Be a Hub of Revival - The Greg Stier Youth Ministry Podcast
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.

The Greg Stier Youth ministry Podcast

episode 20 | August 2022

In this episode, Greg sits down with author, speaker, and Youth Pastor, Zane Black. They discuss the long partnership they’ve had in ministry, some funny early memories, and some of the struggles of doing Gospel Advancing youth ministry today. Greg and Zane also speak with youth leader, Matt McDermott, to follow up on the discussion.


0:00:02.9 Greg Stier: Hi. Welcome to The Greg Stier Youth Ministry Podcast. I believe in the power of the gospel and the potential of teens and also believe that the best way to get teens to grow is to get them to go. I encourage you to subscribe to the podcast, rate it, review it, help us spread the word to youth leaders. It is time for our revolution in youth ministry that will result in every teen everywhere here in the gospel from a friend. I’m super stoked about today’s guest, a good friend of mine, Zane Black, he’s the founder of Lovin Life. It’s a nonprofit committed to awakening and cultivating this generation to live life to its fullest in Christ. It wasn’t until after high school that Zane, discovered following Jesus is the greatest adventure in life, but he now travels the nation, including many Dare 2 Share events. He speaks to teenagers about Jesus, been on the Winter Jam tours, spoke at festivals, camps. He lives with his wife, Rachel, three children, LJ, Steiner, and Jet in Minnesota, where he also ministers to teens through his local church, Grace Church, Eden Prairie. One of my favorite churches on the planet. And Zane, is one of my best friends on this earth. I love Zane Black. Zane, welcome to the podcast.

0:01:20.5 Zane Black: Yeah. Thanks Greg. Good to see you. It’s awesome to be here.

0:01:24.3 GS: Yeah, man. So glad. And I wanna welcome your mustache too…


0:01:28.8 GS: Because it is an awesome mustache.


0:01:31.6 ZB: So literally I texted you right before to ask if it was video or audio, and when you said video 10 minutes ago, I decided to shave my beard. So I could [laughter] have a mustache.


0:01:42.9 ZB: For such a moment as this. I did check with my wife. I was like, “Rachel can I shave to have a mustache?” And she was like, “Why?” I was like, “‘Cause I’m gonna be on a podcast with Greg.”


0:01:52.3 ZB: She goes, “Sure.” [chuckle]

0:01:55.4 GS: That’s right. I wanna welcome you and your mustache. So we’ve been… Man, we’ve been at this a long time together. Remind me and tell the listeners, how did we first met? What were some of those first encounters between Zane Black, Greg Stier and Dare 2 Share?

0:02:11.1 ZB: Yeah, so I was at Timberline Lodge in Winter Park, Colorado, a Torchbearer Bible school shameless plug. It is an awesome opportunity for students outta high school to have their life transformed by then dwelling life of Christ. And I think I was now staff at Timberline and we heard that this wild, crazy evangelist [chuckle] was coming up and he could pack arenas and it was all about reaching the lost. And I was kind of like, okay, cool. He packs arenas, but does he love his neighbor? And I come from the Pacific Northwest a little anti-establishment anti the typical established religion even. And so I think I sat next to you at one of the tables and was kind of poking at you a little bit to see how you’d respond.

0:03:10.4 ZB: And then I’ll never forget going downstairs. There was like the classroom or the setting down there. And I forget, I think you had youth leaders that you had brought out for it and you shared your heart and the heart was not about Dare 2 Share an organization. I think I remember… Specifically, I even remember you saying Dare 2 Share, could perish tomorrow and I don’t care. I’m gonna do whatever it takes to reach this generation with the good news of Jesus. And I’m like in the back turn on, “I’m with you, man.” [chuckle] and so then I think I volunteered to fold the flyers in the Dare 2 Share warehouse, and I found a VHS of you preaching [chuckle] and I made all the students watch it while we folded flyers in the Dare 2 Share warehouse. So I think that’s how I met you.

0:04:00.4 GS: That is awesome. And it’s true that you almost got kicked out of a Dare 2 Share event. Right?

0:04:05.6 ZB: Yeah. So then after…

0:04:06.3 GS: Before you were a speaker.


