The Team

Since the Youth Ministry Mentorship can only be as good as the mentors behind it, we work hard to find solid individuals who love youth workers and have a heart for training others. Every mentor on our team is:

  • Spiritually mature.
  • Able to listen and give wise, biblical youth ministry counsel.
  • Flexible.
  • Passionate about serving and developing new youth workers.
  • An active veteran in youth ministry for at least 10 years.

There are 26 incredible youth ministry veterans on board who are passionate about training and encouraging you one-on-one. Their backgrounds range from youth ministry volunteers to full-time paid youth pastors to authors to senior pastors.

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The Mentorship Team

Tim Schmoyer serves as the youth pastor at Evangelical Covenant Church in Alexandria, MN. His passion is to take teens Deep and Wide and in training other adults to be effective in their spiritually intentional relationships with teenagers. He has been in youth ministry for 11 years. He is also the founder and author of this website, Life In Student Ministry.

Patti Gibbons writes, speaks and teaches on all things related to youth ministry – ranging from communicating to youth and writing curriculum for youth ministry, to helping manage communities for youth workers and women in youth ministry. She loves making herself a resource in any way she can to see teenagers and their families know Christ and make Him known.

Justin Ross has spent over 10 years working in youth ministry, his calling while still in high school. After graduating from college in his home state of Arkansas, he moved to Whidbey Island in Washington State to youth pastor at Whidbey Presbyterian Church in 2001. He is married to Nicole and their son Jaxson Isaiah was born in January 2008. Their life can be observed through Facebook, Twitter, and his blog.

Brett Hetherington has been working with teens for 8 years, since he himself was one. God called him into youth ministry right out of high school, working first with junior-highers. He graduated from Geneva College with a BA in Student Ministry, and works full-time with Corry First UM Church in Corry, PA. Brett has been married since 2005, and has been a dad since 2007.

James Tippins has one passion: Christ. His second is investing into others. He has over 12 years of experience working with teens and college students as well as having served as an executive, worship and children’s pastor. Married for 12 years and the father of 4 children, he is currently a Ph.D. candidate with Trinity Seminary and is authoring several books while serving as Sr. Pastor at FBC Newark, CA.

Mike Kupferer has been in youth ministry for over 7 years and still loves it. He loves students and desires to see their lives changed because of Jesus. The only thing Mike loves more than youth ministry (and God, of course) is his family.

Chris Day has been doing Youth Ministry for 10 years. He is passionate about leading students into a deeper relationship with Christ and developing leaders.

Brian Ford has been in youth ministry for over 12 years as a youth director, writer and speaker. He currently serves full-time as the TIMS Program Director at The Christian Retreat Center. He also serves part-time with Interim Youth Ministries, Inc. as the Associate Director. Brian lives in Central PA with his wife Kim where they are passionate about reaching teens for Jesus.

Kevin Twombly has been the Generations Pastor at Grace Capital Church in Pembroke, NH for the last 10 years. During this time the youth group has grown from 1 student (church plant) to a thriving group of over 150 students that meet weekly for a large group and small group setting. Kevin is a very relational leader who desires to equip others in Youth Ministry in order to continue to expand the Kingdom of God.

Rob Kashow was saved as a trouble teen. Ever since then, he has been burdened for youth ministry, serving in various capacities for a little over 10 years. He has a major in Bible and Youth Ministry from Philadelphia Biblical University and is currently a ThM student at Dallas Theological Seminary. Rob also founded the Facebook group Youth Pastors Only.

Ryan Nielsen currently serves as the Director of Student Ministries at St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Boerne, TX. Ryan has worked in youth ministry for 18 years in Colorado, Canada, Denmark, Oklahoma, California, and Texas and is currently working on his Doctorate from Fuller Seminary. Ryan is also the owner and president of Ryan is married to Christianna, his wife of 3 years.

Terrace Crawford has been in youth ministry for 13 years and serves as the Minister of Students at Crossroads Community Church in Yorktown, VA. His passion in reaching people, encouraging and equipping people for the Kingdom. He is an advocate for mentoring and refers to it as “Life on Life,” which is theme of the blog he authors. Crawford is also the leader of a Youth Pastor Network in his area.

Tony Myles is a 16-year youth ministry veteran who now serves as lead pastor of Connection Church in Medina, Ohio. His love for the Church and its future has spilled out into writing, coaching, and conference speaking. He’s written the book Miracles of Jesus and helped produce Christian Endeavor’s Pray21 campaign. And he really, really likes smoothies.

Aaron Giesler is an odd combination of jock and geek. He has a passion for football and math which many do not understand. He has the best wife ever and 3 great kids. Aaron loves his Savior dearly and loves the fact that he gets paid to introduce students to Jesus.

