Youth Ministry

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.”— Deuteronomy 6:7

At CDM, we are passionate about equipping churches to disciple the next generation. Because we understand, “students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care,”  we believe that discipleship with teens is a highly relational transference of faith between students and adults that will impact the world for generations. Youth Ministry doesn’t just minister to students. Parents are also in need of resources and equipping to help them teach their children “as they talk..walk…lie down and rise” in an ever changing world.

Teens today are deluged with information, harried with activities, isolated in social media, and in desperate need of a Biblical Worldview. The Gospel & our theology don’t change, but if we are going to effectively communicate the Truth in a world that can be hostile to our faith, the church must continually evaluate our methods.What worked yesterday, may not today. That’s why it so important that we connect with others within the PCA to discover —what’s working and what’ s not? Combining our resources as a denomination is a key part of communicating in a way that equips and encourages teens and their parents.

We have recently assembled a panel of Youth Ministry experts, and are in the process of developing a strategy for addressing some of the specific needs of this vital ministry. Check back here for updates.


We will help you find the answers to your questions about Youth Ministry. Feel free to call or e-mail us and tell us about your church. At CDM, we are committed to helping you find the answers you need. Here are some we frequently hear:

Once you recruit volunteers, you don’t want to loose them! Here are 3 strategies to help keep your volunteers engaged:

  • Prepare Leaders–Young leaders may need to be prepared to disciple students with a knowledge of theology and the Bible. Older leaders may need to be equipped with terminology, social media, and cultural trends. Whether your leaders are young or old, it is important to offer them the training they need to be effective.
  • Clearly Communicate Purpose–Leaders need to see how their contribution fits into the larger purpose of the ministry. It’s important to connect how cleaning up after a lock-in or showing up week after week for students who aren’t as committed, serves the Body of Christ and has an eternal impact. Remind them, and encourage them by pointing out how their sacrifice is an example of Christ to students.
  • Appreciate Leaders–Young children are easily affectionate, teens are not. You can’t depend on the youth to be appreciative on their own. You need to equip them to tell their leaders thank you, and you need to equip their parents too, but appreciating leaders should also be a church-wide affair. Regularly put appreciating leaders on your church’s calendar. Say thank you from the pulpit, and make sure your leaders know how vital they are to being the hands and feet of Christ in your church!

The answer to this question is…maybe.  Some churches do so for practical reasons.  Either the youth group is too large to function well when combined or the church does not have the enough adults volunteers or space to run a combined youth ministry.

Determining the pros and cons of splitting your youth group before making the decision can be helpful.  These can range from the effect on parents with both junior and senior high children to the effectiveness of teaching when the students are combined.  By doing this, some churches have come up with a “third way” where the groups are together for part of the youth group and separated for other portions.

Having a thought out response to why your youth program is combined for those parents who are worried that their junior high students are too young to be with the senior high students  or to why you are not combined for those parents who are frustrated by having to make two trips to the church to drop off their children for different youth groups can be helpful in preventing in any potential conflict.

The best place to find out about good camps and conferences is to contact other churches in your presbytery.  That way you can get first hand recommendations from other youth programs in your area. There aren’t many PCA opportunities in some parts of the country, so as you evaluate the different camps look for:

  • Camps that will support the inerrancy of Scripture and the Gospel
  • Camps with a purpose that will give students the opportunity to serve, lead, or share in a meaningful way
  • Camps that will allow your group time to bond and develop deeper relationships

Here are some camps that are worth considering:

  • RUSHa student led conference for middle and high school students in Atlanta, GA
  • EDGE–a junior high conference at Covenant College near Chattanooga, TN
  • RYMfor middle and high school Reformed Youth Movement has conferences across the country
  • RIDGE HAVEN PCA camp for 3rd-12th graders in  Brevard, NC

Avoid the tendency to sacrifice biblical integrity in the name of relevance when deciding what curriculum to use in the youth ministry. Here are some we recommend:

We also have partnerships with churches, who have graciously offered to share the resources they have developed at no cost. Look for downloadable pages on our Youth Ministry Resources page.

Start with the mission and vision of the church and build out from there.  Creating a separate mission or vision for the youth ministry can lead to conflict within the church and confusion among the students.  Remember that more is not necessarily better in this case.  Keep it short. Keep it simple.  You want both your mission and vision to be easily remembered and easily communicated.  Currently, we are developing our Youth Ministry Free Resources. If you have resources you would be willing to share, please feel free to email us. 