0:04:07.9 ZB: Yeah. So after we watched the VHS, I was like, “Man, this is at a event. We should go to one of these events.” Took our Bible school students and actually our local church up in Winter Park. And so I was trying to mix it up, like, let’s have some fun, like we can be at this conference, reach our friends and we had a little fun. So brought some squirt guns and we’re squirting people in the audience. And I don’t know, some security guard did not think it was as fun as we did [chuckle] Grabs me and it’s like, “Where’s your youth leader?” And I’m like, “Well, it’s me.”


0:04:40.8 ZB: So anyways.

0:04:41.4 GS: Oh, man. I remember the first official thing we had you do were the MC survival guide for a gospel journey. We did up in the Rocky mountains at the Torchbearers Bible school, with what an atheist, agnostic Episcopalian and all these different worldviews. And you were the guide for that. And I just remember, man, this guy’s got something, he’s really relating well with these teenagers. And we asked you to give your testimony and kind of MC the Dare 2 Share conference that we had at the Denver Coliseum with Brian and 6, 7000 teenagers. And you brought… Do you remember what you brought with you? I remember.

0:05:29.3 ZB: [chuckle] I literally brought…

0:05:30.4 GS: Do you remember?

0:05:30.7 ZB: Depends diapers, grandpa diapers.

0:05:33.6 GS: Adult diapers. And I was like…


0:05:36.0 GS: What? I thought it was an illustration. And I go, “What do you bring this for?” And what did you tell me?

0:05:39.6 ZB: Dude, just in case I poop my pants on stage.


0:05:44.6 ZB: And I was literally that nervous. I went from teaching at a Bible school where I’d give a five minute devotion to 35 students. And I think I still often feel just as nervous. I literally was talking to BJ who was a part of that gospel journey yesterday, and he reminded me, he was stage… What’s that position?

0:06:09.5 GS: Stage manager?

0:06:10.5 ZB: Stage manager at Dare 2 Share. And he reminded me of one of the times where he was standing behind me talking to my ear. Just say this, wait longer. Now say this.


0:06:23.8 ZB: And so, it’s just cool, I guess, look back and see all that the Lord’s done over the years and how he uses us in the midst of our imperfect, insecure, our inabilities and just his sufficiency shines through. And I think ultimately as I look back over the testimony of Dare 2 Share over the years, and at least my involvement is just all what God did using the foolish things of the world. So thanks for leading the way on that, Greg.


0:06:52.0 GS: Yeah, no kidding. Well, it’s been great. We’ve had a lot of fun, seen a lot of transformation over the years. We’re still grinding it together with Dare 2 Share Live and lead the cause. And you, me and Jerrod Gunter, and it’s just been such a blast and I think our best days are ahead God willing. And it all started back there when 15, 16 years ago in, Fraser, Colorado, at the Torchbearers Bible school. So I remember your testimony, your devo for that day, ’cause you were like building it up and I’m like, “Man, this kid’s got raw talent. He’s like, I discovered this verses.” Blown my mind. And you read John 3:16…


0:07:35.9 GS: And I thought you were gonna start laughing and it felt like it was the first time you read that verse and you’re sharing with us and I’m like, “Oh, this guy is so sincere.”

0:07:46.2 ZB: [chuckle] And it might have been the first time I read that verse.


0:07:48.5 GS: Oh, man, but honestly Zane, it’s that honest, sincere new believer awe, I think that you still have with you, that draws students in. And it’s just great to see… And I call you behind your back, the premier youth speaker in America. And I just love the way you communicate to teenagers and God is using that. And I know you still get nervous, but it’s Christ in you and through you. So it’s been really, really cool to see… And now you lead a ministry, Love and Life. Tell us a little bit about Love and Life.

