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"The longer you stay in youth ministry, by the grace of God, the better you get."

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I'm Dave Thornton and I've written a book called 'Raising the Bar: Nearly everything you need to know about Christian youth ministry'. To be honest, I'm still a little bit embarrassed about the book. I feel a bit of a fraud, because I've got loads to learn about youth ministry, I guess though in 30 years of youth ministry, God has graciously taught me some things and he's given me a load of stories that will encourage you. It's hard to say this, because I'm talking about a book I wrote, but I think it's a really useful resource for any church youth minister, and feedback shows other youth workers find the same. In fact, it also says it's useful for any church leader. 

I am passionate about developing new youth leaders and training people to teach the Bible and to lead well, so I spent five years writing Raising the Bar and self-published to keep costs down and make sure I can offer it at a price you and your team can afford. My dream is that youth leaders serving with faith and passion, have their skills and values sharpened, and have the encouragement they need to lead many young people to Jesus Christ and see them grow in Him. If the book helps you develop faster and keep going longer, it will have been time well spent.

I'm Youth, Children and Families' Director at Christ Church, Winchester. I'm married to Fiona with two teenage children.  I've had more strange incidents than most people, including falling off a cliff and setting fire to three tables at a youth group barbeque. I tell the table story in the book. You'll have to ask me about the cliff. I've also made some unbelievable mistakes, which I'll tell you about so you don't make the same ones. You can make all your own mistakes, remembering God is faithful.

I work on this website and its resources in my spare time. If you want to support this website, buy a copy of the book, or maybe buy one each for your whole team. If you live overseas, there's an e-book available, or I can send one or more to you.

Do get in touch if you want help, ideas or just a bit of encouragement. Do keep going. It is worth it.


"My leaders love it because it makes them feel more confident in the ministry we share. Thanks Dave!"

This doesn't happen every day, but I was interviewed on Premier Christian Radio about a new piece of research called 'Growing Younger'. You can find out more about that research here. We talked a lot about discipling young people and helping them stay around in church, especially through the transitions. It helped that I'd already done some thinking around transitions for a chapter in my book Raising the Bar, and for the blog on transitions here

You can listen to my interview as part of a longer piece on Premier Christian Radio.

"I know more than I did when I first started."

Dave Thornton

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