RYM 080: What To Do When Real Life Collides With Youth Ministry

Youth ministry leaders aren’t exempt from the tougher moments and seasons of life. And whether it’s a difficult relationship, financial mess, unexpected illness of a loved one, or something else, when life gets hard and we want to check out, we still have students who need us to show up week after week. Join us this week as we talk about what it looks like to lead a youth ministry well and navigate life’s difficult moments at the same time—and in a healthy way.

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  • Podcast guests Crystal Chiang, Candice Wynn, and Brett Talley share their real life struggles while leading youth ministry (1:29)
  • Some real life challenges youth ministry leaders face personally that can make leading a challenge (8:32)
  • Processing grief communally (23:27)
  • What it looks like to stay healthy as we’re leading through life’s tough moments (26:58)
  • We can only be as healthy as our church staff is (31:43)
  • What to do in really difficult life moments (33:54)


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CJ is the Managing Editor for XP3 High School at Orange and one of the hosts and producers of Rethinking Youth Ministry, a podcast raising the bar for student leaders everywhere. CJ has been leading small groups for middle school students at North Point Community Church since 2007, which means he’s probably spent more time talking to middle schoolers than adults in his life. He also placed 5th in his 8th grade class field day fun run. CJ and his wife, Teri, live in Alpharetta, Georgia, with their son, Harley, and their robot vacuum, Barbara.


Candice Wynn currently serves as an Orange Students Specialist. After graduating from Florida A&M University and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Candice became an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Since then, she has served as both a Youth and Next Generation Pastor for over 13 years in the Southeast. Candice is infatuated with all things urban and artsy.  As such, she and her husband, Maxim, often spend their weekends creating graffiti art, baking cupcakes with their two children, Mason and Sunni, or sneaking off for a date—when they can find a sitter.



Brett is an XP3 Orange Specialist with Orange after spending 11 years in full time ministry. He’s been married to his amazing wife since 2004. They have three amazing and hilarious kids who constantly keep them busy and laughing. He loves baseball, golf and makes amazing turkey melt sandwiches (if he has the time and ingredients, otherwise they’re just average).



Crystal is the Executive Director of Student Strategy at at Orange. Before that, she spent 10 years as a high school teacher and student ministry leader, doing everything from leading small groups to speaking to curriculum design. Crystal and her husband, Tom, live in Alpharetta, GA with an ill-tempered chihuahua named Javier.

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Orange Conference 2018