0:08:26.1 ZB: Yeah. So really like birthed out of the heart of what God had done in my heart. John 10:10 Jesus says, the thief seeks to steal, kill and destroy. And I felt like that was so much of my life before I met Jesus. Life filled of drugs and drunkenness and just wild parties and just living for myself and all the brokenness that came with that and destruction in my own life and my family’s life, friend’s lives. But then Jesus, doesn’t stop there, He says, but I have come they might have life and life to the fullest. And so Love and Life came out of that, like I’m loving life ’cause Jesus is in my life. And, yeah so it’s a nonprofit that we really… Is a funnel for us to continue to do ministry traveling and preaching. We started an apparel line to help fuel the ministry because I didn’t come from a family of Christians or a background of Christians that I could write support letters to. I guess I could have wrote like my old drug dealing friends, and they might have… Maybe that’s a good idea actually.


0:09:40.7 ZB: Note that for later. But we were like, “Hey, if Paul made tents to help support his ministry, what about us making tees?” And so it’s been cool how that has developed, because it’s really turned into an opportunity for students. We look at every item, an article of clothing as an opportunity for a student to share the gospel with their friends, to tell their friends about why they love Jesus. And then we have hopes of starting mission trips where takes a lot of the Dare 2 Share content actually, I’m not as creative to come up with something new and you’re like, “Hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” So we use a lot of the Dare 2 Share content, to bring students on mission trips. So we call them like our love and life, serve and share weeks that we’ve been developing, piloting some of those actually this summer. And then, one year hopefully to do a gap summer to bring students out for seven, eight weeks and immerse them in discipleship and evangelism and see what it looks like to live wholeheartedly for Jesus in the midst of kind of a post-Christian culture. So yeah, that’s kind of what we do.

0:10:56.5 GS: I love that. And it all comes from John 10:10, I’ve come that you may have life and have it to the full. And that mentality, I know you talk about maybe how I impacted you early on, well, you impacted me and impacted Dare 2 Share. If you remember the original Gospel acrostic that we had, of when you came on originally, the L was life, that’s eternal can never be lost. And it was about eternal security, it was a theological statement, right. And you’re like, “Bro, what about life now? It’s not just later.” And so we changed that L in the Gospel acrostic, life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever. And I think there’s been that like, not attention, but a holy balance between you and me to really help communicate eternal life as a quality and quantity. Yeah, it does last forever. Yeah, you will be in heaven, but also at the same time, it’s a relationship with God. So that practically, but in many ways you’ve really helped impact Dare 2 Share. And that whole love and life mentality is part of who we are, just like Dare 2 Share is part of what love and life is and who you are. So it’s cool.

0:12:16.3 ZB: Yeah. Yeah. It’s been fun.

0:12:18.6 GS: In Romans 1 it says 13 or 14, “I long to see you, that I may impart to you a spiritual gift to make you strong that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith”. It’s almost like, everybody’s got a syringe of their spiritual gifting and you’ve infused that into us and we’ve infused that into you and it’s we are stronger together. So it’s been awesome to see. So the vision of every teen, everywhere hearing the gospel from a friend, share with us your heart to see the next generation reached and mobilized with and for the gospel.

0:12:53.7 ZB: Yeah. I feel Dare 2 Share has been for me, the relentless and I feel part of… And that has grown me. And I feel one of the parts that God has written in my heart is that real relational. And so I have taken the route of discipleship in pouring into students in that sort of one on one, and then trying to inspire others to do the same. And so it’s almost like taking that same passion that Dare 2 Share has to reach every teen everywhere and starting small, you know which has been so cool to see the big from the stage, but then to start small with a few, and that has been some of our vision with some of the mission trips. And then ultimately this idea of a gap summer program where we’d get to intentionally invest in a few and then launch them out. And so it’s really the same heart approached from a little bit of two different sides.

0:14:01.1 GS: Yeah.

0:14:02.0 ZB: And not discrediting one or the other, because I think what I’ve seen in you, Greg, is most people probably don’t know it ’cause they see you just on the stage, but you are so intentionally investing in a few, well, me being one of them. And I think of how many youth leaders and people who just have your number, who call you. You’re kind like that Bob Goff in a [chuckle] little bit of that who put…


0:14:27.7 ZB: His phone number in the bag of books. You’ve always just made yourself available, to people and you consistently invest in people through that. So that’s both that relentless and relational.

0:14:37.1 GS: You bet. And I think I love the fact that Lovin Life is moving more and more to focus on the few. And I think of the illustration of a magnifying glass. All of us when we were kids, I think we burnt ants, ant piles with… Or leaves at least. We took a magnifying… You never did?


