Practice Discipleship Coach Job Description

Child Youth & Family Ministry:

 Practice Discipleship Coach – Volunteer Position

The ELCA Youth Ministry Network is continuing to develop the Practice Discipleship Initiative which was initially part of the National Youth Gathering. We are seeking candidates who are interested in filling this position. A full description of expectations is attached, and can also be found on the Metropolitan New York Synod web site on the Child Youth & Family Ministry web page. Funds are available through the ELCA Youth Ministry Network to cover most of the expenses for training.

I invite you to consider serving as Practice Discipleship Coach. This is a key leadership position for the Practice Discipleship Initiative and the expectations are high! The PD Coach will build a team to lead and promote the training sessions in our synod, and facilitate networking among adult leaders and stakeholders. Coaches will be required to attend training prior to the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza, January 23-25, 2013.   (for information about Youth Ministry Network go to

Please Note: This position is no longer tied to the ELCA Youth Gathering.  Participation as a PD Coach neither commits you nor designates you to serve in any programming for the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering.

For more information, contact deacon Charlie Germain at

deacon Charlie Germain,      Chair – Child Youth & Family Ministry – MNYS                       (845) 225-4698 home      (845) 521-1617 cell                                                                              135 Kent Shore Drive, Carmel, NY  10512


 Practice Discipleship Coaches Job Description

 The work of youth ministry is to develop young people of vital faith who live out their calling in the world for the sake of Jesus Christ.

The PD Coaches will play a vital role in training and equipping adult leaders for ministry with young people. In addition to the trainings they will lead, PD Coaches will develop partnerships with youth ministry stakeholders and organizations in their synod/area who are already invested in equipping adult leaders. Training sessions will be open to all adult leaders from all congregations. The ultimate goal of the Practice Discipleship Initiative is to use these strategic partnerships to build capacity in synods and congregations for adult leadership development for the sake of faith formation in young people.

Please Note: This position is no longer tied to the ELCA Youth Gathering. Participation as a PD Coach neither commits you nor designates you to serve in any programming for the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering. It is anticipated that there will be two roles the year of the Gathering. This role of

“PD Coach” will be separate from a “Gathering Coach” type role that may be responsible for synod programming at the Gathering. The “Gathering Coach” invitation would come through a Gathering Planning Team.


 Develop and lead a team from your synod to facilitate Practice Discipleship Trainings for adult leaders.

 Promote Practice Discipleship Trainings (face to face and online) to adult leaders in your synod/area.

Lead a minimum of six face-to-face Practice Discipleship Trainings in your synod from January 2013 – January 2014, covering sessions from each of the 3 areas: theological, theory and practice. Ideally, three in the spring of 2013, three in the fall of 2013. You will be trained and equipped in the curriculum to use for these Trainings.

 Meet with strategic partners in your synod to discuss ways in which you might collaborate for Practice Discipleship Trainings (face to face and online).

o Strategic partners may include:

Synod staff• Bishop• Youth Ministry Staff/Liaison• Directors for Evangelical Mission Synodical Lutheran Youth Organization or Youth Ministry leadership   Outdoor Ministry Lutheran Campus Ministry   Lutheran Colleges   Seminaries   ELCA Youth Ministry Network Regional Facilitators• Local Youth Ministry Network     Other stakeholders and strategic communities (ethnic, young adult, emergent church, rural/urban, etc.) who are invested in training and equipping adult leaders for youth ministry in your synod/area.

o The ultimate goal of this collaboration is to align strategic partners for further ministry together beyond the Practice Discipleship Trainings.

• A commitment to serve in this capacity from January 2013 through January 2014.

• Attend ONE mandatory Practice Discipleship training event for Coaches:

o January 23 (4pm) – 25 (2pm), 2013 in Anaheim, CA

o This training is a high priority for serving in this role, and we expect that you will make every effort to attend! At the same time, we fully understand that it is impossible to gather this many leaders and not have conflicts with dates. If these dates conflict with already scheduled work or family commitments that cannot be changed, it is possible to send a “proxy” from your team to this training.

