About Wes Ellis

Wes Ellis is the Associate Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Toms River, New Jersey. He received an M.Div. and an M.A. in Christian Education from Princeton Theological Seminary and he's been in youth ministry for over 10 years. He's currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from University of Aberdeen and he lives in New Jersey with his wife Amanda and their son, Henry.
Wes also blogs at whateverisgood.blogspot.com and contributes to the Princeton Institute for Youth Ministry and Kindred.

Friends of Time: youth ministry and the clock

Youth workers come in all shapes and sizes, but they tend to have at least this one thing in common: they are busy! Youth workers are some of the busiest people on the planet, trying all the time to navigate the busy schedules of young people while also maintaining their regular scheduled programming and, in [Read More…]

Progressives, We Lost.

On Tuesday night, Nov. 8, millions of Americans sat down at their televisions, expecting to watch the election of the first female president of the United States. To so many, it seemed like the only reasonable expectation. Not only was Hillary Clinton winning in the polls, but the very thought of the United States electing [Read More…]

Let’s Repent

When I was growing up, I remember being taught about repentance. In fact, as I recall, repentance seemed to find its way into just about every youth group lesson my youth pastor gave. Repentance was what Christianity was all about in my conservative evangelical context. And it wasn’t just that we should repent because it’d [Read More…]

Peas and Carrots: Why young people don’t care and adults don’t know

There’s a lot of anxiety surrounding the question of young people and church. It would seem, these days, that the two aren’t exactly like peas and carrots. In fact, one could easily conclude, upon brief observation of what happens in your typical mainline worship service and its attendance, that church just isn’t for young people [Read More…]

Let’s Go on Mission Trips

“Ask teenagers in a church youth group what they mean by mission, and most of them will tell you about a hot week in July when they traveled to a poverty-stricken community to do home repair…” -Kenda Creasy Dean (Almost Christian, p. 96). In some progressive churches and youth ministries there is a push against the [Read More…]

Disabling Church

A few months ago I was invited to preach at a fairly large church in New Jersey. Two of the church’s worship services overlapped—a contemporary service and a traditional one—so I had to leave one service early, right after my sermon, to come in half-way through the other service, just in time to preach again. [Read More…]

Youth Ministry’s Eschatology Problem

Youth ministry has always been a place in the church for creativity and innovation. Kenda Creasy Dean has sometimes called it the “Research and Development Department” of the church. Perhaps it’s because youth workers are often a bit younger and less experienced than their Senior Pastors, so they don’t know any better. Or perhaps it’s [Read More…]

The Definition of Youth Ministry

Wes Ellis, one of our seminar leaders at PYM 16, has already written for us and will continue to be featured as a regular contributor. A couple of years ago, I was at a youth ministry conference in Philadelphia. There were about 150 people or so—youth workers from various denominations and backgrounds—all gathered to try [Read More…]

Human Beings, Not Just Human Becomings

Wes Ellis presented a seminar on this topic at PYM16. Wes is a Member In Discernment in the United Church of Christ and student at Princeton Theological Seminary, studying Practical Theology. He’s been in youth ministry for over 10 years and he’s passionate about theological reflection. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Amanda and [Read More…]