Gary Hartke

Global Director

What motivates you to work with youth?
The pizza and doughnuts! And then, of course, there is the participating with young people who are navigating a new world in adolescence. Youth ministry is an opportunity to help youth discover who they are in Christ in this most transitional phase of life. I have seen the difference that youth ministry makes in the lives of youth and believe more than ever in its importance.

How many years have you been in youth ministry?
31 years

What is the best book you have read relating to youth ministry?
There are many, many great books on youth ministry. The best book I have read recently is Sticky Faith by Kara Powell. This book provides a philosophy of ministry that can inform other areas of ministry. I chose this book because it looks at youth ministry from the perspective of lifetime impact.

What’s the best advice you can give a youth leader?  
Cultivate a vibrant and rich relationship with God, show youth what that looks like, and invite them to seek the same. Keep your focus on God and His purposes.

What’s the best advice you can give to parents of youth?
Stay involved in the life of your children and provide prayer support, encouragement, and stability.

What would you like the church to know about today’s youth?
Youth need to be significantly involved in the local church. Engage them in the dreaming, planning, and ministry.