Tag Archives: 30 years

Why I’m a Pastor and Still a YLO Member

By Jeremy White • Valley Church • Vacaville, California

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Once a youth pastor, always a youth pastor, right?

Regardless of whether a title changes as mine did a few years ago, I will always treasure my fifteen years in youth ministry as the formative years of my ministry life and calling. I am a better leader, teacher, mentor, and friend today because of the opportunities God afforded me through youth ministry. No matter what my current title may be, I simply cannot sever myself from my heart-connection to investing in youth.

Share this blog with your pastor, and get their approval to join YLO!

My relationship with interlínc and Youth Leaders Only began back in those early youth ministry days. A lover of music myself, I always had a deep sense of how powerfully music could be used to connect ideas to the hearts of human beings. Now in my sixth year as a Lead Pastor, I am still a member of YLO.

Why? Because, YLO is one of the great ministry tools out there. Although I’m not in the weekly trenches of youth ministry the way I once was, I see YLO as a blessing for numerous reasons. Some of those reasons include the following:

  • YLO blesses me with great current music. Every quarter, I get a box full of goodies, including hundreds of dollars worth of the latest and best stuff available in the Christian market. I benefit from it personally by the fresh new stuff, and I always have music on hand to give away as gifts.
  • YLO blesses me with great inspiration. Through the feature articles, artist interviews, online content and other tools, I am constantly reminded of the blessings and challenges of youth ministry. This helps me be a better lead pastor to my own youth pastor, and reminds me of how critical our student ministries are to the life of our church.
  • YLO blesses me with assistance. Even though I’m far less cool than I used to be, I’m still often asked to speak at youth camps, chapel services, graduations, and even once in awhile at our youth group when our youth pastor is desperate! With YLO in my toolbox, I can easily find help with prepping a great and relevant message targeted at the audience I’m speaking to.

There are numerous other reasons I love YLO, not the least of which is that over the years I’ve gotten to know the heart of the men and women who run this operation. They are youth workers themselves, they are ministry-minded to the core, and they truly desire to make your life easier as a teacher and communicator.

Are you a pastor?  You need YLO … click here to find out how to join

I’ve seen and even contributed to a lot of curriculum out there. YLO is so much more! It’s a culturally relevant, always up-to-date, Christ-honoring ,and truly helpful tool for doing youth ministry better. If you haven’t signed up, do yourself a favor and GO FOR IT!

The Future – YLO Anytime, Anywhere

STORY 30 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

The interlínc warehouse is a 5600 square-foot barn filled to the bursting point with CDs, DVDs, Bible study books, posters, artist standees, and old YLO boxes. It is literally a gold mine of youth ministry resources—just sitting there.

That was 100% true—until this year! Thanks to the “digital bookcase” (aka the “YLO music-media resource vault”) those resources are no longer stuck in a warehouse or stuck on a bookcase behind your desk. They are available to YLO Members 24/7 ready for you to use—What you want. When you want it. Where you want it!

ylo_ipadLooking for a song with a theme you are teaching on this weekend? Worship band need chord charts to learn new songs? Got a student struggling with depression? One of your students asks about a mainstream band that’s got a top 10 hit? Got a student who loves Lecrae’s music? Need a movie and study for a retreat movie night?

It’s all right there in the YLO Music-Media Vault! All YLO Members anywhere around the world have their own user name and password.

We would love to show you the future! Give us a call for a Test Drive of the new YLO!

I Need Something Other Than A Book To Give To My Grads

STORY 25 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

We have done over 50 music-based ministry projects: Centrifuge Camp Music Projects (1988-1992), More Than Gold (1996, 2000, 2002), Insiders Guide To High School (1999), Surviving Middle School, Fatherlove (1987), A Mother’s Love (1988), Pump’d Workout Music (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), Soundtraxx (for Assemblies of God Youth Sunday School Curriculum Companion), and tons more. This story told by our long time Team interlinc Member Chris Renzelman is probably our favorite.

