In January I had the incredible privilege of attending two YouthCUE events. 

The first you read about in a previous posting. That one was in California, the other one was in Florida. 

Both were excellent and both offered me some wonderful insights from my fellow youth choir enthusiasts. 

This is a compilation of some of the things I overheard as I soaked up the wisdom that was running rampant in those rooms. 

Now, the picture above, while beautiful I didn’t take it in either California or Florida. I took that off the coast of Haiti—my favorite part is the practically invisible sliver of a moon about the sunset. (I am just throwing that in for free) 

Since this is going to be on the internet, I will just put people’s first names, but if you want to learn more from that person just contact me (at [email protected]) and I will give you their contact information. 

By the way, on each of these quotes, trust me, they said SO much more. I am just giving the highlights. 


Mary told us the story of a high school cellist that she knows who had the opportunity to sit in the Atlanta orchestra side by side with one of the top cellists in the country and play a concert. 

She talked about how, far more than just that performance, what that did for that kid’s confidence. 

That sense of I CAN do this, I can play in a top orchestra if I decide to work hard enough to do that. 

Music reveals its secrets to us when we take the time to work it, look at it, learn it. 


What would happen if we lived inside a concept of radical hospitality? 

She believes that God has called her (and us) to just that. 

Make EVERYONE feel welcome no matter—no matter—who they are. 

Foster a welcoming culture, talk to kids about talking TO each other not through their devices. 

You live in YOUR version of “normal” just like I do. 

Your version of normal is is just as real to you as mine is to me. 


Recently, my position changed at my church. 

Now, my position will include adults. 

Now, I have all of these areas to pour myself into. 

I want to be excellent at everything, but when I do that I think that I am mediocre at everything. 

How can I fix that? 

When the normal is constantly changing. What do you do? 

Decide between— Urgent vs not important. 

Then decide between important vs less important. 

How much of our energy have we spent in “knee jerk” reaction on the unimportant and NOT the urgent? 

Each day, the thing that you LEAST want to do—do that one first. 

He then referenced a book entitled “Eat the Frog” the premise is this: 

if you have a whole list of things that you have to do that day and ONE of them is to eat a frog (figuratively speaking). 

Then, eat the frog FIRST! 

Don’t be surprised that ministry often happens in interruptions. 


I have learned how God has used perceived “deficiencies” in my life. 

In the ministry world I have two strikes against me—a woman, and I do not have a seminary degree or an advanced degree. 

I have an education degree and years of teaching experience. 

Now I have a new strike—I am over 50 

But here is what I CAN do! 

Because I am a woman I can assess skills to everyone’s advantage more quickly, and because I am an experienced teacher, I can teach anyone just about anything. 

Since I am 50+ I can speak my mind—I can speak truth, there is a great deal of freedom in being HEARD. 


Joe reminded us that like the old Real Estate adage—the three most important things in real estate is 

Location. Location. Location. 

He reminded us that in MINISTRY the three most important things to do is to: 

Love People. Love People. Love People. 

He gave a lot of examples, but one he mentioned was writing a personal note to all the graduating seniors. 

He is amazed at how many times they will keep those notes for a very long time. 


This guy REALLY knows how to use apps to minister to the fullest. 

I am going to list his top thirteen list of the ones that he uses, but you really need to hear this from him to learn HOW he does it. 

(we might get him to write a blog JUST about that someday!) 

Here is his list: 







Ink Cards 

High Note 




Manager Tools 


If you have ever been in a room when the entire room was slack jaw in disbelief—this was that moment for me.

Wait—I have GOT to get my phone involved in this ministry of mine! 


He brought up some great questions.

How does the church get outside that box they are in? 

This current generation is disillusioned with church and with God—how can we change that? 

How do we shape our choirs to make beautiful music and connect us to God? 

How do we make our choirs a welcoming faith? 

How can we be a welcoming space for non-believers to connect with God? 

Randy (not me) 

Think of youth choir as a mutual fund. 

There are 4 distinct advantages of being in the youth choir, the director and the student put different “amounts” in each. 

At the end of the year, they get a “return” on their “investment.” 

Here they are: 

Spiritual Dimension 

Musical Dimension (gospel is shared most effectively through the arts) 

Emotional Dimension 

Social Dimension 

Some years the kids are really into the spiritual, that is where they are investing in the choir. 

Some years, not so much, but more into just the social. 

Sometimes the group of kids really want to scale the heights of musical performance, other years not. 

The point, for the director, is this: 

don’t fret if the kids are not as musical or as spiritual as you want, 

take them right where they are and lead them on and on to greater things. 

See, you can learn a lot at a YouthCUE event—keep listening!