Your work as a ministry leader is hard. Each week, you give all of yourself — and then some — to reach those your ministry serves. Then, you do it all over again the next week.

Wouldn’t it be a shame that after all of your effort, you realized your hard work isn’t paying off? That the reason why you got into ministry in the first place, to make a difference, wasn’t happening?

This is a challenge many church leaders face: How can we make sure our effort is truly transformational? In today’s episode of the Think Orange podcast, James Ward and Tom Shefchunas discuss how you’ve got some untapped resources walking your halls right now — your students — and how you can effectively mobilize those students to help progress your ministry’s mission to serve and help them grow their faith at the same time.

Where To Listen:  iTunes  |  Google Play  |  Stitcher  |  SoundCloud

Topic Timeline

Podcast producer, Kevin Jennings, introduces today’s podcast topic (1:17)

Kevin introduces today’s podcast guests, James Ward, director of international programs at 410 Bridge, a missions organization that partners churches with communities in Kenya and Haiti, and Tom Shefchunas, director of student strategy at Orange (2:26)

James talks about his early years doing missions with youth (8:10)

James shares a story about a mission trip he took to Ecuador (9:47)

It’s your strategy, not just your mission, that ultimately determines your success (14:03)

James describes the process most churches and ministries experience without a strategy in place (16:32)

James talks about what it means to have a changed worldview (24:46)

Tom talks about what service means in a student ministry context (31:13)

Tom talks about the best age to start mobilizing students (33:15)

Why high schoolers should be doing weekly service (34:41)

What practical things student leaders can do now (35:00)

If we’re going to help develop leaders, we’ve got to take chances (37:49)

Tom shares five ways to effectively mobilize students (38:36)

How do churches, especially small ones, hold volunteers accountable? (42:25)

Tom talks about how celebrating shouldn’t define your ministry (46:00)

What is the starting point for churches and ministries to mobilize students? (47:13)

Tom talks about an experience at North Point Community Church (49:45)

Why modeling leadership is important (52:12)

Dave shares some wisdom he received during a mission trip in Israel (54:56)

You mobilize students by mobilizing adults (56:14)

Kevin gives closing remarks (57:38)

People, Places & Helpful Resources

Featured Guests

Greg Bradford


Tom is the Director of Strategy at Orange. Tom’s passion involves working with campus directors and their teams. He is the co-founder of, a place for middle school ministers to gather. Tom also co-wrote Lead Small with Reggie Joiner, a resource for children and student small group leaders. Tom and his wife Julie live in Cumming, Georgia, with their three children, Mac, Joey and Cooper.

Greg Bradford


James Ward is the Director of International Programs at 410 Bridge, a missions organization that partners churches with communities in Kenya and Haiti.

Quotes from This Episode

Ideas to Influence the Next Generation

Take time to establish relationships.

You can’t serve someone if you don’t know them. Listen and engage those you serve so you can effectively reach them.

Start trusting your students to lead.

The kids in your church can’t become leaders if you won’t let them. Help your students feel like they’re truly part of the body of Christ by letting them lead.

Be truly service minded.

A real service opportunity experience extends far beyond the time spent on a mission trip or at a soup kitchen. Find out what the person or community really needs and aim to meet that need.

Conversation Starters For Your Church

What can we do this season to open the door to ongoing conversation with people in our community?

How do you define service? What are the elements of a quality service opportunity for students?

After a mission trip, how can we extend the experience far beyond the time spent on the trip?

Your Hosts

Dave Adamson, The Think Orange Podcast Host


When he’s not working as a pastor at North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Dave is usually making his family cross their arms, roll their eyes, and tap their feet while he takes “just one more quick photo” on family outings. You’ll also often find him up to his neck in “Jewish stuff” as he researches the cultural context of Jesus for his daily Instagram devotions. Learn more about Dave at

Ashley Bohinc, The Think Orange Podcast Host


Ashley serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange and the USA Director of Carry 117. She has worked with students in public education, athletic and ministry settings for the last 12 years. She is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating on stage, developing leaders, working with students and world missions. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.

Join Us Next Week

Thank you for listening to the Think Orange Podcast.

We hope you’ll join us for next week’s episode. More importantly, we hope that when you think next generation, you think Orange.