0:14:56.5 GS: I took a magnifying glass, let those diffused rays of the sun go through that to a leaf, right? And you set that little leaf on fire and what that narrow focus of that little laser beam, those rays into that little area that fire catches on… That leaf catches on fire and begins to burn outwardly. And when you focus on the few, what happens, those students set on fire and they begin to reach their friends. It begins to multiply out. The strategy of Jesus.

0:15:22.8 GS: So I love the fact that that’s where you guys are headed more and more as Lovin Life in the future. But you’re also not, you’re not only the founder of Lovin Life, you’re also a youth leader at Grace Church, Eden Prairie. And one of the things we’ve realized over the years collectively is the key to reaching a teen is mobilizing the youth leader to reach the teen. Equipping and inspiring, youth leaders. Talk a little bit about why you believe youth ministry is so super strategic in really capturing the hearts of the next generation.

0:16:00.9 ZB: Yeah, I think, I mean, ultimately we see God’s heart for the church, right? We see the establishment of the local body of the church, the local expression, of the church. And ultimately, as great as Dare 2 Share is, and as strategic as you guys are, it can only happen through the local church. And I’ve learned that from you is, the purpose to raise up youth leaders, to partner with local churches, and head pastors as well, but really such a focus on youth pastors. But you think about it, there is strategically churches in the Midwest on every corner and the south and all across the United States of potential gospel-advancing ministries with youth leaders who are invested in their students lives and volunteer leaders who are showing up at games and showing up at houses and being there for students.

0:17:11.9 ZB: And I think to strategically say, “Man, each youth group has the opportunity to be a hub of revival.” I think of that passage in Acts where it says that Paul lectured in the Halls of Tyrannus and as a result, for two years, the entire province of Asia heard the gospel. And I think about, what would it look like of if each of our youth ministries were like that? That as the youth pastor was preaching and facilitating discussion in small group and discipleship, as a result, the entire province of wherever they are located, heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that doesn’t happen through a non-profit parachurch organization, that happens through the church, with pastors, elders, that establishment that God has designed of leaders who invested in their students’ life on a regular basis.

0:18:14.9 ZB: And so for me, that was why we joined the local church, was I needed some of that just accountability authority. I wanted to submit myself and be involved in that long process of discipleship in student’s lives, where I wouldn’t just, to what you sometimes talk about, blow in, blow up and blow out, be there for a weekend, but continually get to meet the parents, the siblings and watch them through junior high, high school graduation and beyond. And it’s been the biggest blessing for me in our ministry, in our family and in my own life and stuff like that. So I love, love the church and all of it’s mess.

0:19:02.0 GS: Yeah, that’s right. And it’s a bride of Christ and we love the local church. So there’s challenges, obviously when you’re a youth leader, you take these gospel advancing values of intercessory prayer, relational evangelism, leaders modeling it, you know, I mean, bold vision, disciple multiplication, it all looks good on paper. Right? And it all is good, ’cause it’s straight from scripture, but what are some of the challenges that you could can probably speak to now that you could not speak to as much when you were just “a speaker,” a youth speaker, what are some of the challenges maybe, especially implementing in a larger church context because that’s what Grace Church is a… I mean, it’s a huge church. It’s an awesome church. I love Grace Church. But what are some of the challenges of implementing gospel advancing mindset in a church that is big? What are some of those challenges?

0:20:00.8 ZB: Well I think sometimes is that big means effective.

0:20:05.2 ZB: And not buying into that lie. I think something that I’ve been processing with specifically with the seven values, which maybe translates big or small church, is I almost looked at it as, value one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and then that they have to happen in sequential order. And I’m beginning now to realize, at least in our youth ministry, it’s a little bit more like A, B, C, D E F G, and probably a little bit more like alphabet soup.

0:20:39.8 GS: Yeah.

0:20:39.8 ZB: Where, there’s times where, okay. We started with, intercessory prayer, fuels it, number one or a, and you begin to go down the line, but it can be easy to almost like, forget that or like move beyond it and what we’re seeing in the cycle of our ministry is to be okay with these things kind of ebbing and flowing and always going back to trying to check, but with that, it can become overwhelming to try and do them all.

