The Youth Ministry Mindset Podcast – Ep. 7: Content is Not King with guest Jim Beckman

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In Episode 7 of The Youth Ministry Mindset Podcast, a limited series with voices from Alpha and YDisciple, Joshua, Annie, and Jordan bring Jim Beckman, the founding architect of YDisciple, into the discussion on the relationship between content and the culture of youth ministry. Join us as we continue the conversation about how youth ministry could look in a post-COVID world.

Jim Beckman currently works for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He has been in youth ministry for many years and became the founding architect of YDisciple after experiencing a new and renewed vision for youth ministry. 

Content is a vehicle for discipling teenagers, it is not King, but it is critical. Jesus is King; content leads to that truth. Relationships are the conduit for everything we do in ministry. Our relationships with youth aim at introducing them to Jesus, who is with them their whole life. Ministry events can thrive, but if this relationship with Christ doesn’t go into the rest of the teen’s life, then what’s the point? 

The current culture is a tsunami of opposition to the faith. We need to think of the context youth are coming from. Because content and context go hand in hand, we need to invite parents into ministry and evangelize the family. We need a marriage between sharing the content of faith with the lived relationship with Christ and others amid culture.

Gen Z is asking questions like, “What difference does this make in my life?” And the answers matter. Gen Z represents the Kingdom well, but they don’t know the King. And if they could just fall in love with Jesus, this could be the most active, mobile, missionary, empathetic generation we’ve ever seen. 

How do we build a culture which supports the fullness of relationship with Christ? We need to pay attention to spiritual and physical reality because everything we do is through this dual lens. This allows us to peel back layers and show hidden Truth; revealing identity to young people.

Fundamental groups of discipleship are found in small groups; this sets them up for the rest of their lives. Therefore, small group ministry needs to provide content but cultivate that content with appropriate intimacy in a relationship, which starts with a willingness to enter into a real relationship out of authentic care for these teens. 

As adults, we are invited to the radical adventure of relationship with our Savior. We are overcome by and transformed by his love. We are made alive through that love in a way we can’t contain. If you want to be good at this, get close to Jesus.  


It’s all about creating a space for relationships. Be in love with Jesus, and ministry will come from the overflow. Disciple-making is about the people, not the program. We, as youth ministers,  are given the freedom to start again fresh and not just do what we’ve always done. Content is a means to the relationship with Jesus.


  1. Franciscan University of Steubenville 
  2. Young Servant with Elisha – 2 Kings 6:17-20
  3. The Lost Art of Disciple Making by LeRoy Elms


3:40 “If the point of all of this is for young people to know and love Jesus, well you can’t love what you don’t know.”

13:35 “The landscape has changed so dramatically just in the last two years –this may be controversial– but I would actually venture that youth ministry as we know it is over.”

16:30 “We’re not just engaging young people in relationships to be friends with them. We’re engaging them in relationship to taking them on this amazing adventure that is the transforming experience of what lifelong discipleship is.”

17:18 “There has to be a marriage between an authentic expression and sharing of the content of faith with the lived experience of the faith that happens in the context of mentoring, in the context of relationship, in a  culture that embraces the young person.”

23:40 “Fundamentally, we have a sacramental reality that is lost on the vast majority of people.”

31:57 “Once they realize that you really love them, you just can’t get rid of them.”



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