GENERAL COACHING

April brings the fusion of ministry experience and coaching expertise. She understands the on-the-ground challenges leaders face and is also able to offer high level perspectives that help frame your ministry hurdles and opportunities. The best coaches can offer both support and challenge and April delivers.
— Dr. Steven Argue (Ass't Prof of Youth, Family, + Culture and Applied Research Strategist, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA)
April is incredibly knowledgable, wise, strategic, caring, and thoughtful. With her assistance, we were able to navigate change, plan for the future, and execute difficult decisions. She did not come in with a “copy/paste” gameplan or strategy, but truly sought to know us, our culture, and the calling God has placed upon us. Every person involved felt genuinely cared for and was challenged to take things to the next level, for the sake of the Kingdom. We are beyond grateful!
— Mike Deltser (Lead Pastor of Next Generation, Pure Heart, Glendale, AZ)
My experience with April was truly life changing! Going into the coaching experience, I was very uncomfortable with all the unknowns, but she set my mind at ease in the first five minutes! My time with her was completely tailored to where I was, what I was hoping to accomplish, and my plan for the future. She took into consideration all the roles in my life (i.e. wife, mom, leader in the church, etc), focusing on whole health, not just my role professionally. She challenged me to be the best version of myself as Christ created me to be! For this, I am forever grateful!
— Kourtney Avila (Family Pastor, New Life Christian Center, Turlock, CA)
Like a loving punch to the throat, April makes you question everything you thought you knew about leadership. After ten years of ministry, lots of formal education, and three separate ministry contexts, I needed to hit the restart button on my leadership development. April was that restart button. As a coach, she has helped me in my character development, competency, and overall leadership impact. I gained a valuable, workable framework for personal development that continues to produce fruit. Those I lead are now better equipped, my staff team is more supportive, and my family is healthier. But above all, I’m seeing Jesus work in amazing ways!
— Joel DeMott (Youth and Young Adult Pastor, Clinton Frame Church, Goshen, IN )
April was truly AMAZING! When I shared a story about some youth with special needs, she opened my eyes to a new opportunity for ministry. With her coaching, encouragement and ideas, we started a ministry to help get our families with youth who have special needs more involved. It’s thriving; we have families coming to worship who haven’t been in years and now they’re inviting other families/youth with similar needs. I’m so thankful that she helped me address this need in our church; I’ve been blessed to be walking with these youth/families in their faith journey.
— Hannah Gordon (Director of Middle School Youth Ministry, Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC)
I was a part of EDEN, a Leadership Cohort that April led a few years back. It was amazing to experience first hand the joy of being led by April. She’s a leader who discerns. She stands in front to lead, walks alongside to assure and knows when to stand behind to support. She has been all three roles for me and it changed the trajectory of my life. Leadership does not have to be a lonely place with leaders like April. She has become true friend in my journey.
— Rehana Rodriguez (Spiritual Development Pastor, Newsong Church, Santa Ana, CA)
Our team was struggling to move ahead in the same direction when we began working with April in a coaching relationship. April was able to discern our strengths and differences, move us through exercises to focus our conversations and dreams, and bring clarity to our foggy future. April’s unique approach is both pastoral and strategic. As a result of time with her, we were able to make concrete decisions for a preferred future in our ministry.
— Cindy Ziemba (Director of Next Gen Ministry, Ward Church, Northville, MI)
April is a one-of-a kind coach. April was my first coach, and that brought a little nervousness; however, talking with her for the first time relieved all anxiety. April was available, approachable, and professional - with flare of fun. When I needed to discuss a ministry idea she would challenge, encourage and help me get to a level of passion that would enhance the ministry. Working with her was an experience that continues to pay dividends for the church, my profession and the kingdom! Thank you for continuing to equip the church!
— Jonathan Kopecky (Student Pastor, Hope Seattle, Seattle, WA)

THE YOUTH CARTEL COACHING

I cannot say enough good things about my experience with The Youth Cartel in general or my 1-on-1 coaching experience with April Diaz, in particular. I’ve been doing this a long time…almost 20 years…so long that your vision gets blurry, like when you stare at something without blinking for a while. Fresh eyes, ears, and perspective are just what the doctor ordered on a recent sabbatical, and April packed a whole lot of affirmation, challenge, and wisdom into an hour. I heard “I totally get it” plenty of times, which made me feel less alone in my angst and tension. But she also held my feet to the fire on some points where I needed to be taken to task. In short, I got off the call with plenty to process through, including 2-3 practical steps to take on my own moving forward. I can’t imagine that a better coaching service exists, and the next time I need to blink and snap out of it, I’ll be calling the Cartel again. I would recommend it as an annual check-up for every student pastor in the country.
— Titus Benson, Student Pastor
Participation in a cohort with The Youth Cartel is an active choice to fully engage in your personal and professional ministry life. It’s choosing to acknowledge the beauty in your life. It’s leaning into the yucky, messy parts that we want to hide. Yes, you’ll learn skills and collect tools to be a better youth pastor, but maybe more importantly, you’ll refine your identity and become a better follower of Jesus.
— Erin Betlej, Youth Minister
Being a woman in youth ministry comes with its own set of joys, challenges and learning curves; being a part of a coaching program through TYC helped provide a space where all of those unique elements could be discussed, where resources could be shared, and where I knew I would be welcomed and understood. Coaching sessions throughout the year allowed for asking the hardest and (sometimes) most ridiculous questions, knowing that an experienced and skilled mentor would be walking the vocational ministry journey alongside me. I especially appreciated the emphasis on leadership materials developed by women!
— Rebekah Strobel, Youth Pastor
The Women in Youth Ministry Cohort was exactly what I needed in this phase of my ministry journey. I had been looking for something like this for a long time and as soon as I hear about this cohort, I knew this was an answer to prayer. Being a part of this cohort for the last few months has been a breath of fresh air and such an encouragement to me in my personal life and ministry context. This is an opportunity I would recommend for any woman in a youth ministry role, especially to those who find themselves serving in an area where they aren’t many other females in ministry to connect with on a regular basis.
— Jessica Charney, Pastor + Professor
It’s hard being a youth worker. It’s especially hard being a female youth worker. Since I began my career in youth ministry, I’ve lost track of often I’ve felt alone. That’s one of the reasons why I appreciate The Youth Cartel so much. They’re constantly investing in women by providing us with unique training opportunities like this conference and resources written by women, both of which make me feel a little less alone. The Youth Cartel does so not just because it’s good for business, but because it’s good for the church.
— Jen Bradbury, Youth Pastor + Author
This (women in youth ministry) cohort has been such a defining chapter of my life because I have learned to face my fears of failure, of the unknown, of not being good enough, and of so many things outside of my control. I have learned that my fears can’t control me and that God is so much bigger than any fear I could ever face. I have learned that I have something to offer this world and that shouldn’t be silenced. I have been taught to step out even when I think I am not good enough.
— Andrea Sawtelle, Pastor