Sparkhouse Youth Ministry Podcast

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Veteran youth workers Bryan Bliss and Erik Ullestad have close to 30 years of youth ministry experience. They also work as product developers for Sparkhouse, giving them a unique perspective on youth ministry topics.


  • Episode 105: Greatest Hits

    Episode 105: Greatest Hits

    29/11/2019 Duración: 45min

    After 104 episodes, it's time for the Youth Ministry Podcast to release its Greatest Hits album. Today, Jake and Erik discuss their favorite episodes from the past two years and say "farewell" (for now) to this podcasting endeavor.

  • Episode 104: If Only Id Known

    Episode 104: If Only I'd Known

    22/11/2019 Duración: 47min

    They say hindsight is 20/20. Today Jake and Erik look through the lens of their combined 30 years experience and ruminate on what they would've told their younger selves when they were starting out in youth ministry. Also, Jake asks listeners for some help.

  • Episode 103: Design in Ministry

    Episode 103: Design in Ministry

    15/11/2019 Duración: 41min

    You have a lot to think about as a youth minister, and most of it is related to what's in front of your face every day: registration forms, staff meetings, lesson planning, receipts, and the clogged sink in the youth room. Who has time to consider things like user experience and graphic design? YOU, that's who! Today Jake and Erik offer some suggestions for how to step away from the daily grind and design meaningful ministry moments at your church.

  • Episode 102: Leaving Gracefully

    Episode 102: Leaving Gracefully

    08/11/2019 Duración: 39min

    Departing from a congregation is almost never easy, and yet most ministry professionals will say “goodbye” to several churches during their career. In this episode, Jake and Erik discuss ways to leave a church with grace for yourself and grace for your congregation.

  • Episode 101: Digital Catechism

    Episode 101: Digital Catechism

    01/11/2019 Duración: 46min

    Teens spend an average of nine hours online each day. Social media is ubiquitous. Young people and figuring out their online and in-person identities on the fly every day. How can the church support young people and their parents as they encounter the complicated and wonderful world of social media? In this episode Jake and Erik talk about their recent interactions with parents and teens on the topic of social media and offer suggestions for how to facilitate these conversations at your church.

  • Episode 100: 100th Episode Lock-In Spectacular!

    Episode 100: 100th Episode Lock-In Spectacular!

    25/10/2019 Duración: 46min

    Live, from Sparkhouse Headquarters in Minneapolis, MN – it’s the 100th episode of the Youth Ministry Podcast! In this very special episode, Erik and Jake are joined by members of the Sparkhouse team to give you a look behind the scenes of the ministry of publishing. Plus they’ll give you a recap of all the shenanigans that took place during their outrageous lock-in.

  • Episode 99: Shared Ministry

    Episode 99: Shared Ministry

    18/10/2019 Duración: 43min

    Youth ministry isn’t something you do alone. Not only do you have leaders in your congregation to support you, but you can partner with other church youth groups for all kinds of activities. Jake and Erik discuss their experiences with shared ministry events and offer suggestions for things to consider when planning these outings, retreats, and trips.

  • Episode 98: Talkin TikTok

    Episode 98: Talkin' TikTok

    11/10/2019 Duración: 43min

    If you’re around young people, you’ve probably heard of TikTok. In a little more than a year since it was launched, TikTok has become one of the fastest growing and most popular apps in the world. Today Jake and Erik discuss the ways youth are interacting with this video app. Then they bring on their resident expert, Erik’s teenage daughter Anna, to answer their questions and to set her father straight on a few things.

  • Episode 97: Road Trip

    Episode 97: Road Trip

    04/10/2019 Duración: 37min
  • Episode 96: Education, Continued

    Episode 96: Education, Continued

    27/09/2019 Duración: 38min
  • Episode 95: Classroom Management

    Episode 95: Classroom Management

    20/09/2019 Duración: 36min

    Youth ministers like to think of ourselves as a lot of things—mentors, spiritual leaders, teachers, event planners, etc. It can be tough to consider that we need to be disciplinarians at times. Jake and Erik discuss the topic of classroom management and offer some tips for how to effectively (and graciously) curtail unhelpful student behavior.

  • Episode 94: Ministry Mailbag

    Episode 94: Ministry Mailbag

    13/09/2019 Duración: 45min

    It’s time, once again, for Jake and Erik to open up the ministry mailbag and discuss the topics you’ve suggested. Today they chat about social anxiety, parent motivation, and how to relate to the tough, perhaps bothersome kid who always shows up at youth group.

  • Episode 93: Bible Study

    Episode 93: Bible Study

    06/09/2019 Duración: 48min

    The more Bible study changes, the more it stays the same. Or does it? For a few thousand years faithful people have been studying Scripture. There are many different ways to approach this important task, but often times youth ministers feel ill-equipped to lead these conversations. Jake and Erik offer their thoughts on ways to do Bible study, but only after Jake recommends a video and Erik dives into some listener feedback.

  • Episode 92: Hypothetically Speaking

    Episode 92: Hypothetically Speaking

    30/08/2019 Duración: 45min

    Youth Ministry often occurs in the everyday tasks of studying, teaching, leading, and relating. Every once in a while it’s good to step away from reality and imagine a different way of doing ministry. In this episode Jake and Erik ask each other some hypothetical questions about programming, facilities, and money—and one of them considers joining a monastery.

  • Episode 91: Back to School

    Episode 91: Back to School

    23/08/2019 Duración: 37min

    Parents and children are getting ready to head back to school. The church program year is also starting to ramp up, which means sending out schedules, training volunteers, while preparing all the great lesson and activities. Jake and Erik check in regarding their thoughts around the back-to-school season and discuss an important article about 21st century parenting.

  • Episode 90: Grieving with Mike Stavlund

    Episode 90: Grieving with Mike Stavlund

    16/08/2019 Duración: 53min

    Why do bad things happen to people? Where is God in the midst of difficult times? How do youth ministers grieve along side people who are suffering…or are suffering themselves? Pastor Mike Stavlund joins Erik and Jake to discuss these and other profundities of pastoral care.

  • Episode 89: Live from Churchwide Assembly

    Episode 89: Live from Churchwide Assembly

    09/08/2019 Duración: 37min

    The ELCA held Churchwide Assembly this week. Erik had an opportunity to speak with some of the youth voting members about their hopes for the future. They have some important things to say to pastors and youth ministers about what it's like to be a young leader in the church. Enjoy listening to their perspective!

  • Episode 88: Feelin Campy

    Episode 88: Feelin' Campy

    02/08/2019 Duración: 43min

    Church camp provides a special opportunity for young people to grow in faith, meet new people, and learn about themselves. It’s also a place where the next generation of church leaders will discover their calling in ministry. Jake and Erik wash off the bug spray and check in from Lutheran Lakeside Camp to discuss the ways congregations can make outdoor ministry an important part of their program.

  • Episode 87: Pop Culture Crossover

    Episode 87: Pop Culture Crossover

    26/07/2019 Duración: 42min

    Ministry doesn’t happen in a cultural vacuum. Every day we are surrounded by people, art, and media which can inform our work with young people. For this reason, Erik and Jake are once again doing a Pop Culture Crossover. This time, they discuss the remake of Disney’s “The Lion King” and its implications for youth ministry.

  • Episode 86: Origin Story - Part 2

    Episode 86: Origin Story - Part 2

    19/07/2019 Duración: 44min

    In the previous episode, Erik shared stories of how he discerned a call in youth ministry. This week, it’s Jake’s turn.

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