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What Your Youth Pastor Wants to Talk About with Jeremy MacDonald

Thanks for joining in for this week’s unSeminary podcast.  This time we have Jeremy MacDonald, part of the leadership team at Connexus Church just north of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

Today we’re diving into the area around student ministry and what Jeremy would say to pastors looking for advice regarding youth and student ministry.

  • Coaching for leadership. // One thing Jeremy recommends is that youth pastors ask the person who they report to for coaching that will help them to be a better leader and not just a better employee. If a supervisor is having a difficult conversation with you, lean into it because these can be opportunities to help you develop in your own leadership. When you receive constructive criticism as an opportunity to grow, you realize you and your supervisor are on the same team and they believe that you have the potential to do and be more. If you are the supervisor, help those you are coaching to see the bigger picture and understand the why behind certain responsibilities.
  • Encourage the youth pastor’s role. // If you’re coaching your youth pastor to be a better leader and not just a better employee, then you should affirm to them that they are an expert in their field. Have the youth pastor keep track of how the ministry is doing, where the numbers are at, and what are the goals for the coming year, and invite the youth pastor to present the numbers and thoughts to you. This affirms the role that the youth pastor plays for the church and encourages them to take their role more seriously.
  • Brag about your team. // A tip for all leaders is to brag about your team behind their backs, and this includes the coaches for youth pastors. When you as a leader brag about the good things that your team is doing, it draws those people closer to you. And once you have that equity built up with your youth pastor, allow that to lead into presenting ideas on how they could do something better next time as a way of teaching and coaching into the next steps.
  • Be clear about the goals. // Be clear about what the goal is for your ministry and church. You want a youth pastor that will draw in more youth, but you also want to ask hard questions of how is this person equipping the saints for ministry? If you give enough free stuff away students will show up, but is the youth pastor actually passing God’s Word on to them?
  • Youth Ministry Team Podcast. // Jeremy has been working on a resource to help church leaders and youth teams, the Youth Ministry Team Podcast. The podcast gives training on practical parts of leading youth ministry teams, such as how to have a conversation with a new student or figuring out how to have a really good prayer time with your small group.

You can learn more about Connexus Church at their website and the Youth Ministry Team Podcast at

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Lightning Round

Something You Wish They Taught // How to talk on the phone and write emails!

Influential Book // 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

Downloadable Resource //

Contact // Connexus Church at

Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Slingshot Group


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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.