• Participate in 3 on-line meetings with the Practice Discipleship Coaches for support and accountability.


Support for Your Role as PD Coach

Financial assistance to implement your responsibilities.

Mandatory Training for Coaches:

Transportation stipend of $250 to assist with airfare. You will be responsible for making your own transportation arrangements. These will NOT be booked through Best Travel (the ELCA travel agency). Limited scholarship funds are available to assist with prohibitive airfare costs as needed.

 All meals during the PD Coaches training.

Housing stipend of $150 for 2 nights of the training. You will be responsible for making your own housing arrangements and will received the stipend check at the event. (This covers two nights at double occupancy)

Funds will be provided to cover approved expenses for the synod teams and training events in synods.

Support and assistance from the Practice Discipleship Head Coaches

 Curriculum, PowerPoint and DVD resources to lead the trainings.


General Timeline

 December 1, 2012: Respond to invitation to serve as Practice Discipleship Coach. Those who respond with a yes will receive a letter with information on the PD Coaches Training.(Apply first through the Child Youth & Family Ministry Committee – MNYS

January 23-25, 2013: Attend PD Coaches Training in Anaheim, CA, prior to the Extravaganza

February 2013: Begin development of your synod teams

Spring/Summer 2013: Lead training events in your synod

Fall 2013:             Receive curriculum for 2013-2014 theme  &  Lead training events in your synod.

January 28-30, 2014: PD Coaches Training Event in St. Louis, MO, prior to the Extravaganza

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pageant Time

Like many other churches, we held our Christmas Pageant yesterday.  For the 5th year in a row, we had a High School student directing.  This year, said director was brand new.  Her family has only been members of this church for a few years, and she had only participated in one pageant.  I was impressed (and a little scared) that she was willing to take on this role.

We had the usual successes and struggles.  She enthusiastically found a pageant, did some visioning and held auditions.  Our struggles came with the coordination of details, which is okay.  This is not just about a pageant, it’s about empowerment and learning to lead.

I sat through the first part of the pageant which went well, and then scrambled to get the cookie reception together for after the pageant.  The cast, and our 14 year old director where among the first up there.  I was ready for them to peel off their costumes and run for the cookies.  They did not.  Instead, they gathered together to thank God that they made it, that it went well, and that they had told the story of his love.  I was amazed when  the preschoolers and early elementary kids resisted even looking at the cookies to stand quietly in prayer for a moment.

No where in any instruction the High School student was given did is say for her to ground this experience in prayer.  No where did it say she had to invite the cast into this place. No where did it say that she had to be a mentor of faith to this children in this way.  But she did.

I thank Christ for her maturity and leadership.  Despite the hiccups along the way, she went above and beyond in so many ways.

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Advent Idea

Like many other churches, we make lighting the Advent Wreath its own unique part of the service.  This year, we decided to continue a tradition that started a few years ago because of it being so well received, so I figured I would share. 

After the prayer of the day, we invite one family to come forward and light the wreath together.  This is a great way to include children in worship, to encourage family worship, and to encourage conversation.  Families are “looped” into talking about Advent before the service, making sure their children understand what they are doing, and why they are doing it. 

As I said earlier, this has become a “thing” around here.  families are excited to participate, and actually call or e-mail to me to make sure that their name gets on the schedule.  Since we have three worship services each Sunday, it gives 12 families a chance to be involved and do something special.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Leading Change

Leading Change:

The ELCA Youth Ministry Network ( in their newsletter highlights a video each month. This month’s video is on tribes and leading change. Its 17 minutes.

I think it has a message for us as we develop our strategic plan. Please take a few minutes to look at it.

Feel free to pass this onto whoever may be interested.


deacon Charlie Germain
Chair – Child Youth & Family Ministry Committee
(845) 225-4698 home (845) 521-1617 cell
135 Kent Shore Drive, Carmel, NY 10512-3049


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Mellennial Generation and Religion

I was cleaning off my desk, and the spring issue of the Seeds for the Parish fell to the floor.  It opened to an article called “The Mellennial generation and religion”. This is a must reed. The link to the youtube video referenced is at the end of the article. 