Adam Wormann started following Jesus in high school, and has been passionate about ministry ever since. After completing his degree at Philadelphia Biblical, he became a youth pastor in N.J.. Adam is married to his wife, JaneAnn, and has two boys. He is currently completing a masters degree at Biblical Seminary, appearing as a guest speaker, and spending too much time on Twitter and Facebook.

Jason Lamb has rejoined the ranks of full time Student Ministry serving as the Student Ministry Pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Johnson City, Tennessee following 5 1/2 years at Dare 2 Share Ministries as the Director of Youth Ministry Services. He has been a volunteer, part-time, bi-vocational, and full-time Youth Leader in 12 years of Youth Ministry involvement and has led ministries ranging from 5 to 250 students.

Tom Roepke serves as the pastor to students at New Hope Community Church in Loudonville, Ohio. He has been actively involved in youth ministry for 30 years. He is passionate about growing and connecting students to healthy adults so that together they may grow as followers of Jesus. He will be celebrating 30 years of marriage to his kindergarten sweetheart, Melinda and together the have three children.

John Byrne knew he wanted to be a youth pastor at the early age of 13. While attending Oak Hills Bible College he met the woman of his dreams and convinced her to marry him. John is now the Pastor of Student Ministries at The Rock of Southwest in Littleton, CO where he oversees Jr and Sr High as well as the College Career group.

Dave Huizing has served as the the Local Area Missionary with Word of Life Local Church Ministries in NYC, Long Island and Northern NJ for 18 years. He impacts over 50,000 students and leaders through curriculum writing and is in direct contact with over 120 leaders and 100s of students each week in his area. He has been married to his beautiful wife Kate for 28 years and they have 5 children, ages 16-27.

Jeremy Schneider has served in several ministry capacities for more than decade. He currently serves at a church in Alexandria, MN as the small groups and youth pastor. His passion for teenagers mostly revolves around building spiritually transforming relationships, especially when it comes to outdoor activities like hunting, camping and fishing.

Shan Smith is a veteran Student Ministries Pastor of 20 years who serves at Agape Christian Church in Terre Haute, IN. He is passionate about sharing the message of the cross and equipping teens to know, live, and share their faith by ministering with a Deep and Wide ministry strategy. He also serves with Youth for Christ, speaks at area schools and retreats, and writes for various ministry blogs.

Matt Reeve has ministered to students and parents for over 19 years. Matt lives outside of Minneapolis, MN, where he directs SoulFire Student Ministries. He has spoken to thousands of students at camps, retreats and conferences through illuminate Ministries. “My passion is to see people step out of their silent lives and fully become who God intended them to be.”

Adam McLane served on a church staff for nearly a decade, but now he manages all things interwebs for Youth Specialties in El Cajon, California. That means that someone pays him to play on the internet all day. Cool, right? He’s been married for 13 years and has two rowdy children, Megan and Paul, and is expecting their third in February 2011.

Lars Roodhas been a youth worker for a long time. He’s originally from the West Coast but now calls Dallas his home. Lars leads the staff team at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. He’s also a speaker, writer and blogger and loves to talk with youth workers. This fall his book, “Ministry On A Shoestring,” will be publish by Youth Specialties/Zondervan.

Matthew Murphy is a 14 year veteran of youth ministry. He has served in various churches in the Northeastern US and currently is finishing his M.Div at Denver Seminary. Matt is moderator at and is also passionate about crisis counseling/ministry and mentoring new youth ministers.

John Mulholland has been working with middle school and high school kids in ministry since 1997. He started out as a volunteer youth sponsor before being a un-paid Youth Minister. In 2005, he transitioned to his current position at Eastview Christian Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Currently a graduate student at Indiana Wesleyan University, he has been married for 19+ years and has three children.

Statement of Faith

As a team of teachers to teachers, it’s important that we’re all on the same page theologically. Every youth ministry mentor adheres to this statement of faith:

  • I believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible Word of God and that it is the authority and standard for every life.
  • I believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary.
  • I believe in the substitutionary atonement of Christ’s death. That His death was enough to pay for the penalty of mankind’s sin, and through faith in Him, sins are forgiven and eternal life is received.
  • I believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
  • I believe in the literal return of Jesus Christ and that He will establish His eternal kingdom as He promised.

NOTE: Mentors are recruited on a personal level by Tim Schmoyer and a couple people he trusts, not by an impersonal web application or even phone interviews. If you’re interested in becoming part of the mentorship team, we appreciate your heart to serve, but the only way to join the team is by a personal recommendation by someone Tim Schmoyer knows and trusts.

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