A few years ago, I became the volunteer youth minister at the People’s Church at Oak Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama. I don’t remember anyone asking me to be the youth minister. I took our nine students to camp and they started telling people I was their youth minister. Let me be honest: I loved it! God has led me away from Birmingham, but I learned so much about youth ministry at the People’s Church, I wanted to share it.

I’ve been involved in youth ministry for almost 30 years. I’ve served as a full-time youth minister, a part-time youth minister, and a volunteer to help in a youth ministry. I’ve been in little churches and big churches. I have served as a consultant in youth ministry. I just finished a Ph.D. in Christian Education with an emphasis in youth ministry. But, I don’t know when I’ve had more fun than being a volunteer youth minister to the students at the new church I belong to now.

Whether you are a college student who is serving part-time in a church near campus, a bi-vocational youth minister, or a parent of teens who wants to make sure the church is offering something great to your kids, youth ministry in a small church has some unique challenges . . . and some unique opportunities. My hope is that SmallYouthGroup.com will become a helpful tool to you in sharpening your ministry.

Who am I? I came to know Christ as a teenager because a youth group cared enough to involve me. After attending Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I worked full-time as a youth minister for 10 years in churches in Illinois and Texas. I served as a Youth Consultant in discipleship, a Design Editor, and Editor-in-Chief for discipleship resources for students at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. I led the development of Student Life Bible Study as the Vice President for Publishing at Student Life/Clarity Publishers in Birmingham.

I have just been invited to join the faculty at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California and will begin my duties there in August. I love teenagers and long to see them fall in love with Jesus.

My hope in developing this site is to create a community of youth leaders serving with small youth groups. I believe there is much we can learn from each other. If you would like to contact me with ideas for this site or with questions about ministry, please email me.

Paul Kelly