the importance of rest or Sabbath for students? What specific things get in the way of students developing patterns of rest?

Long-Term Investment in Students - Goose Ramos

Goose Ramos shares his story of faithfully investing in the life of a former student.

  1. How well do you handle relationships with students who seem to be making little to no spiritual progress?
  2. Do you agree with the statement, “It’s not our job to transform, but God will do it in His timing”?
  3. Are there former students you need to check up on or reach out to?

Youth Ministry & the Larger Church - Gary Young

Gary Young explores issues such as vision, giving youth a voice in the direction of the church, and empowering others to minister and love.

  1. How do you seek to support the vision of the Lead Pastor? Is your vision for youth ministry more like-minded or conflicting with the vision of the Lead Pastor?
  2. Do youth have a voice in the determining the future of your church? Why or why not? How can you as a leader help ensure the voice of the youth is heard?
  3. How are you empowering the people you serve to minister and to love? Do the youth in your church have a basic understanding of what it means to be the Church?

Sending Graduating Students - Matt Pollock

Matt Pollock explores what it means to send all students into the world as ambassadors of the kingdom of God.

  1. What intentional things are you doing to help students recognize a greater sense of belonging to the Church?
  2. How have you typically framed graduation for students? Does the idea of sending or commissioning graduating students challenge you?
  3. In what ways are you inspiring students to understand their future endeavors in light of the kingdom of God?

The Strength of a Team - Derek Whitten

Derek Whitten challenges youth pastors and leaders to leverage the strength of a youth ministry team.

  1. As a team, walk through each individual’s strengths and how they can be used to better and further your ministry.
  2. What are the most important roles you play as a youth pastor (teaching, relationship building, etc.)? What other roles are you holding on to that could be entrusted to other leaders?
  3. How do you help volunteers develop relationships with students that you don’t connect with?
  4. How can you work with your lead pastor to mentor and disciple adults that will pour back into students?

Listening to Young People - Marg Stahlbaum

Marg Stahlbaum, Canada Central District NYI President, challenges us to find new ways to listen to the young people in our ministries.

  1. How can you make students more comfortable expressing their view point about your teachings and practices?
  2. How do you respond to students that appropriately challenge your teachings and practices?
  3. What have you learned from engaging with students about the beliefs and practices of our faith?

One-on-One with Students - Billy Buisman

Northwest District NYI President, Billy Buisman, shares some of his thoughts about building one-on-one relationships and empowering students to take ownership in the larger church.

  1. Are you comfortable in one-on-one relationships? Why or why not?
  2. How have you structured your leadership team to make the most out of one-on-one interactions?
  3. How does your ministry foster or inhibit one-on-one relationships?
  4. What strengths do your students have that your whole church can benefit from?
  5. How can your church create opportunities for students to take on responsibilities outside of the youth ministry?

Prevenient Grace - Josh Kleinfeld

Josh Kleinfeld shares about the beauty of Prevenient Grace in youth ministry and how he goes about conveying the core beliefs of the Church of the Nazarene to students.

  1. Is the culture of your ministry optimistic? Why or why not?
  2. Are there relationships or situations in which the radical optimism of Prevenient Grace challenges you? 
  3. How can you weave the articles of faith into your preaching, teaching, small groups, and conversations?
  4. What can we do to express to youth that God’s desire for everyone is to be made right, made new, and made family?

Embracing Connectedness - Michael Pigg

Michael Pigg encourages us to think about technology in creative ways that can improve ministry to youth and their families.

  1. Is technology helpful or distracting in youth ministry? How so?
  2. How can you creatively eliminate distractions from youth ministry?
  3. How can we model and teach families to embrace connectedness and eliminate distractions?
  4. How are you communicating with parents about issues that are hot topics for their student?
  5. Does your ministry facilitate connection points between parents and students? Why or why not?

The Essence of the Church - Helen Thiessen

Canada Field Youth Coordinator, Helen Thiessen, challenges us to re-embrace the essence of the Church through community and authenticity. 

  1. How can you strive for excellence in ministry without selling out to flashy and produced elements?
  2. How do you make your messages/sermons conversational?
  3. How do you celebrate your community?

Including Youth - Ryan Wood

Ryan Wood, Canada West District NYI President, challenges us to consider how well we are including youth in the larger ministry of our churches.

  1. How do you encourage students to engage with the rest of the church?
  2. What are your priorities for the ministry inside and outside the youth group?


Authenticity with College Students - Blair Spindle

South Central Field Youth Coordinator, Blair Spindle, shares insights from his experience with college students as University Pastor at Southern Nazarene University. 

  1. In a world of fakeness and brokenness, how can you express authenticity in your ministry?
  2. In what ways are you displaying holiness in your own life?
  3. How can you be real, present, and concerned in every interaction with a student?
  4. What does it mean to build a good and beautiful community?

The Church Relating to Youth - Bob Keuther

Bob Keuther discusses the necessity of creating open dialogue around tough issues and intentionally maintaining connection with youth.

  1. Knowing that this generation seeks justice for all, in what ways is your ministry modeling the justice that Christ embodied?
  2. How do we share with students that Christ embodied justice while maintaining holiness and purity?

Reaching Students Today - Gordon Wong

Gordon Wong challenges leaders to build bridges and connect with students outside the walls of the church.

  1. How has your church sought to engage students in new ways?
  2. What resources do you need to help you think outside the box of the “old school” way of doing youth ministry?

Dealing with Questions of Identity & Doubt - Jason Buckwalter

Jason Buckwalter shares his thoughts on walking with students through questions of identity and doubt.

  1. How are you giving room for students to express big doubts they have about God and faith?
  2. How is your ministry shaping your students in the long run?
  3. How are you showing that a relationship with God is not a ‘transaction’ but a gift?
  4. What ways are you leading your students to serve in the church and surrounding community?

Discipleship in the Family - Josh Kleinfeld

Josh Kleinfeld explains his approach to equipping parents to take an active role in the discipleship of their students.

  1. In what ways are you equipping parents to lead their families in a Christ-like manner?
  2. Are you providing opportunities for families to serve in your church and surrounding community?
  3. How can you ensure that the mindset of your church is missional and others-focused?

Young People in Leadership - Marg Stahlbaum

Canada Central District NYI President, Marg Stahlbaum, highlights the value of involving young people in the leadership of the local church.

  1. How diverse is your church board and leadership in terms of age? How can you add more diversity?
  2. In what ways have you found yourself learning from the students in your ministry?

Advice for Youth Pastors & Parents - Phil Starr

Pastor of Student Ministries, Phil Starr, shares valuable advice that will help youth pastors and parents work together. 

  1. How can you make yourself more approachable to parents that express concerns to you?
  2. What ways have you allowed parents to assist you in being a part of the solutions to problems?
  3. Are you listening to the heart of the parent and the passion they have for their child?