Yes.  CDM connects your church to several networks of youth leaders.  CDM would love to help advise you in this process. There are many things to consider when you hire Youth Staff: salary, experience, education, & church responsibilities. Our team can help walk you through these considerations and come up with a strategy that will work for your church.

Youth Ministry can also be a high burnout vocation.  One of the top reasons for burnout is the underpaying the Youth Staff. People who work in youth ministry professionally are not expecting to get rich but they do need to be paid a fair wage for the responsibilities that they have been given, and the caliber of person you hire really is an investment in your church’s future. Here are some things to consider:

  • Looking for a ball park? Find out what a public school teacher in your area with comparable experience makes and use that as a starting place.
  • What is the scope and responsibilities of the job? Are you looking for an inexperienced, part-time, Youth Director or an established, experienced, ordained Youth Pastor?  As with any other profession, pay should reflect age, experience, and education of the candidate.
  • Would you be willing to take on the same responsibilities for the amount of money that you are offering?
  • Can our Youth Pastor and his family live in and participate socially in the community that our church is located in on this salary?

Yes.  CDM can connect you to churches. Send us your resume. One key to a successful Youth Ministry job search in the PCA is to cast your net as wide as possible.

The two best things that you can do are (1) pray for the Lord to raise up adults in your church to work with students and (2) ask people to become youth leaders.

Youth Ministry is highly relational. Teens want to be known, and they want leaders who will ask questions to draw them out instead of preaching at them. Working with youth is not for everyone, and that is why we don’t recommend a call for volunteers from the pulpit. Instead, prayerfully watch for those people that naturally connect with students, and then ask them directly to be a part of the Youth Ministry. Cast a vision for how God can use their investment of time and energy in the lives of students to bear eternal fruit.

CDM’s Youth Ministry Team’s Drew Lints headed The Gathering Youtube Page and a series of videos made my youth leaders from various churches across the PCA. You can see videos here and download the devotional here.

Visit our Youth Ministry Resources page, which includes resources on Creating a Youth Ministry, Training and Community, Curriculum, Culture and Important Issues, Resources for Parents, etc.


Matt Luchenbill

CDM’s Youth Ministry Team Facilitator & Pastor of Student and Family Ministries  at New City Presbyterian Church

Matt was born and raised in Michigan in a Christian home. While growing up, if the church doors were open the Luchenbill family was there. At about 12 years old he made a profession of faith. However, it wasn’t until about 16 that his faith became his own, as opposed to the faith he grew up with. It was after a Mission Trip to Mexico that he had the first idea of becoming a Youth Pastor. His desire was to see students impacted in the same way he was impacted on that trip.

After graduating from High School, Matt went to Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA. While at Covenant he began volunteering in the Youth Ministry at St. Elmo Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, TN. After a year, he became the part-time Youth Director. While in college he met and married his wife Michelle. He served at St. Elmo Pres. until graduation from college in 1998 with a major in Biblical Studies and a minor in Youth Ministry.

Since graduating from College in 1998, Matt has served as a Youth Director overseeing Jr. and Sr. High ministry in 3 different Presbyterian churches in Georgia and Virginia. In January of 2012, God called him to become the Jhi Pastor at Perimeter Church, just outside of Atlanta, GA. He finished his MDIV through Metro Atlanta Seminary and became a Pastor in 2014. In January 2019 he became the Pastor of Student and Family Ministries at New City Presbyterian in Royal Oak, MI.

Matt and his wife Michelle have 4 children. Andrew and Ashley are at Covenant College, Sarah is in High School, and Emily is in Middle School.

If you can find anything outdoors and sports related, Matt is all in. His favorite hobbies are backpacking, racing in Triathlons, Mountain Biking, and talking about or participating in just about any sport, especially football.

Steve Dallwig

Pastor of Family & Student Ministries, Chapelgate Presbyterian Church, Marriottsville, MD

Steve has a passion to see families connected to the church and growing in the gospel. Steve is a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary and CCEF (Christian Counseling Education Foundation) is married to his wife Cathy and they have 4 amazing sons. Steve enjoys sports, movies, reading, the beach and a good conversation over a cup of coffee.