0:21:08.4 GS: Yeah.

0:21:09.5 ZB: And, and so…

0:21:11.0 GS: Yeah. All at the same time.

0:21:12.2 ZB: All at the same time. Yes and for me personally frustrating when I, you know, been with Dare 2 Share, so we teach it, here’s the ideal, here’s all seven, they’re simple once you grasp them well, why aren’t we just doing them all.

0:21:26.7 GS: Yeah. Yeah.

0:21:27.3 ZB: And I think for me has been to take a step back in our youth personal youth ministry. Okay. What’s one we can focus on. And just because we were great at intercessory fuel, intercessory prayer, in the beginning, you know, we don’t graduate from that. We need to return to that. And then, you know, okay. Let’s bring another one in and, and what other let’s focus on one rather than get overwhelmed by all.

0:21:50.0 GS: Yeah and if you look at some of these smaller churches and medium sized churches, they probably have an advantage because they don’t have as much bureaucracy or a curriculum that we’ve been using for so long. It’s like, you know, turning a small boat versus a cruise ship. There’s a lot more that you have to turn, with the cruise ship, a battleship than just a smaller boat. Right?

0:22:14.0 ZB: Yep.

0:22:14.0 GS: And so there are unique challenges that large churches have. I think it’s great, a great advice to larger church youth leaders, if, or in you’re listening to this right now to, you know, start focusing on one or two of those values and then just kind of build, build on it. I love that alphabet soup, verses just sequential. Yeah. Good. Any other thoughts on that?

0:22:37.1 ZB: I would say the other part has been, and, and I feel like this is just discovering through my own lack has been, I thought, because I preached it, meant we were living it, or because I believed it meant that we had achieved it and I think that even happened within our team, ’cause we’re like, oh, well Greg comes and preaches at our church a couple times a year. We got you Zane and you’re always talking about evangelism, but yet not seeing the results and having to go back and say as powerful and important as preaching it. I do not want to discredit that, but it’s, it’s gospel advancing ministry isn’t just having a better sermon or a evangelistic based sermon or a sermon that moves people towards evangelism, but really implementing these values into the DNA of a ministry that actually shifts the tide. And…

0:23:35.7 GS: Yeah.

0:23:35.7 ZB: And that’s where I think we’re at currently, through, my own mistake. Well, Hey, I’m preaching it, and it sometimes takes a little more.

0:23:43.2 GS: Well, you look at that seven value ongoing programs reflected in some ways that’s so important because if it doesn’t get into the system, of intercessory prayer, relational events with disciple multiplication, doesn’t get programmed in some practical way into the system. Then it is a sermon. It’s a platitude, you know, it’s a slogan, but it’s not part of our DNA.

0:24:06.9 ZB: Yeah I made…

0:24:07.8 GS: So we gonna marinated it.

0:24:09.4 ZB: I made one last, I don’t know too many hardships in it, but one of the other hardships is dude we’re just busy and maybe I’m the only one who’s overscheduled, but you know.

0:24:20.0 GS: Yeah.

0:24:20.0 ZB: There’s no lack of good things to do. And we got fall retreat and we got winter camp and we got fall launch and we got summer camp and we got mission trip. And so sometimes it’s just backing off and being willing to, you know, sacrifice the sacred cow to say.

0:24:39.7 GS: Yeah.

0:24:39.7 ZB: Why do we do this? What does it contribute to the overall vision of what we want to accomplish? And, are we willing to let it go for achieving what we really, really want to see happen in our student’s lives?

0:24:52.1 GS: Yeah.

0:24:52.5 ZB: So.

0:24:52.6 GS: That’s great. So I’ll close with this and we’re gonna bring a youth leader in, but this question, what, one piece of advice, Zane Black, would you give a youth leader as they work with their teenagers? What would you tell them? If you can give them one piece of advice?

0:25:10.0 ZB: Man, I feel like this is probably like so basic and you’ll be like oh come on…

0:25:17.8 GS: John 3:16, it’s quote John 3:16.

