Leading teenagers is simultaneously one of the hardest parts of youth ministry and one of the most rewarding — it’s a time of high stakes, yet great opportunity.

In today’s episode of the Think Orange podcast, we talk to Josh Shipp, award-winning teen expert featured on MTV, CNN, and in The New York TImes, and author of, The Grown-Up’s Guide To Teenage Humans. In this episode, Josh shares his story about growing up as an at-risk youth in and out of foster care homes and how the impact of his final foster parents changed the course of his life. Through humor and candor, Josh discusses how you can lean into the teens you serve during one of the most challenging phases.

Welcome to Episode 19 of the Think Orange Podcast.

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

Topic Timeline

Dave introduces today’s episode topic and guest, Josh Shipp, award-winning teen expert and author of, The Grown-Up’s Guide To Teenage Humans (1:12)

Josh shares his story (6:31)

Josh talks about the turning point in his life as a teenager and how it altered the course of his life (9:12)

What does it mean to be “tough and tender” to teenagers? (12:59)

Why the teenage years are so critical (17:43)

The most important thing you can do for a teenager (20:39)

Josh talks about the “Babe Ruth Method” (23:49)

How do you gain the trust of a kid who’s been burned by adults? (28:05)

How to not take a teenager’s actions personally (31:28)

What youth ministry leaders need to understand about at-risk youth (36:58)

Dave and podcast producer, Kevin Jennings, share their thoughts on today’s podcast content (40:32)

People, Places & Helpful Resources

Featured Guests

Greg Bradford


Josh Shipp is an author, global youth empowerment expert, and acclaimed speaker. A former at-risk foster kid turned youth advocate, he is renowned for his documentary TV series (A&E), that followed his ground-breaking work with teens.

He is the author of the national bestseller “The Teen’s Guide to World Domination“, and was listed on Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30 list.

He’s spoken at universities such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT & UCLA.

He is a recognized teen expert for media outlets as MTV, CNN, FOX, The New York Times, 20/20, Good Morning America.

He’s worked with groups of parents, educators & mental health professionals plus has spoken to more than TWO Million teens live.

His ultimate goal is to help as many young people as possible. He trains other speakers through Youth Speaker University and his online mentoring program for teens A Year of Awesomeness has a world-wide reach. His free newsletter offers exclusive strategies to parents, educators, and youth workers.

Quotes from This Episode

Ideas to Influence the Next Generation

Regain trust by being consistent.

Show up every time on time. This is a critical time when teens are looking to see who they can trust. Delivering your promises rebuilds their trust.

Put a time limit on difficult conversations.

When you set a time for how long the difficult or awkward conversation will last, it gives teens a sense of control.

Don’t take a teenager’s actions personally.

Pushing back and pushing buttons is what teenagers do to test who will be consistent in their lives. Now is the time to lean into them.

Conversation Starters For Your Church

How can we create opportunities to rebuild trust and certainty with the teens in our ministry?

As ministry leaders, leading teens can be hard. Who do you have to vent to and celebrate wins with? If you don’t have anyone, who are the three people in your life who can be your support system?

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 daveadamson.tv.

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.