Maybe you’ve seen the^ video on YouTube. It’s a video titled ‘Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus.” It is the venting of one young man’s frustration over what he defines as the difference between “religion” and Jesus.
It is a spoken-word poem written and performed by a young man who is clearly frustrated by his perceptions of the institutional church. He blames religion for starting wars and accuses religion of behavior modification and moral deliberation that is graceless, unforgiving, condemning and intolerant. It’s a harsh critique, and with over 19 million views, it has stirred a lot of controversy across faith and denominational lines.
I know there are a million things we can nitpick apart about this young poet’s ecclesiology, theology or whatnot, but instead, I would rather simply state that, whether you like it or not, this is a perception of the church by the Millennial Generation. These are the feelings they have toward church. So instead of taking it apart, let’s instead deal with this video as an introduction to the Millennial Jesus.
Defining religion
His first line starts it all — “What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?” For some, this just seems ludicrous. But before you pick it apart, you have to understand that to Millennials “religion” means something different than it does to older generations. Baby boomers and the silent generation would define religion as a synonym for faith. Religion is your faith at work.
But to the Millennial, religion is defined as the empty rituals taken on by people to affect a faithfulness they don’t truly possess. To the Millennial, “religion” is not faithfulness but rather the habits — the work — that merely appear as faith but leave out the greater reality of the relationship with Christ. As the poet states, “Now I ain’t judging, I’m just saying, quit putting on a fake look, ’cause there’s a problem if people only know you’re a Christian by your Facebook.” Ouch. It addresses the feeling that people are acting Christian or say they are Christian as a secular identity, not as a faith statement.
It is the age-old accusation of hypocrisy in the church. Every generation has shared that old bailiwick so we cannot say it is particularly unique to this generation. But when you compare how many signals this generation receives concerning disease in the church — sex abuse scandals, multimillion-dollar buildings, pastors who preach against being a gay person only to be caught with male prostitutes, talking heads selling snake oil get-rich-quick schemes over morning TV — well you can see that in their eyes this accusation is earned. When we tell a Millennial we are a Christian, these are the images they first think of.
The role of grace
Millennials are also greatly attracted to grace as core to theology. As he states, “Religion is man searching for God. Christianity is God searching for man, which is why salvation is freely mine, and forgiveness is my own, not based on my merits but Jesus’ obedience alone.” This is great theology! But their frustration is the great disconnect between the grace-filled proclamation of Jesus and the gospel that turns grace into an ultimatum.
At the same time, Millennials are aware of the nature of grace to change one’s life. It is not a call to morality or an earning of the destiny paycheck for a life well-lived but rather a free gift given by God’s continual searching for us. Millennials are also aware of the sanctification dimension of grace. Inundated by images of poverty, abuse, sex-trafficking, bullying and other injustices, the Millennial cannot reconcile inaction on the part of the church. If grace has freed us, the Millennial believes it has freed us not just for life everlasting (justification) but for life today (sanctification). Cheap grace is on the mind of the Millennial.
“Because if grace is water, then the church should be an ocean.” This is the challenge to the church in America. It is a prophetic word from this young man. Granted, his view is quite myopic in only seeing the darkness within the church rather than the abundant (and oft unpublicized) light. But if this is the perception of the Millennial, then this is the reality we are called to deal with. We cannot try to prove him wrong with more blog posts, responses via YouTube, through sermons or even in articles like this. We must begin to turn toward understanding our youngest ones and hear their prophetic heart calling us back to costly grace.

• YouTube video “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus”,

from: Seeds for the Parish Spring 2012

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Easter is coming

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Palm Sunday

Like most churches, we make a big deal out of Palm Sunday.  The little children come in to sing, we read the passion, all the different choirs have pieces prepared, and we have a processional.  One thing that we have grown accustomed to is our Palm Arch.