0:25:19.6 ZB: That’s all I got, man.

0:25:20.8 GS: It’s good.

0:25:22.4 ZB: It’s and I think, you know, I think I got it from you, Greg. Maybe you stole it from someone as well, but fall in love with evangelism and you’ll fizzle out, fall in love with Jesus and you’ll always do the work of evangelism. And I think that could be, you know, extrapolated or built out to our youth ministries as well if all you do is become focused on building a gospel advancing, gospel advancing ministry, I think you will grow tired and weary and it will wear out, I just encourage you to just fall in love with Jesus. And I think naturally as we experience that overflowing love of the father, it builds up in us and it overflows to where we can’t hold it back.

0:26:15.4 ZB: And by nature, we talk about the things we love. We’ve experienced his love, it just overflows. And I think our students feel that, you know, more than the Polish sermon, more than the well oiled machine of a program is youth leaders who are just on fire, who love God and who love people. And ultimately, you know, isn’t that what Jesus talks about? Like love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. I think because when you do one, it ties so tightly to the other so I’m saying this preaching to myself as well, you know.

0:26:49.2 ZB: I wanna continue to place myself before the overflowing ever-flowing streams of the father’s love and grace and goodness and life, and know that it will eventually overflow into my, the student, my family, my students, our church and gospel advancing ministry will happen. You know.

0:27:12.3 GS: That’s great. Great advice. Well, let’s bring in, our youth leader who’s gonna maybe ask you some questions or comment on some of the things you’ve talked about. His name is Matt McDermott. Matt is currently the pastor of student ministry at Carlisle evangelical free church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He’s a husband, a dad, a student and pastor. He got his MDF from Western seminary. So he is smarter than Zane and I combined.


0:27:37.5 GS: He likes to read, run, cook, play Legos with his kids, date his wife and loves Jesus. So thanks so much, Matt, for coming on and being a part of this.

0:27:45.3 Matt McDermott: Thanks for having me guys. Yeah. I’m so excited. Love you guys both. You guys are awesome.

0:27:49.7 ZB: Dude. Right back at you. But can I just say something about Matt real quick?

0:27:53.1 GS: Go for it.

0:27:54.6 ZB: We were at a camp this summer and not only do I feel like does he love Jesus love even for all those things. He just loves students. And I remember just walking the cafeteria and watching Matt with students pouring in and asking them questions like, oh, is this your youth group? He’s like, no, it’s just some random students I started talking with [laughter] and he was like, he just believes it. Yeah. So it’s great to have you, man.

0:28:12.7 MM: Thanks Zane. I love you guys, both. You, Zane you shared about like your love for Greg. Like he was a, you know, he, you love, you had like, love eyes for him. And I, I have love eyes for like both of you. So I’m like torn, but who do I love? Who do I love more? I mean, you’re yeah, it’s great. But you have a mustache so that adds to you. I guess.

0:28:30.9 GS: That’s right. He wins.

0:28:32.1 MM: Also guys, just to let you know, like people should go back to the beginning and just hear Greg, the way that you speak of Zane and Zane, how you guys speak of Greg, just like, man, that’s such encouraging, I was just sitting back. I was like, man, you guys, the way that was encouraging, that was man. I just, I could just sit back and just listen to how encouraging that was of like partners in ministry, just going and supporting each other. That was, that was awesome. Thanks for letting me be able to listen to that.

0:28:56.4 GS: You bet Matt and we made it, I mean, it’s like Batman and Robin, makes you Paul and Barnabas [laughter] it’s not Batman and Robin, but working together for the common cause of the gospel brings you closer than anything else. So, Matt, as you kind of just process through what Zane was sharing, do you have any questions or comments or thoughts, to kind of share with everybody?

0:29:21.6 MM: Yeah, so I went through a process of like I had, I had an end in mind for what student ministry was like. And so Zane, I would love to hear, I had in the year, in the years past, I had like sacred cows, stuff that I thought like, Hey, this is what youth ministry is about. And it was the program and all this other stuff. And the Lord was like, Hey, really? And it was just like chiseling at this sacred cow that I, that I thought student ministry was. And, and then you kind of said, Hey, actually gospel advancing ministry is something a little bit different, if someone has one of those sacred cows that the Lord is just knocking on their heart to just lay down at the altar. How, how would you go about doing that? Of sacrificing that to the Lord?

