So you need to come up with another youth bible study or devotion and you are out of fresh ideas. You could google “Youth Bible Study” but there is no way to evaluate the usefulness, quality or theological appropriateness of what comes up.

The ELCA Youth Ministry Network has a resource for you.

Martin’s List.

This is a resource full of ideas and resources created, used and recommended by ELCA Youth and Family ministry leaders across the country.

Martin’s List was the brainchild of Shannon Savage-Howie, Network Resources & Martin’s List Director. She remembers:

“Several years ago while serving as a Children, Youth, and Family Minister in a congregation I found that I was increasingly frustrated in the world of youth ministry. While there was a multitude of resources to be found online for youth ministry, very little of it was Lutheran, and a lot of work had to be done to wade through the weak or conflicting theology presented in those resources. I was also getting frustrated constantly wondering if different organizations were worthwhile to partner with for trips or retreats.”

As a member of the ELCA Children, Youth & Family Ministry Network, she knew that there were resources out there, that there were wonderful organizations to be partnered with, but there was no place to go online that brought these pieces together. She saw her colleagues reinventing the wheel over and over again and knew there had to be a better way.

In conversations with Network Executive Director Todd Buegler, Savage-Howie realized that a resource that already existed on their website, Martin’s List, could be expanded and revamped to be the crowdsourcing service she imagined for her colleagues.

“It took several years to get to where it is now with the new launch. We kept running into the problem of having ideas that were bigger or too complicated for the current web capabilities, and not being able to find the right tech and web support to build what we were looking for.

Finally, Todd pointed me in the direction of Christopher Harris and Faith Growth last September. It was the perfect match! He and his team caught our vision and brought in new energy to make it happen. They worked tirelessly so that we could get it built and running for a launch by the Extravaganza last month. “


The result of this visioning, collaborating, and hard work is Martin’s List, an online, user-friendly, interactive resource sharing site.


ml4Anyone familiar with social media platforms will be right at home at this site. Users all have profiles so you can see who has shared and recommended a resource. Not only can you download any resource, you can add comments as to how you used or revised it to fit your context. You “nail” (as in Martin’s thesis”) an idea to save for later.

“It’s like Pinterest for youth workers”, says Assistant to the Bishop, Pastor Mark Anderson.

You can search for ideas based on topics or tags. (Note: Northeastern Iowa Synod folk are heavy contributors to this site and we have our own tag NEIA). You can also see what resources are trending.

“This site has helped the network to live into its highly relational and supportive nature online in real and tangible ways that sometimes are only felt in person at the Extravaganza” notes Savage-Howie.

Kelsey Richert, Director of Youth and Family at Redeemer Lutheran in Waverly calls it “Crack for Youth Ministers!” and has spent hours perusing the site.

The only catch is that to use it, you must be a member of the ELCA Children, Youth and Family Ministry Network. But if you have anything at all to do with youth and family ministry, you should join! As I explain in Why You should Join the ELCA Youth Ministry Network.
Martin’s List
To Join the Network

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.




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