“One day I was sitting at our church library table with two interns who both happened to be recent graduates. We began discussing the needs of students in the transitional season of life and what resources were available to them. We were actually looking for a graduation gift beyond the smorgasbord of book options we historically offered each senior. We hoped for something more culturally engaging that would encourage our grads along their path toward adulthood. I had benefited from the Jesus Movement music of the 70’s (Second Chapter of Acts, Love Song and others) and as well as the resources provided from my association with Word Records northwest field representative Jim Brady. As the three of us met that day in 1989 we wondered if such a collection of grad-theme related music might be compiled for use as a gift for graduating seniors. It was launched for the Class of 1990. The ConGRADulations! music-based graduation gift was born!”

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Music & Sports – A Winning Combo

STORY 24 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

There are not two more synergistic elements in student ministry than sports and music. Athletes listen to music all the time and want to be musicians. Musicians want to be athletes. Music is the “game before the game”. There is one thing that is true all the time before a game – the athlete is listening to his music. We have involved artists and their music on many projects Pump’d workout music FCA, a special edition of YLO53 (2003), More Than Gold music projects in over 100 countries with Major Sports Event Partnership (1996, 2000, 2002), and Athletes In Action World Cup Outreach 2010.

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DC TALK Talks About Billy Graham

STORY 23 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

We had enjoyed a strong relationship with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association dating back to EXPLO 72 the historic gathering of 85,000 Christians in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Our work in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s centered around collaboration with Scott Lenning and Gary Cobb who initially coordinated the youth ministry component of the work with the city-wide Graham Crusades. In 1992 Scott approached us with the idea, “I know that interlínc has a special relationship with DC TALK. Do you think that they would be willing to do a video that we can use to promote our Saturday night youth nights at the Crusades?” I took the idea to Toby, Michael and Kevin and their managers Dan Pitts and Laurie Anderson and they were up for doing the video entitled ‘DC TALK TALKS ABOUT BILLY GRAHAM’. Scott would write the copy from the Graham perspective and then Toby would translate it into pop-culture student-friendly language. The four sections of the video would be “Who is Billy Graham?” “What happens at a Billy Graham Crusade?” “Why should you get involved in a Billy Graham Crusade?” “How do you get involved in a Billy Graham Crusade?”

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Allen Weed (interlinc President), Dr. Graham, and DC TALK

The shoot was a very low budget two-camera shoot directed by Eric Wyse in Nashville. All was in place. The script had been written and “translated”. There was a problem though: the DC TALK boys had just finished a major TV appearance with Arsenio Hall where production was world class and now they walked into this shoot. Toby pulled me aside, “Bro, I don’t think this is going to work. It is going to turn out cheesy and not be good for Billy Graham, student ministry, or DC TALK.” Dan and I pulled together the three guys and somehow in that conversation God convinced Toby and all of us that He was in this idea and that we should move forward.

I can’t remember what happened in that meeting but I am so thankful that the Lord convinced Toby that we needed to move ahead. The shoot was full of DC TALK fun – one interesting insight, while all three guys obviously knew who Dr. Graham was, none had ever been to a Crusade!

graham_1Scott used that video in promoting “Youth Night” to over 5000 churches in crusade cities. Then the big one came from Scott and Rick Marshall who was in charge of the North American Crusade Ministry with BGEA. “The only way people know that our ‘Youth Night’ is a youth night is because we call it ‘Youth Night’. No young people are coming. We would like to do a real rock concert and have Dr. Graham speak at the end of the concert. Would DC TALK be open to doing the first of the new ‘Youth Nights’ with Michael W Smith at the Cleveland Crusade (June 1994)?”

That began an amazing approximately ten-year run of youth nights (Cleveland, Atlanta, Toronto, Sacramento, Minneapolis, Charlotte, San Antonio, Oakland, Ottawa, Tampa, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Fresno, Cincinnati, Dallas, San Diego, Oklahoma City, and maybe a couple more) that were historic in response to the Gospel.