0:30:02.0 ZB: Yeah, great question. One I think is properly evaluating those things, which I think, the value biblical outcomes measure it. Is just the reality of asking the hard question first to see, does this measure up to what we say we wanna accomplish in our student ministry? For instance, we had one that was a Dodge ball tournament. Now you think, oh, you know, you don’t like Dodge ball or you don’t like having to run. No, not at all. I mean, it was a super fun experience and it was billed as this is our outreach event. And so students would invite their friends. We would have a communicator come up at the end and share the gospel. And so it had so many elements that you would think, oh, well, that’s your outreach? Why would you… And it was the first thing to go.

0:30:51.9 ZB: And the hard thing was first communicating to our leaders is where we started because we wanted their buy in because it was like, this is what we always do. We always do Dodge ball tournament, invite your friends. This is our outreach piece, but we were able to show them the result to say, have we seen any students plug back into the youth ministry? ‘Cause we wanted to move even beyond. And I’m not saying it’s bad, but move beyond seeing converts, you know, someone that would maybe look up or raise their hand. I’m all about that. I give the gospel, we love seeing, you know, people respond, but were they plugging back in to church where they could go through that process of discipleship? And the answer was no. So it was evaluating it correctly and then communicating it to our leaders.

0:31:43.0 ZB: And then it was not just taking something away, but showing something better. And that was how we went about it. We said, here’s the new thing that we are doing and got our leaders excited about that. And then by that time, as we brought it to the students and parents, it was like, this is what we’re doing. And you know, there’s maybe a little rumble about why aren’t we doing Dodge ball? And they were like, Hey, we can, you know, throw basketballs at each other later or something and [laughter] eat some pizza, but here’s what we’re gonna do. And I think our students really caught onto it and leaders as well, and now it’s totally forgotten and no one ever talks about it. Yeah.

0:32:19.0 GS: Yeah. And Matt, you know, what’s cool is what they switched to was a paintball tournament. So that was a real step up. I’m just joking [laughter] I think, yeah, I think just to kind of throw in, I love that you evaluated it’s effectiveness. I was gonna ask you what made that ineffective for you, but the lack of students being actually coming in, and getting plugged into the youth group, that’s a biblical outcome. That’s one of those values that’s so, so important Zane. So I’m glad, I’m glad that, to, to hear that you put that in there. Matt, do you have any other questions or comments?

0:32:55.7 MM: Yeah. Zane, if you got like a resource for, when, not just for converts, but for early believers that you’re like, Hey, this is a go-to, what would be, what would be one resource, one or two resources to get them in the Bible or get them to start doing gospel advancing stuff on their own.

0:33:17.0 ZB: I feel like I want to say the gospel of John, but that seems so like, I’m supposed to say that or something. One good resource. Well maybe this is a shameless plug. Shame.


0:33:29.8 GS: Please do the shameless plug ’cause if you don’t, I will.


0:33:34.2 ZB: I feel like I… I feel like everything in me says don’t do it, but the shameless plug just before it. So we created a…


0:33:42.4 ZB: Seven part series called the life series. It’s free on YouTube. We have a small group leader guide that goes with it on our website for free. You don’t even have to give your email for it. You just download it. So life series, by Zane Black and basically it’s seven, five minute videos, we use skateboarding and surfing and rock climbing and, try to introduce these very basic principles of like spiritual disciplines, but built through the heart of, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. So, yeah. Shameless plug free resources.

0:34:26.0 GS: Yeah. Let me, just add on to that Zane. A lot of Christian stuff we all know is not high quality. These are really high quality videos, that are very well done that are theologically solid, but they’re not necessarily so deep that a kid would get lost in them and it gives them their next step as a brand new believer, use that at winter jam for new believers. I just send it out to a group up in, Anchorage, and they’re gonna use it throughout Alaska and the Northwest to help new believers grow in their faith. It is a phenomenal free tool to use. So Matt, thanks for bringing that up. Youth leaders, make sure you download it, again. Where would they find it, Zane?

