Darren Youngstrom

Setting Priorities in Transitions and Seeing 10X Growth from a Missional Focus

About The Episode


“The church is God’s vehicle to get the answer to people’s longings in their heart to them, and if people have been without a church long enough, then I know their spirit is going to be hungry.” Meet Darren Youngstrom, Lead Pastor at New Vintage Church in Santa Rosa. Today’s conversation brings an authentic glimpse into the transition role of a lead pastor. Darren is honest and vulnerable about his trials and hardships. But he also sheds light on the many ways God is clearly on the move in the midst of it all.

Welcome to Episode 079 of the Leaders in Living Rooms Podcast with Sean Morgan. 

Insights From Darren Youngstrom

The Pastor’s Spouse

  • It’s important to be mindful of the life-change and transition not only for the pastor, but for the spouse as well. 
  • Pay attention to the concerns of your spouse, and take care of them as you both transition.

Surprising Parts of Pastoral Transition

  • When a pastor is making a transition, it can be tricky to make a new place home. 
    • No one knows you yet.
    • You might not be greeted in the grocery store like you used to be.
    • It can be lonely, and a bit of a shock from your previous experience.
  • You might find yourself trying to prove yourself to the staff, church, board, etc. Don’t fall into this temptation.

Looking for comfort in the wrong ways

  • As seasons of transition hit each pastor differently, don’t find your comfort in the wrong things.
    • You are a real person, you’re not perfect, and you’re not above falling into the trap of finding comfort in the wrong ways.
  • Instead, choose the right comfort
    • Your Heavenly Father
    • Friends
    • Family
  • Don’t make pastoring a performance or a show. Separate your identity from your performance.


  • God humbles us to let us recognize our need for Him.
  • Don’t trust a leader who doesn’t walk “with a limp.” Overcoming your trials will give you wisdom down the road.

Transition Year Tips

  • Celebrate the outgoing pastor
  • Make easy changes, like painting—where you can establish leadership without disrupting things in a big way.
  • Join a cohort. (There are conversations happening about these roles/transitions.)
  • Listen to wisdom from your spouse’s perspective.
  • Be real with people
  • Have friends outside of ministry
  • Have a hobby that’s not connected to ministry

Fresh Eyes and Team Eyes

  • Hiring internally and externally are both helpful. One brings a cultivated investment, and the other brings a fresh perspective. 
  • Surround yourself with people who can help streamline your vision for potential new staff.
  • Many leaders are optimists, but you can miss gaps. So, learn to rely on trusted voices.

The Elder's Role

  • Pray, pray, pray!
  • Lead pastors need you to love them.
  • Give practical advice, be relational.

Transition from Student Ministry to Adult Ministry

  • Trust that God has called you to this transition.
  • Be ok with the fact that you’re learning.
  • You’ve got what it takes; use your past experience. 
  • (Adults are basically grown up teenagers.)

Episode Links

New Vintage Church

If you’re a leader approaching a succession or transition. Or maybe you’re a few years in and beginning to see how complex transitions leadership is… go to The Art of Pastoral Succession and checkout my brand new course in partnership with Carey Nieuwhof. 

Are you in Transition or have one on the horizon? Check out our 2023 cohorts and get connected with us at: https://theascentleader.org/cohorts/ 

Who Is Darren Youngstrom?

Darren is the lead pastor at New Vintage Church in Santa Rosa. He and his wife Mollie moved their family across the country from Atlanta, Ga, in August of 2020 to help rebuild a church in a highly unchurched city. Prior to his time in Santa Rosa, Darren was the Director of the high school ministry at North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He got his start in ministry with Student Venture, the high school ministry of Cru. For nearly 20 years, Darren spent his time pushing Jesus to teenagers, primarily in public school settings. He credits his experiences with Cru and his training at North Point with his preparation to lead a church in an unchurched part of the country. His hobbies include coaching track at a local high school, coaching his girls in basketball, and building sick hotwheels tracks with his 4 year old son.

Sponsors & Partners

Thanks to our sponsor: Food For The Hungry. Combine your church’s heart for the poor and Food for the Hungry’s global experience at fh.org/churches

Quotes From Episode

“The church is God’s vehicle to get the answer to people’s longings in their heart to them, and if people have been without a church long enough, then I know their spirit is going to be hungry.”

“I want to go where people are hungry.”

“God has to humble us and let us recognize that you don’t live off of your success, you don’t live off of your followers. You live off of what [He] gives you.”

“You can’t ‘over-take-care-of’ your spouse.”

Listen to Recent Episodes

About the Host

Sean Morgan is a coach and speaker with a national reputation as a catalyst of fresh vision. His passion is to help ministries navigate obstacles and turn them into opportunities.

Throughout his career, Sean has pioneered initiatives impacting thousands of leaders across the country. He started out serving as Executive Pastor and CFO at New Life Church in northern California.

As host, Sean gives you access to amazing conversations, hard-won wisdom, and poignant insights from world-class leaders in intimate “living room” settings.

Your Host

Sean Morgan

Leaders in Living Rooms
Craft & Character

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