tGP: An interview with Brad Griffin of Fuller Youth Institute

I had a spectacular time talking with Brad Griffin, Director of the Fuller Youth Institute, about his new book, Growing Young (2016), a research driven book looking into the fabric of exemplary churches that have figured out their ‘secret sauce’ to not only forming lasting faith in their children and youth, but have flourishing active young adult participation.

In this interview Brad talks about these qualities that this research uncovered that seems to help congregations “grow young” as well as offer some wisdom for you about creating a ‘sticky faith’ culture in your own church.

If you have yet to discover the Fuller Youth Institute, check them out and sign up for their insightful newsletter which provides the latest in youth culture, development, and faith.

Brad M. Griffin is the Director of the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger (, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of the forthcoming Growing Young (fall 2016), several Sticky Faith ​books (see, Right Click: Parenting Your Teenager in a Digital Media World, and the series Can I Ask That?: 8 Hard Questions about God and Faith. Brad and his family live in Southern California. Twitter: @bgriffinfyi




Meet the Worship Team

Episode 18

“Meet the Orlando ’17 Youth Worship Team Leaders!”

Listen now as Rachel interviews the youth worship team leaders for Orlando ’17:  Jon Heinly, Seth Crissman, and Jeremy Ours*.  In this podcast, become acquainted with the personalities who will be leading on (and off) stage, and discover the flow for the week of worship.

*Rachel apologizes for misspelling Jeremy’s last name in the video. Gulp!*

April–A Look Into Convention: Love is a Verb




As you plan summer schedule, we hope that the week of July 4-8th is reserved for the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando, FL!  This month The Gathering Place will be featuring perspectives from some of the planners of this year’s theme, “Love is a Verb”! We hope that the perspectives provided will offer you a brief glance into what to expect the week of convention–an amazing faith formation event that is not one to miss!


“The Inside Scoop on Orlando ’17” with Convention Planning Staff, Glen Guyton, Sarah Chase, and Scott Hartman on Friday, April 21 at 1pm EDT.

Join this informational webinar where the convention staff will answer all of your questions about Orlando ’17, and you get the insider track on what to expect, where to go, and tips to prepare! Sign up today!

“Meet the Youth Worship Team Leaders!”

Listen now as Rachel interviews the youth worship team leaders for Orlando ’17:  Jon Heinly, Seth Crissman, and Jeremy Ours.  In this podcast, become acquainted with the personalities who will be leading on (and off) stage, and discover the flow for the week of worship.

Study Circle

“Preparing for Orlando ’17: Love is a Verb”

Shana Peachey Boshart will be hosting this month’s study circle with Leo Hartshorn’s Love is a Verb Spiritual Practices Resource that will provide a solid framework for your group to prepare for this important faith formation event. Sign up today to join this conversation on Tuesday, April 18th at 3:30pm EDT.


tGP Podcast: An interview with Marty Troyer

In this tGP podcast, Rachel interviews Marty Troyer, affectionately known as the “Peace Pastor” where he serves at Houston Mennonite Church, Texas.  Marty recently wrote The Gospel Next Door: Following Jesus Right Where You Are and talks with The Gathering Place about how to enliven youth’s spiritual imagination to live out the gospel in your own communities. Maybe you don’t have to go to another country to do ‘missions.’ Maybe it is a lot closer than you think.

tGP Podcast: An interview with Mark DeVries

In this interview, Rachel talks with Mark DeVries, president/founder of Ministry Architects, about how to recruit, train, and lead a healthy volunteer team. Mark spells out his 100% guarantee on how to form a volunteer team without guilting, shaming, or pulling your hair out!

Mark DeVries is the founder of MINISTRY ARCHITECTS (2002), a consulting team that moves churches “beyond stuck” and strategically forward. Having worked with over 650 churches, Ministry Architects has helped build sustainable ministries for youth, children, families and young adults, as well as providing strategic coaching for entire churches and their senior leadership.

Mark served as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee for 28 years. Though Mark resigned his position as youth pastor in 2014, he now serves at First Presbyterian as a volunteer associate pastor.

Mark is a graduate of Baylor University and Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of several books, including Family-Based Youth Ministry, Sustainable Youth Ministry, and The Most Important Year of a Man’s/Woman’s Life and the Indispensable Youth Pastor, which he co-authored with Jeff Dunn-Rankin.

Mark and his wife, Susan, live in Nashville and have three grown children (Adam, Debbie, and Leigh) and three grandchildren.

tGP Podcast–An Interview with Nancy Kauffmann

nancyThis month on tGP podcast, Rachel talks with Nancy Kauffmann who presently serves as Denominational Minister of Mennonite Church USA and is a part of the Panel for Sexual Abuse Prevention.

Nancy and her team have been tirelessly working on the newly updated Ministerial Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure for the denomination’s credentialed (and non-credentialed) leaders.  In this interview, Rachel talks with Nancy about how ministering people can keep healthy boundaries and ways to safeguard everyone in your youth group.

Before Nancy was in her current role, she served 9 years as a Conference Regional Minister for Indiana Michigan Mennonite Conference, and before that she spent 19 years on the Pastoral Team at College Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN (part of that time was Associate Pastor for Youth and Young adults).

Nancy has a grown son who lives in Manhattan, NY and a son who lives in Portland, OR with his spouse and daughter.

She is a graduate from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary with a Master of Divinity and School of Theology at Claremont, CA with a Doctorate of Ministry.

**Apologies for the technical issues with Rachel’s sound. It does get better as the podcast continues.**

tGP interview with Barbra Graber

In this podcast interview, Rachel Gerber interviews Barbra Graber, a sexual abuse survivor, editor of Our Stories Untold (a website for sexual abuse survivors within the Mennonite Church to share their stories), and founding member of SNAPmenno, the Mennonite chapter of the international Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. In this podcast, Barbra talks about safe practices, self-care, advocacy, and sexual abuse prevention.