Katie Goslin

Director of Youth Ministry, Severna Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Pasadena, MD

Katie Goslin is originally from the small textile town of Alexander City, Alabama. She graduated from Presbyterian College in 2009 with a degree in Christian Education and a minor in Youth Work. Prior to coming to SPEP, Katie resided in Greenville, SC where she worked as a Residential Life and Community Service Coordinator at a public boarding high school with an emphasis in the arts. Katie has served in Youth Ministry at SPEP since
December of 2015.

Matt Hedinger

Student Director, Old Cutler Presbyterian Church, Miami, FL

Danny Kwon

Director of Student and Family Ministry, Yuong Sang Church, Greater Philadelphia Area, PA

Danny Kwon has been serving 27 years in ministry, 25 years leading the familyand youth ministry at Yuong Sang Church. Along with his love for sports, eating,and making people laugh, he is married to Monica, a familyand marriage biblical counselor and professor, and has three children, who all survived his youth ministry. He completed his Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, with his dissertation focusing on innovation theoryand emerging intergenerational ministry paradigms. He is also speaker/trainer for The Youth Cartel, teaches as an adjunct professor at Eastern University and Covenant Seminary, and has authored three books “A Youth Worker’s Field Guide to Parents: Understanding Parents of Teenagers” and Mission Tripping: A Comprehensive Guide to Short Term Missions (Book and Team Journal)

Tim Malone

Director of Family Ministries, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Landenberg, PA

Tim is the Director of Family Ministries at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church. He grew up in the best neighborhood in the world in a small development in Ellicott City, MD. He has and always will love sports of all kinds, especially those played in the backyard. Tim graduated from Towson University with a degree in Physical Education, and taught school for several years before accepting a full-time calling in ministry with Cornerstone in 2002.

Tim married up, to the incredible Julie Dallwig, and they have four amazing, beautiful and sometimes silly daughters. Tim also has a MA degree from Westminster Seminary in Biblical Counseling. He enjoys working with the teens and people at Cornerstone, struggling together to love God and love others!

Mikey Puckett

Pastor, Student Ministry Director, Seven Rivers Church, Lecanto, FL
Mikey graduated from Covenant Seminary with an MDiv. and has served for 10 years in youth ministry. He and his wife, Emily, have two sons, Tripp and Luke. Mikey is passionate about seeing students experience God’s love.

Brett Stokes

Dublin, OH

Brett’ss desire is that students and families would have a genuine love for God, a desire to grow in grace, and a heart to impact the world through the power of the gospel and guidance of the Holy Spirit. He graduated from Calvary Chapel Bible College and is currently working on his Masters of Divinity at Knox Theological Seminary. Brett and his wife, Kelsea, have a son named Hayden and daughter named Avery. He and his family moved to Dublin in March 2019. During his free time, Brett enjoys watching sports, reading, eating green chile (on anything) and being outdoors.

Isaac Terwilleger

Associate Pastor, Youth & Family, Grace Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, NE

Isaac loves having a front-row seat to what God is doing in the lives of youth. Born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa, he professed faith in Jesus Christ at the age of 4 at his church’s VBS. In 8th grade, thanks to the mentorship of a seminary intern at his church, he was called to youth ministry and still considers himself a “lifer” in youth ministry. He graduated from Bethel University, in St Paul, Minnesota, in 2000, with degrees in Youth Ministries and Biblical and Theological Studies. While at Bethel, he interned as an assistant chaplain in the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center and then as the junior high youth guy at the church he would go on to serve as the Director of Youth Ministries upon graduation. He served as the Director of Youth Ministries at Presbyterian Church of the Way, in Shoreview, Minnesota, from 2000-2001, and then served as the Director of Youth Ministries at First United Presbyterian Church, in Moline, Illinois, from 2001-2014. In 2014, Isaac moved to St Louis, to finish his Masters of Divinity at Covenant Seminary, where he graduated in 2017. In 2017, he and his family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he serves as the Associate Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries.

Isaac is passionate about helping youth ministry leaders and churches to create cultures of longevity and discipleship within their youth ministries. He is excited to serve on this team to network with others who are passionate about Christ, the church, and youth ministry, as well as, help train and equip those in the trenches of youth ministry.