Music, Media, and the Youth Room

STORY 13 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

The “Joyful Noise Room” was a very effective student-parent bridge builder strategy in my youth ministry in 1985. It was an innovative approach pioneered by Word Regional Promotion Staff Jim Brady and Doris Scott to connect students to quality music with a faith message and to allow parents to see the heart behind the music. We set it up like a library check out system right in our youth room area. We purchased 6 Walkmans and allowed students to listen to the music provided by YLO. Every time our doors were open there were students in that room. We had at least a hundred different titles. It was an instant hit! The students (especially those who were new in their faith journey) used it constantly. Soul work was done…countless lives were changed.

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Monty Hipp and Jim Brady Joyful Noise Room Yakima WA 1985

The “Joyful Noise Room” was a bridge builder in my youth ministry in 1985-86. It was an innovative approach pioneered by Word Regional Promotion Staff Jim Brady and Doris Scott to connect students to quality music with a faith message, and to allow parents to see the heart behind the music. We set it up like a library check out system right in our youth room area. We purchased six Walkmans (remember them?), and allowed students to listen to the music provided by YLO. Every time our doors were open there were students in that room. We had at least a hundred different titles to start in our “Joyful Noise Room.” It was an instant hit! The students (especially those who were new in their faith journey) used it constantly. Also, in that era, Christian music was introducing a new style of music that many parents were hesitant about. The combination of the material provided through YLO and the Bible studies that corresponded with the band was profoundly impactful.


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As a result of that innovative approach, we never had little difficulty with parents be use they could listen to the music with their kids, and work through the Bible studies with them as well. We often would have parents come check out new bands their kids were talking about to be able to say they knew their music and much about the band. This also set the course for us having bands like Petra, Mylon LeFevre, WhiteHeart, DeGarmo & Key, come do concerts in our town and opened the door for many youth to connect to a message of Christ that would have never done so.

The “Joyful Noise Room” model grew and we saw scores of youth ministries pick up on this idea. As a result, in our region of the country Christian music festivals exploded and our group was always the largest attending group. I am positive that because of the “Joyful Noise Room” model, our parents felt confident that they knew what their kids were going to experience. It truly is one of the highlights of youth ministry programming strategies that really worked for building relationships with the youth and their parents. Soul work was done through a music lending library that changed countless lives. I will always be grateful to Jim, Doris, and Allen for their part in helping me build an effective ministry by utilizing music. Monty L. Hipp, Founder CompleMentor, Youth Pastor The Stone Church, Yakima, WA (1985)

Team interlínc

STORY 9 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

Team interlínc is the largest creative collective of youthworkers, artists, worship leaders, film makers, record and book company peeps, and other creative types committed to the effective development and use of popular media to reach the 8-18 age group students with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Over 5000 strong, from every major denominational and parachurch ministry in the US and from over 25 countries, Team interlínc equips “in the trenches” youthworkers to use music-media effectively in ministry.

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The interlinc staff in 1999

When I first started editing the materials that make Youth Leaders Only way more than a music club, I learned something that may surprise you: most youth leaders are lousy writers.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Most youth leaders are gifted communicators. We are a creative lot, and value effectiveness, energy, and enthusiasm over stuffy, plodding, and grammatically correct. Our untamable and boundless creativity is one reason we are good at what we do. Just don’t expect us to be excellent writers.

So, I approached Allen
 Weed, the founder and head 
of interlínc, with an idea to
raise the written 
communication bar for our materials. I floated the idea of forming a smaller cadre of youth leaders who also happen to be pretty good writers, and leaning on them to help make Youth Leaders Only as good as it could be.

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Once a youth leader, always a youth leader …

That’s when the ‘WriteGroup’ was born.

Since then, the WriteGroup has functioned as I imagined it—and more. It has become interlinc’s premiere youth ministry “think tank”. As members of Team interlínc they have come up with far more ideas than we could ever implement. They have helped shape the direction that YLO has taken. The WriteGroup has collaborated to create an amazing body of effective youth ministry materials built around thousands of songs, videos and movies.

I’ve Never Heard Of These Guys

STORY 8 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

What in the world? Why is there a guy up on a stand yelling at me with a megaphone?