The 3rd, 4th, and 5th, graders come early to church and get lined up.  When the service starts, they lead the way, each holding a handful of palms.  At the front of the aisle, they form an arch that the whole processional line goes through. afterwards, they process out, and then go and sit with their parents through the service.  It’s one of the few things I plan that actually goes as planned.  The visual reminder of the gospel and the cute children being there get the congregation every time.  It

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Journey to the Cross

Here we are in the first days of Lent.  During this season, we stand in the shadow of the cross and come face to face with the messiness of our lives.

It is our challenge to keep our eyes on Jesus and on each other, because we don’t walk this journey alone.  This life is too hard to bear alone.  Along this journey we will fall down. Maybe you already have. But this Body of Christ walks with us, helps us when we’ve failed and reminds us to keep your eyes on the cross and get back up. Easter is coming!

Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  -John 16:3

Posted in Cross Generational Ministries, Discussions, Ideas, Resources, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ELCA Youth Mini…


ELCA Youth Ministry Extravaganza

February 8 – 13, 2012

New Orleans

The Extravaganza is an unprecedented opportunity to learn and network with others working in the trenches of child, youth and family ministry. A record 14 people from the Metropolitan New York Synod attended. Natalie Romero from Ascension, Deer Park was elected as the Region 7 Facilitator for the Youth Ministry Network. Congratulations Natalie!


Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Party in the ELCA

Last week was the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza in New Orleans.  It is an annual gathering, “that draws together anywhere from 500-750 adults who work with youth in congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for the premier renewal, education and networking event of our church.  It is for the professional and the volunteer.  It is for the old and the young.  It is for the urban, the suburban and the rural.  It is for pastors, it is for laypeople.  It is for all who share in the adventure we call youth and family ministry.”
I have attended several Extravanganzas and have to say that this one was one of the best.  From the large group gatherings, workshops, to conversations with colleagues, and time to explore New Orleans in preparation for this summer’s Gathering, I left feeling energized (and maybe a bit exhausted) and inspired for ministry with and for young people.  It is good to be surrounded by people who ‘get it.’

I hope that myself and a few of the others who attended the Extravanganza will be able to post more about our time in NoLa but I wanted to share a fun video of a friend performing some new lyrics to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”

Here are the Lyrics:
PLEASE NOTE: This is a PARODY of Party in the USA- Written by Jessie J, Dr. Luke, and Claude Kelly and made popular by Miley Cyrus on Hollywood Records.

Verse 1:
Walk through the doors of a Lutheran Church
NRSV and my offering
Greeted by a couple way older than me
Am I gonna fit in?
Back row pew- here I am for the first time
Look to my right and I see an “all are welcome” sign
Let’s begin the praisin’ with Grace that’s Amazin’
My tummy’s turning ‘cause they ran out of doughnuts
I hope we have some communion!
That’s when the Pastor stepped up to the microphone
And she said “peace be with you!”
She said “peace be with you!”
She said “peace be with you!”

We don’t put our hands up when we’re singing to God…
Traditional is how we praise
Nodding our head? No way!
Stand and sit on repeat all day!
We’re coming as we are (sinners and saints)
Doesn’t matter if you’re straight or gay
YEAH! It’s a party in the ELCA!
YEAH! It’s a party in the ELCA!

Verse 2:
I flip through the pages for the ‘Hymn of the day”
In the ELW
I landed right on “Borning Cry” – Hymn number 7-3-2
Harmonies from the girls around me…
I thought the sign said contemporary?
All I hear is an organ!
A REALLY REALLY loud organ!
Traditional, but I’m digging what I’m hearing
I fell in love with the lyrics
Then the Pastor stepped up to the mic and said
“there’s a potluck after church”
A potluck after church?

We don’t put our hands up when we’re singing to God…
Traditional is how we praise!
Nodding our head? No way!
Stand and sit on repeat all day!
We’re coming as we are (sinners and saints)
Doesn’t matter if you’re straight or gay
YEAH! It’s a party in the ELCA!
YEAH! It’s a party in the ELCA!


Posted in Events, Resources, Young Adult Ministries, Youth Ministries | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment