Course Catalogue

The Coalition for Youth Ministry Excellence is collaboratively shaping the future of youth ministry with a two-year experientially integrated vocational training program. The courses listed below are an integral part of the equipping process and will be offered in Kelowna, BC.


- Guided by a Ministry Mentor - At the heart of The Coalition’s training program is a thoughtfully structured, two-year mentored apprenticeship. Because pastoral ministry is a vocation that requires specific competencies, we believe that the most effective way to equip practitioners is to provide them with a real-life context in which to learn and practice ministry effectiveness. Apprentices will serve in full-time ministry roles under experienced leaders who will guide them through a series of leadership development experiences and skill sharpening opportunities. The environments will vary depending on the specialty being pursued by the apprentice. Many will serve in the local church, but some will receive their training in the context of a community youth ministry organization (e.g. Young Life or Youth for Christ) while others could be trained on the staff of a camp or even in a Christian School environment, if that is where they feel called to serve. The apprenticeship path will be marked by carefully defined milestones, but the details of the apprenticeship will be left to the mentor and the apprentice to design and carry out. Apprenticeships will not be approved unless a suitable mentor is available to provide the necessary guidance. The experiential component of this program is not a “tacked on” bonus but in fact represents the essence of what makes The Coalition different.


-Guided by a Spiritual Companion- The Soul-Shaping Journey is a core element of the Coalition’s program for ministry preparation. We believe that spiritual maturity and resilience are essential to long term ministry effectiveness. Too many youth workers disqualify themselves through lack of discipline and poor choices, often doing significant damage in the process. To complete these four program components, apprentices will partner with a spiritual companion or director to engage together in a carefully designed series of spiritual formation activities. Each six-month leg of the journey will be built around the following five elements… 1. Shared Experiences and Crucial Conversations 2. Biblical Reading with Life and Ministry Application 3. Extra-biblical Reading and Discussion 4. Practicing Specific Spiritual Disciplines (3 per term) 5. A Summative Personal Spiritual Retreat to Synthesize Learning The structure of these elements will be more “descriptive” than “pre-scriptive.” The path will be marked, but there will be some freedom within it to create an experience that serves the needs of each individual apprentice. This format will be repeated each six months, with the content of the reading and interaction becoming increasingly challenging throughout the two years. The desired outcome is that the apprentice will have developed a deeper love for Christ, a greater appreciation for His Word, and a willingness to live intentionally in the messy rhythms of full time ministry.


This course will explore the central place of spiritual intentionality and growing intimacy with Christ as the basis for effective life and ministry. We believe that it "takes a disciple to make a disciple." Designed to be experienced early in the program, it will provide apprentices with a pathway toward spiritual refreshment, deeper commitment to the Gospel, a passionate love for Christ, and disciplined living in the messy reality of day to day ministry. The course will be a blend of guided classroom learning and practical experiences in the spiritual disciplines, culminating in a 24 hour personal spiritual retreat. It is not intended to be a time of learning about intimacy, commitment and spiritual discipline. Instead, it is meant to be a time of actual intimacy, reflection, prayer, worship, meditation, solitude and nurturing community. As such, the course is meant to be intensely experiential and personal. Small groups will be established early on, and maintained throughout the course. Students should be prepared to fully engage in the exercises that will be planned for the sake of their own walk with God. It is anticipated that having experienced some of these lessons together we will have learned some things about pointing others in similar directions. ------ Learn more about Rev. Dr. Calum Macfarlane


Sound ministry philosophy ultimately expresses itself in effective ministry praxis. Successful youth ministry practitioners are required to manage on multiple levels. At the heart of managing a ministry is the management of multiple relationships – with the church staff and leadership; with parents; with a volunteer team; with their ministry colleagues in the community; with social agencies, school leaders, local police, etc.; and of course, with a constantly changing group of students. In addition, they are expected to manage budgets, facilities, events, service projects and trips, and the calendars that give structure to programs. Of course, one of their biggest responsibilities is to manage risk – spiritual, relational, physical, and emotional. And at a very personal level they are required to manage their own time and energy. For many "highly relational" youth workers these management responsibilities don't always come naturally. They need to be learned, practiced, and sharpened in the day-to-day reality of ministry leadership. The apprenticeship environment is a perfect context for developing the management skills necessary to be successful in ministry. This course will provide each student with the opportunity to explore and identify their own management style and then discover ways to manage the multiple elements of the youth ministry in which they are serving. One of the practical outcomes of this course will be the development of a thorough "practices and policies” handbook which will serve as a guide to their ministry team and provide the structures that are necessary for safety, clarity, longevity, and meaningful ministry outcomes. ------ Learn more about Ginny Olson