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Mark Pittman on the lifeguard stand at an interlinc booth

Loud, fun, energetic and relevant… that was my youth room every Wednesday night at Scottsdale Bible Church. We would joke about how anyone walking on campus would suddenly turn their head to the second story room when the door was opened. So for many of the students that were a part of that ministry, there was an energy level associated with youth ministry.

Now, if you’re going to try and help serve youth leaders, what better way to engage with them than to bring that same sort of energy to the conferences and events we would be sharing with them. That ideal gave birth to the lifeguard stand …

It started out as a simple idea. We needed to get an old-school big, heavy TV up to eye height … then if we built it strong enough we could put the speakers on top and play our music videos for all to hear. Then the evil thought crept in – what if someone sat up on top, and since it’s supposed to be a lifeguard stand, let’s let him have a megaphone?

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Remember “Psycho Santa”? (1997)

For the next few years we set it up, turned up the music, and some loudmouth sat up on top throwing fun and hilarious comments at anyone within megaphone range. The interlínc booth and lifeguard stand became a staple at most youth ministry conferences and many youth leaders would walk by and match wits with megaphone-man.

Ooozing All Over The Country

STORY 6 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

They’ve logged millions of miles to be with you at local network meetings, conferences, concerts, summer camps, D-Nows, and at the flagpole. Why? They’re committed to the same things you are: leading kids to Christ, making disciples, using music and media in the process. Big salute to the heroes of Word Regional Promotion and interlinc:

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Regional Director Meeting 1986 L-R Linda McDougall, Dave Bunker, Jim Brady, Dan Hickling, Allen Weed, Paul Rogers

The Word Regional Directors (1985-1986)

  • Brad Burkhart
  • Doris Purcelli Scott
  • Dan Hickling
  • David Bunker
  • Steve Miller
  • Paul Rogers
  • Jim Brady
  • Mike Clark
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Greg Ham, Denny Keitzman, Chris Renzelman with DC TALK Seattle 1992

The first interlinc Regional Team (1987-1990)

  • David Bunker
  • Jim Brady
  • Paul Rogers
  • Mike Clark

The interlinc Regional Team (1990-2015)

  • Chris Renzelman
  • Troy Hargrave
  • Mark Pittman

You guys ROCK!

ROCK’N U – Rick’s Wild Hair (Hare) Idea

STORY 21 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

Wild hare ideas are my friends. They seemingly show up out of nowhere and beckon you to chase them down a rabbit hole. ROCK’N U was one of those wild hare ideas.

Get the complete ROCK’N U kit when you join YLO!

As the Pastor of a church that, from the start, embraced fully modern (think Rock-based) music as our worship medium, seeing young people slouching around our tiny stage amongst the litter of guitar cases, cords, pedals, and assorted sound gear was not unusual. But one day, surveying the wreckage, I realized a few undisputable facts:

  •  The medium of Rock Music had won the day. The “worship wars” of the early ’90’s were over—guitars and amps were now as ubiquitous on most every church stage as pianos and organs once were.
  • Everyone pretty much liked music built on simple chord progressions and the verse/chorus/verse of Rock music. Even the old guys—the Baby Boomers—were raised on Rock music. As far as music goes, it was our native language.
  • For someone who likes to play rock music, getting all the backline gear (amps, monitors, mics, etc.) was an expensive proposition, especially if you were young and poor. But low and behold, there on every church stage was all that equipment sitting idle most of the week.
  • Finding a place to practice is a pain in the neck for amplified music, but here at church was a big hall ready to use 24/7 with no set up—or tear down needed in order to get the car back in the garage.
  • Every band wants to play for an audience as much as they can and they want their audience to want them to play. If they create original music, they want that to be celebrated. Playing to a crowd on Sunday morning that responds to each song is the ultimate home team audience.
  • A ton of kids want to play music but don’t have the skill, the mentors, the gear, or the opportunity to hone their craft, especially playing with others.

With those facts rumbling around in my head, it became apparent that the church was a rock musician’s best friend and we somehow needed to became a patron of this new opportunity to touch people via music.


