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Youth Ministry Leaders

Detailed information about the 2021 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2020 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2021 Forum's Networks. 

2020 European Youth Ministry Leaders Network

Sometimes youth ministry is viewed as a non-essential “add on,” a place to serve when one is too young to do anything else or too experienced to move into “real ministry.”  However, the data would tell us that just the opposite should be true.  Ninety percent of believers put their trust in Christ before their 21st birthday.  Strong youth ministry is essential if we want to reach Europe again for Christ.

A high percentage of Christian workers receive their call into ministry while they are still young.  Young people are more teachable, more easily motivated and mobilised, and still have most of their key life decisions before them.  Teaching them to reach their peers and make disciples can prepare a new generation of leaders for the church.

In spite of this, most youth leaders have no specific training on how to effectively lead their local youth ministry.  Learning a philosophy of ministry based on the life of Christ and drawing from the experiences of others who are effective in a European context can powerfully increase their effectiveness.  Quality preparation can also keep them from becoming discouraged or burned out.

The aim of the Youth Ministry Leaders Network is to lay a strong base in youth ministry philosophy from the life of Christ, as well as teach strategies that are bearing significant fruit in a European context.  The participant will walk away with a deeper understanding of what makes a disciple-making youth ministry, as well as have specific tools that can be immediately applied to their setting.  

This year's programme will include lecture options for the whole group and 4 small cohort sessions divided by ministry stage.  The small cohorts will use "Walk 2/6”, a special course designed to equip youth leaders to build disciple making youth ministries following the model of Jesus.  Participants from previous years are encouraged to return and choose a different ministry stage as well as different seminars to keep deepening their youth ministry skills. 

Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.



Dave Patty is the founder and president of Josiah Venture, an organisation focused on training next-generation leaders in 11 countries of Eastern Europe. He dreams of a movement of God among young people in Eastern Europe, one that finds its home in the local church and which transforms society. He lives with his wife Connie and three children in Frydlant, Czech Republic.  He holds a BA in Theology and a MA in Education. He has lived and served in Europe for the past 25 years. Before moving to the Czech Republic he ministered to youth in Germany with Cadence International.


Terry English is the Vice President of strategy and training for Josiah Venture. As such he oversees the creation and rollout of ministry team and disciple making resources throughout Central and Eastern Europe, and also oversees evangelistic ministries and tools currently being used by over 400 churches. Prior to moving to the Czech Republic 20 years ago, he also worked with youth and student outreach ministries in the USA, UK, and Norway. While his focus is now on training local churches, he also continues to work with a local youth ministry in the Czech Republic so that he can keep his finger on the pulse of current trends in youth culture, and has recently helped his local church plant a new expression of church in Ostrava.



Paul Bowman has 20 years of experience in full-time youth ministry in the local church. He has served in a variety of settings throughout Ireland – both urban and rural – working with churched and unchurched young people. He is passionate about developing youth ministries that are rooted in the life of Christ, making disciples, and focusing on development of the whole person. He has been leading teams of young people on short-term mission trips to the Czech Republic for 15 years. He is committed to training and equipping the next generation of youth leaders.  He lives with his wife Val and their three children in Saintfield, Northern Ireland.  He holds a BSc Hons in Community Youth Work and is currently studying for a Masters in Transformational Leadership.

Zala Cempre was born and raised in Slovenia. Currently, she serves as a high school leader in the local church in Ljubljana. There, she disciples girls and leads and trains a group of volunteers. On a national level, she leads a 2-year discipleship program for college students and serves as a director of evangelical camps. She loves to take students on short-term mission trips to former Yugoslavian countries where they serve the needs of the local churches. Zala holds a Bachelor degree in Management and Master’s in international business. She is currently working on a Leadership Coaching certificate.


Denisa Harčarová is the director of the School of Leaders, the discipleship programme run by Training Centre Kompas in Slovakia. She was called to serve God when she was 17, and since then her biggest passion has been to make disciples who make disciples. Together with her husband Daniel, she serves in their local church in the ministry focused on families and leads three small groups - one focused on couples and two focused on single girls and boys. She received her master's degree in mathematics and English language and literature and a year later she received her PhD in didactics of mathematics at Charles University in Prague.

Jakub Vejmelka has led a small church youth ministry in his home town for 7 years, and also serves as an elder in the local church. During this time he has been convicted of the strategic importance of equipping and supporting leaders who are called into ministry. He is passionate about creating opportunities for young people to be challenged and grow in a healthy environment. For the last two years, he has been serving in Josiah Venture in the Czech Republic where he leads the training department. He and his wife Monika live in Brno, Czech Republic, have been married for over three years and are currently expecting their first child in April 2020.