The need for sound theological thinking as a starting point for ministry structures and strategies has never been greater. Because many faith communities evaluate the effectiveness of their youth ministry primarily on the basis of attendance numbers it can be tempting to structure our ministries in a way that attracts the most young people. When we start with numerical outcomes in mind it is easy to forget about the crucial importance of theological foundation and framework for the work we do. This course will create a theological structure for understanding the Scripture, the church, the family, and the communities in which we serve and then ask the important “So What?” questions. A sound theology expresses itself in effective ministry. One of the key outcomes of this course will be that students will be trained to habitually ask theological questions first. ------ Learn More about Dr. Chap Clark


In a pluralistic global culture like ours it is more important than ever for Christians to be wise and well-grounded in our interactions with others. The Scripture exhorts us to “be prepared to always give an answer” (I Peter 3:15) and shows us a great example in Paul’s interactions in Athens. This course is structured to introduce students to the major worldviews and religious systems that exist in the 21st century and to equip them to interact with people who have a different philosophical or theological starting point than their own. The emphasis on conversational apologetics is intentional. For too long we have seen confrontational apologetics being used – often creating broken conversations that do not lead to positive Kingdom outcomes. Upon completion of this course students will be more confident in their understanding of the Gospel and empowered to engage others in a redemptive dialogue that will lead to deepened relationship and ongoing interaction. ------ Learn more about Dr. Randal Rauser


With their unique language, music, values, and heroes, today’s adolescents live in a culture all their own. For effective ministry to occur, it is critical that we understand contemporary culture. This course explores the complex world of the adolescent. It is important for us to understand the role of the media as a window into the soul of today’s teenager. Because the media both shapes and reflects the culture, it is important for all who work with adolescents and their families to develop a familiarity with what is being communicated and the implications for ministry. Youth ministry is cross-cultural missionary work. Adults and teen- agers will often need to translate in order for effective ministry to take place. This course will teach adults the language of the next generation. It is important to keep one eye on the constantly changing world and the other eye on the unshakeable Word to help young people make sense out of the cultural “air they are breathing.” Special emphasis will be given to helping students navigate the complexities of their online world and the social media that connects them to it. ------ Learn more about Dr. Walt Mueller


The landscape is all too familiar for those of us who work with teenagers…addictions, eating disorders, self-injury, destructive sexual choices, media saturation, sexual abuse, family breakdown, violence, bullying, gender disorientation, anxiety, depression and suicide – the dark realities that mark the lives of so many young people today. This course is designed to explore and address some of the most common contemporary behavioral, emotional, and relational issues faced by today’s adolescents. It is meant to prepare the apprentice for increased ministry effectiveness through a deeper awareness of underlying issues, behavioral choices and relational realities faced by students today. It is designed to result in a greater level of freedom to address and discuss these issues with both adolescents themselves and the adults who intersect with the adolescent world. The class will consist of a series of lectures, discussions and interactive exercises addressing a wide range of topics that place adolescents at risk. It is intentionally designed to deliver practical equipping to frontline ministry practitioners in both church and para-church ministries. ------ Learn more about Dr. Marv Penner

• ADOLESCENT FAITH FORMATION - Dr.(candidate) Sid Koop

We believe that the most significant spiritual responsibility of any generation is the spiritual well-being of the generation that follows. This course explores all aspects of the adolescent spiritual journey. One of the identified characteristics of this generation is the spiritual hunger that seems to mark them. It appears that we have a unique opportunity to respond to this “craving” that exists in the hearts of young people today. How do we present the Gospel in a way that engages the soul of an adolescent? How do we best understand and facilitate a young person’s journey to faith in Christ? Once a young person has embraced faith how do we help them become deeply rooted disciples of Jesus? What does the journey of sanctification look like, and how do we position young people to make a Kingdom difference in their generation. This course will explore these and other questions that will equip students to accompany young people well on their journey of faith. It’s the most important thing we do! ------ Learn more about Dr.(candidate) Sid Koop


Vocational youth workers are communicators. Whether they are training a group of volunteers, leading a parent event, designing curriculum, facilitating a small group, or delivering a youth talk to a room full of teenagers, the need to be a skilled communicator is apparent. The course will explore basic principles of communication as a foundation for practicing the skills needed to communicate effectively in a wide variety of settings. It will offer students a chance to think about the three basic components of any message and to understand the "why" and "how" of effective communication. In addition to discussing the fine points of how to craft effective message content, we'll look at the mechanics of effective speaking: everything from gestures to facial expressions to voice technique. ------ Learn more about Dr. Duffy Robbins