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Thus, the idea of a weekend devoted to helping teens sharpen or discover their music skills, explore creativity, learn how to be part of a band, understand the sacredness of using the tool of music for Kingdom purposes ,and having fun was born and christened “ROCK’N U.”

That was over ten years ago. The idea has grown, mutated, replicated, spawned, and been a pipeline to send a whole bunch of young new musicians onto the stage on Sunday morning as well as being a terrific outreach tool in our community. (60% of those who come to our ROCK’N U weekend do not come from Christian families).

ROCK’N U has also animated our adult musical community, who quickly volunteer their services and mentoring skills for the weekend. In addition, our local music stores have been extremely generous in giving us gear to use for this event, knowing that it will produce future lifetime customers.

Probably the biggest joy that following this wild hare idea down the rabbit hole has produced, at least for me, is the reaction of the church seeing a stage full of young worship leaders banging out songs of worship on the Sunday morning that ROCK’N U wraps up. From their response, you would think that U2 was on the stage


ROCK’N U – Ten Years After

“JeMarketer” JeMarc Boliver
Volunteer @ gFREE Church, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania

ROCK’N U provides an outreach opportunity to invite people to church, and to hear about the love of God.


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Max Crain was first introduced to ROCK’N U at a Creation concert event about five years ago. ROCK’N U is a teaching program (created by interlínc, who was at Creation) that is designed to help people learn the basics of playing in a band. If you’re not familiar with “Creation,” it is a GIANT, Christian music festival at Agape Farms in Mt. Union, Pennsylvania.

Get the complete ROCK’N U kit when you join YLO!

Starting with the ideas from ROCK’N U, Max tweaked the lessons to meet the needs of his church and the students who showed interest. Most of the students were “youth” (6th – 12th grade), and Max developed a 7-hour crash-course that he calls “1st Semester.” The students get to pick up an instrument for the first time ever (guitar, bass, or drums), and will actually perform a song on stage (as a band) by the end of the day. The “2nd Semester” builds on that foundation, and encourages further participation and consistent involvement with music.


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Max saw a need within his church for a “culture of music” since sometimes musicians were there, but no musicians at other times. He wanted to create a training ground for musicians, to develop their God-given talents, and to have a steady stream of musicians cycling through at various levels.

Max never played an instrument, until he encountered ROCK’N U at the age of 35. He was trained to operate the sound equipment (mixing board) for the church, and he learned about music from behind the scenes. His son was learning Bass through the ROCK’N U curriculum, and Max sat through the practices to make sure his son could be there. Max then learned drums as well, through watching his son have drum lessons, and by listening to the instructor(s) teach his son. Max has even learned guitar, too! He set up a recording studio space in his home, and has played numerous band events. ROCK’N U gave Max a foundation to build on, and God has produced lots of fruit and growth as a result of his faithfulness and stewardship of the gift of music.


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By now, Max has been involved with ministry for roughly ten years, and felt called to the music ministry (even before knowing how to play an instrument). He’s passionate about serving God through music and helping others develop their musical gifts.

The response and turnout for the ROCK’N U events has been awesome. Four different churches have gotten involved with he ROCK’N U ministry at gFREE Church (previously called the Gearhartville Free Methodist Church), and some students from ROCK’N U have started their own bands. The “Christ First” band, located in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, is one example—the ROCK’N U student in this band is only about ten years old! One ROCK’N U student is currently touring Europe with a band right now (2015).

The church has provided all of the ROCK’N U musical equipment—grants have been given for the instruments—but students can bring their own instrument if they want. All that’s required is to show up and be ready to learn. The youngest person to attend ROCK’N U has been about eight years old, and the oldest have been in their 50’s. The program is for anyone interested in learning music. ROCK’N U provides an outreach opportunity to invite people to church, and to hear about the love of God.

Get the complete ROCK’N U kit when you join YLO!

Max is excited about this year for ROCK’N U as he develops online music training videos to help students practice at home. He sees the internet as an opportunity to serve beyond the local area. Come join the online community of learning musicians, and post your questions or comments to let Max know what will help your journey into Christian music/worship.