0:35:10.3 ZB: So you go to our website, we are And then there’s like, content or just straight YouTube life series, Zane Black, you’ll find it. And I think the one thing that I found is it, I’ll almost say like lacks a little, which is kind of fun as all my friends who are youth pastors, they say it doesn’t tell it all. And so it gives opportunity for discussions and small groups and to take that next level, but it’s really meant to like prime the pump and get people thinking.

0:35:41.7 GS: Yeah, it’s actually all, it is is Zane quoting John 3:16 in seven different settings.


0:35:48.7 GS: Seven different places.

0:35:52.0 ZB: Pretty much.

0:35:52.1 ZB: No, it’s really, really good. Matt, what else you got?

0:35:55.9 GS: I guess really just the last question is like, you both kind of like steered this direction, but it can’t just be yourself and it’s gotta be like your leaders. If I wanted to, I wanna get my leaders getting the seven values kind of ingrained into them. So it’s not just me running on my own. How do I like where’s the best place to start? Like I I’m in with Dare 2 Share stuff I’m in with that. Is there one, one value to start implementing with my leaders to get or one way for them to buy into the seven values that they can see the vision for gospel advancing ministry?

0:36:34.2 ZB: I would say, and Greg, you can answer as well, but I would say, I know I said ABC alphabet soup, I always graduate or gravitate towards value one, intercessory prayer fuels it. And we’ve tried to do that in two specific ways. One in our small group leader meetings. So the leader meeting times where we bore into our leaders we start with or sorry, we end each meeting with intercessory prayer. So them praying for their students and them praying for their own community, friends, coworkers, neighbors, stuff like that. And then two, we try to incorporate that as well in our programming, where we take, one to two minutes. So it’s not long, but somewhere in the program on a Wednesday night where we have students pray for their friends. And yeah, it is maybe a little awkward. If a student brought a non-believing friend and all of a sudden we’re having like a minute, two of silence or, and people are praying and we just say, well, we’d rather it be a little awkward for the unbelieving student who walks in than to be awkward as we stand before the King of Kings the Lord of Lord on judgment day.

0:37:39.5 ZB: And he’s like, you did a great youth ministry, but you guys didn’t spend any time praying.


0:37:44.2 GS: Yeah.

0:37:44.5 MM: Yeah.

0:37:45.7 GS: Yeah.

0:37:46.8 GS: That’s good. I think, I would just throw in there. I mean, shameless plug, I wrote a book called Gospelize your youth ministry. That’s free, that I really encourage youth leaders to go to our website and download it. Because it’s a simple way to really communicate the philosophy based on the book of Acts, seven values based on the book of Acts and we’re actually revising it and updating it so later this year or early next year there’ll be a revised kind of a Gospelize 2.0 with things that we’ve learned over the last seven years that will be available as well. Also our website We unpack those seven values for your youth leaders, for anybody, to take that and multiply it so well, Matt, do you have any other questions or comments?

0:38:35.1 MM: I mean, I could keep going, but we got some time, we don’t got time left, but I really appreciate it guys. You guys were are so smart in all this, so I really appreciate the time.

0:38:43.6 GS: Yeah. You bet. Thanks so much. And you did a great job and Zane, thanks so much for being on the program. Both of you, Matt. How can other youth leaders, follow you online? Do you have a Instagram or Twitter?

0:38:57.7 GS: Yeah, @MattMcDermont11. And then @CESCstudents, if they wanna follow our student ministry page.

0:39:04.8 GS: Great. And then Zane, where would they follow you?

0:39:07.6 ZB: Yes. @Zaneblack.

0:39:09.6 GS: Yeah.

0:39:10.0 ZB: I think all across the social media.

0:39:13.2 GS: And then we are

0:39:15.6 ZB: Yeah.

0:39:16.8 GS: Great, great. Well, Zane, Matt, thanks you so much for being a part of this podcast, youth leaders thanks for tuning in. And I just wanna remind you as we close out that a thriving youth ministry is a gospel advancing one. So start advancing the gospel to and through your teenagers. Thanks so much.

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