MISSIONS INSIDER BLOG

Read frontline missions stories, watch inspiring videos, and get helpful how to's about missions and discipleship.

Subscribe Today

Ben Venable

Ben Venable

Ben has been a full-time missionary with YWAM for 6.5 years, where he currently staffs an annual Urban Discipleship Training School and helps foster longterm missional communities in different cities across the U.S. Ben is a proud (in the righteous way!) Texan and loves few things more than acoustic guitars, Dr. Pepper, and good conversation and laughs with his dear friends.

Recent posts by Ben Venable

2 min read

Connection Requires Eye Contact

By Ben Venable on 18 Oct 2017

Every day we are bombarded with a seemingly endless onslaught of self-help mantras, get rich quick schemes, and “7 steps to becoming a better you” trivialities, all of which seem to be numbing our collective ability to actually interact as humans. If you take a minute to look up from your cellular device and simply observe how everyone else around you is totally absorbed by their cellular device, it’s actually kind of harrowing.

Topics: Purpose Connection Communication
2 min read

Find Your Purpose with the YWAM URBAN DTS

By Ben Venable on 19 Jul 2017

It doesn’t take an astute observer to realize that there are many things in the world today that are not as they should be. Modern society is like a piece of shattered plexiglass; it’s still intact, but its integrity is compromised. The entire framework of our human reality is filled with cracks and fissures, all of which can and should be fixed by focusing and investing into our vertical relationship with God, which in turn smooths out our horizontal relationships with others.

Topics: Urban Missions Cities Evangelism Life-Changing YWAM DTS Poverty Making Him Known Community Hope Urban DTS Urbanization World Changer Transformation Missions in America God's Love America
2 min read

Can I hear God in Urban America?

By Ben Venable on 21 Jun 2017

Most modern day Christians would, I think, be tempted to balk and perhaps even scoff at the idea of seeking God in the middle of some of the most highly populated cities on the planet. I can’t recall any church I’ve ever been to offering a men’s retreat to Skid Row in Los Angeles, or a women's retreat to the Miracle Mile in Chicago. What we typically refer to as “God's country” are legitimately beautiful places: snow capped mountains and sandy beach sunrises. The unfortunate truth of those places is that they are often devoid of God's most beloved creation: people.

Topics: God's voice Urban Missions Cities Noise
2 min read

I Decided to Give God One More Chance

By Ben Venable on 19 May 2017

Repeatedly punching my steering wheel and reminding God of how expertly He had crafted my middle finger had kind of become my thing. My west-Texan-pastors-kid bubble had officially popped. My former modicum of faith had been crushed under the weight of my cynicism, self pity, and reclusiveness, and I seriously wanted to die. Needless to say, my first (and as it turned out, my only) semester of college had not gone as planned.

With the majority of my time being spent sulking in my dorm room, illegally watching indie movies, and silently screaming for attention, I felt like any purpose I may have ever felt in life had entirely wilted away. I moved back home, donned a pastel visor, and scooped about a million pounds of ice cream for eight months, saving money in the hopes of one day finding an escape from my intellectual and spiritual despair.

Out of the divinely inspired blue, an old youth pastor called me up, excitedly informing me of his need for a worship leader for his current youth group's upcoming missions trip to New Orleans. I semi-begrudgingly accepted his proposal. Any excuse to not scoop ice cream was good enough for me, even if it meant faking Christianity for a week or so.

Somewhere in the sultry swampiness of a June evening in the French Quarter, God started tugging on my heart in a way I could relate to. I saw people who needed just what I needed. Relief. Peace. Hope. Humanity longs for a way to escape the confines of their mind and to trust in something bigger than themselves and bigger than the American dream.

I came home and told my parents that I realized I could live a better life, and I decided to give God one more chance. Youth With a Mission (YWAM) New Orleans was hosting a missionary training school called the Urban Discipleship Training School (UDTS), which I had heard about while on my mission trip in New Orleans. After a few weeks of hesitating, I sent in my application and held my breath.

During the UDTS, I came to realize that Christianity wasn’t about fitting a mold. I didn’t have to look, sound, act, or talk like whatever I thought the perfect Christian looked, sounded, acted, and talked like. I learned that what God desires above all else is honest relationship with His most valued creation. Us. Me. You. Living in community, serving the broken, pushing myself to prefer others in all of my actions, and learning how to be myself in the midst of loving God...these are all things I never considered before doing the UDTS.

I never turned back. Seven years later, I’m still seeking God wholeheartedly as a missionary and staff member with the UDTS. Some days are better than others, of course, but every day I am reminded of who I was, and who I am now. The difference isn’t found in any book or song or movie or good idea; it’s found in believing that God hears me.

If He hears me, He hears you too.

Topics: Purpose Urban Missions Relationship with God
4 min read

Divine Appointments are Real!

Has God ever prompted you to do something but you overlooked the opportunity?

I recently was thinking of this phrase,...

2 min read

How DTS Set Me Free

Fighting for my relationship with God 24/7 was one of the most challenging actions I've ever taken in my life, however,...
2 min read

The Day I Got Saved

My phone buzzed on silent mode in my pocket while I was busy just doing normal old stuff. But that vibrating buzz...

2 min read

Why You Should Read the Bible Every Day

Every year for the past 20 years I've read through the entire Bible. I remember the daunting task of the daily reading...

3 min read

The Greatest New Year’s Resolution I Ever Made

You have heard the stories in the Bible. In Genesis, God said to Abram, “Go…”. In Matthew, Jesus calls Simon (Peter)...

4 min read

Have You Heard the Bells?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is commonly known as 'America's Poet,' and the recent film by Sight & Sound, brought the...

5 min read

4 Earth Shattering Truths I Learned on my DTS Outreach

After sitting in three months of mind-blowing DTS classes, I was ready to get our there into the real world with the...

4 min read

Fundraising Doesn't Have To Suck

Fundraising is a huge part of missions. Whether you are raising money for yourself to be supported as a missionary, or...

2 min read

Discipleship is the Key to Missions

This is me with one of only 800 copies of the Bible in the Sakari language. Honestly, it was a holy movement grasping...

3 min read

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving

The tradition of celebrating a Thanksgiving holiday is a wonderful part of American life. Although this holiday is...

3 min read

God Is Moving in Ukraine

We receive urgent requests for prayer almost daily from Ukraine. It is incredible how God can orchestrate ministry even...

4 min read

What You Need to Know Before Taking a Gap Year

What if you could graduate high school, and you and your friends could travel the world with purpose? Would you...