Kristy Williams has 12 years of experience as a full-time missionary in the context of youth ministry and leadership training. She has been serving primarily in Ukraine, although her love for training youth leaders also leads her to different opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe with her missionary organisation, Josiah Venture.  Kristy is passionate about disciple-making and teaching leadership principles to youth leaders. She also develops ministries to public schools that help local churches build relationships with the teenagers and teachers in their neighborhood schools. Kristy and her husband, Ben, live in Lviv, Ukraine with their two school-aged children. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance, a Master’s of Business Administration, an MA in Global Leadership, and is currently working on a PhD in Organisational Leadership.



Day 1

The Jesus Model: How Simple Principles from the Life of Christ Can Transform Your Ministry
Terry English

Since youth culture is a constantly moving target, those who work with young people are often looking for something “new”.  What are the latest trends, how do we capture young people’s attention, what will make our programmes attractive and contemporary?  While there is nothing wrong with being trendy, the most profound insights about youth ministry are actually very “old”.  We forget that Christianity began as a youth movement. Many of Jesus’ disciples were teenagers when he called them.  How did his youth group launch a movement that changed the world?  If Jesus were to teach us how to lead an effective youth ministry today, what would he say? 

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
Kristy Williams

What it takes to start a youth ministry is very different from what it takes to grow one or what is needed to expand its impact after it is healthy.  Youth ministries follow certain patterns of development, and require a shift in focus from the leader at each stage.  Not understanding these stages can create barriers to growth, since a youth leader will often not naturally concentrate on the right things.  Looking at development of Christ’s ministry, how do we understand these stages, and how do we lead our youth group through them?


Day 2

Walk 2/6 Small Groups: Mission, Foundations, Expansions, and Multiplication
Paul Bowman, Zala Cempre, Terry English, Denisa Harčarová , Jakub Vejmelka, Kristy Williams, & Dave Patty

On Day 2, participants will be divided into four groups depending on the stage each participant is at in the development of his or her ministry.  Each group will do a different session of “Walk 2/6”, a special course designed to equip youth leaders to build disciple making youth ministries following the model of Jesus.   In these smaller units participants will look deeper into the life of Christ and directly apply what they see to their youth ministry, evaluating their current situation and discovering their next steps.  This will happen under the leadership of one of the teaching team, all of whom are experienced youth ministry coaches. Returning participants will be placed in a different track than they were previously in, so they can continue to grow and stretch in their leadership skills.

At the beginning of each track time, there will be a short 10-minute talk on a key youth topic that participants can teach in their youth ministry.


Day 3

In the first session, participants can choose from one of the following moderated breakout discussion and group brainstorms

  • Summer ministry in light of the Covid-19 reality
  • Problems as opportunities - making lemonade when life gives you lemons
  • Using online and social media opportunities in ministry
  • Equipping young people to share the gospel with their peers
Walk 2/6 Small Groups: Mission, Foundations, Expansions, and Multiplication
Paul Bowman, Zala Cempre, Terry English, Denisa Harčarová , Jakub Vejmelka, Kristy Williams, & Dave Patty

Cohorts will continue to discuss Walk 2/6


Day 4

In the first session, participants can choose from the following two talks.

Pastoral Care for Young People: The Issues Teens Are Dealing With and How to Respond
Paul Bowman

The shape of our society tomorrow will depend to a large extent on how we relate to and care for our young people today. So what do young people really need? How can we ensure that our youth ministries are caring for the whole person? What mistakes are frequently made? This session will explore the areas in a young person's life where pastoral care is needed and provide insight on the qualities that we as leaders need to demonstrate if we are to effectively provide pastoral care.

How To Develop and Lead a Team of Young Leaders
Jakub Vejmelka

Leading any team is challenging and every group has its own specific dynamic. Having young people in a team brings new opportunities as well as specific threats. This workshop will examine how to build on the strengths of such teams, including  how to communicate, give feedback and motivate young leaders, enabling you to develop and lead a healthy team of young leaders.


Walk 2/6 Small Groups: Mission, Foundations, Expansions, and Multiplication
Paul Bowman, Zala Cempre, Terry English, Denisa Harčarová , Jakub Vejmelka, Kristy Williams, & Dave Patty

Cohorts will continue to discuss Walk 2/6.


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