The Greg Stier Youth ministry Podcast
episode 20 | January 2023
How to Gospelize our Teens and THRIVE in Youth Ministry - Panel Discussion
In this episode, Greg is joined by a panel of youth leaders from around the country; Pauline Ebert, Eric Groezinger, and Tyree Sterling.
They discuss the brand new revised and expanded release of Gospelize Your Youth Ministry, giving their thoughts on the current state of youth ministry and the value of the new content added in this re-release. To download your free copy of the e-book or get your own physical copy, click here.
0:00:06.9 Greg Stier: Alright. Welcome to the Greg Stier Youth Ministry podcast. I believe in the power of the gospel and the potential of teens, and I also believe that the best way to get teens to grow is to get them to go. So excited. I have some friends here today, youth ministry friends, Tyree Sterling, Pauline Ebert, Eric Groezinger. And we’re gonna really unpack, kind of the new and updated Gospelize book that I just revised, updated, and released. We’ll talk a little bit about that. It’s got some really exciting changes, but first of all, let’s just kind of go around the room and introduce ourselves. Name, your church, your ministry, location, how long you’ve been connected with this whole concept of Gospelizing or gospel advancing.
0:00:53.2 Pastor Pauline Ebert: Hey there. I am Pastor Pauline Ebert. I am the youth pastor at Fusion Community Church in Cobleskill, New York, which is upstate New York. I’ve been there now for seven years, and I’ve been a gospel advancing leader, and we’ve been a gospel advancing ministry for the last five years now. Very, very excited to be here, so thank you.
0:01:12.8 GS: Awesome. Hey, Tyree. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
0:01:17.4 Tyree Sterling: Well, my name’s Tyree Sterling. I’m a part of Lifehouse Church in Hagerstown, Maryland, where I am one of the youth leaders. And I’ve been with gospel advancing ministry since Lead THE Cause was called Lead THE Cause University, long time ago. Wanna say at least over nine years.
0:01:40.4 GS: Yep.
0:01:41.2 TS: I believe it was. So yeah, it’s been a blessing to my life.
0:01:45.2 GS: That’s awesome.
0:01:48.2 TS: Definitely.
0:01:49.0 GS: Eric.
0:01:49.3 Eric Groezinger: Yeah. Hey, I’m Eric Groezinger. Thanks for letting me be a part of the conversation. I’m the pastor of Student Ministries at Faith Bible Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the northeast corner of the state. Been doing that for eight years, been in ministry over 20. Gospel advancing, probably for the last seven of those, I would say. Just really jumping on board and just really seeing how powerful that is, but also just the impact that has too. So I love the conversation today.
0:02:20.0 GS: That’s awesome. I just, I love the idea of gospel advancing. Gospel centered sounds like we’re just gonna exegete it. Gospel advancing sounds like we’re gonna execute it. Like we’re gonna do this. We’re not just sitting in a half circle watching Matt Chandler videos and John Piper exegete the gospel. We’re putting them on our podcast and we’re advancing it, right? We’re going for it and seeing our students advance the gospel to their friends. So, I’m just gonna ask this open question. Whoever can answer is, what has been the impact of gospel advancing in your ministry?
0:03:01.9 TS: I’ll take this one. Oh, Pauline, unless you want to, ladies first.
0:03:05.5 PE: Go ahead.
0:03:06.0 TS: Alright. Well, as I look back, I was actually, 2014 is when I got involved, so almost 10 years. And I was always the type to say, “We got to get going. Jesus is coming. We need to get going. Let’s, what are we doing?” Think of discipleship as a group of people in a room talking about the things we already know and not doing what we should be doing. And it wasn’t until I went to the Lead THE Cause when it was called Lead THE Cause University that I heard these seven values, and I was like, “This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about.” I just didn’t know how to articulate it. I had no idea how to put it into words.
0:03:55.9 TS: And during that session, there was a challenge involved, where you had to write a bold vision and you had to write this bold vision and it had to pass. It was like a gauntlet. Your bold vision had to be good. If it wasn’t good, you got put out of the room and told to rewrite it and come back. And I was like, “Oh, Dare 2 Share is about that life.” And so I saw people coming out like with their head down, like they didn’t make the team. And I was like, I have never not made a team in my life, so I’m not gonna be that guy. And so I sat there and I like, everything I could think of that these seven values, like took root in and it changed, it changed my life. It changed the way instead of like, “Okay, students, let’s pray.”
0:04:45.7 TS: It’s like, “Let me teach you how to pray. Let me teach you how to do evangelism. Leaders, let me teach you how to lead. Let’s show you how to develop a discipleship multiplication strategy.” Like it wasn’t just, “Okay, let’s do it.” It’s like they gave me the tools of how to do the thing. But not just how to do it on my own. But even the strategies were even left up to like, you can’t do this all on your own. You’re gonna have to bring another youth leaders to get this accomplished. And so I knew that, but I think it took more convincing of the Lead pastor than anything ’cause I was already bought in. So the way I changed me was it just put words to what was already in my heart.
0:05:33.1 GS: Yeah. I love that. ‘Cause, and I think we had these conversations back at, when it was Lead THE Cause University about creating this gospel advancing language that was art. I think there’s a lot of youth leaders that know this in their heart, ’cause the spirit testifies to it because it’s all rooted in the book of Acts, the gospels. The way Jesus did ministry, the way the disciples did ministry. And we know something’s broken. So this creates that language. Pauline, you were gonna share something?
0:06:04.3 PE: Oh, yeah. I absolutely love the impact that being gospel advancing has had on not only me as a youth pastor, but also with our students and our leaders, our core team. It gives us a clear target we are aiming for. So before, I totally agree with Tyree. I mean, I couldn’t articulate what was it that we were missing. And really what it comes down to is that, the seven values allows us to have tangible mile markers of effectiveness for us to really, help us stay in our lane, know what we’re reaching for, know how to…
0:06:45.8 PE: Kind of grade how effective we are being with our students to be able to have the right measures of the outcomes. Are we being truly effective in their lives? Is there transformation? What does all this look like? So, just that impact alone is definitely worth the price of admission for starters [chuckle] But truly, it means… It has definitely made us so much more effective in reaching the youth in our community. And helped me become a youth pastor who’s actively sharing their faith out loud with words. Around me, at all times, asking for divine opportunities and accepting those opportunities, and then sharing that with our youth group. So it’s really activated us as being gospel advancing in our own personal lives. And that has had a catalyst, a huge ripple effect within our youth ministry and our church as a whole. So it’s definitely helped us equip students to reach their peers, with their families and the community. So it’s been incredible.
0:07:57.0 GS: That’s great, Pauline. And I really love the fact that gospel advancing gets personal. I mean, if we’re not living this out, then our kids are gonna live this out, and so it’s like, “Okay, this is not a program. This is a lifestyle.” And that’s a powerful, powerful point.
0:08:13.7 EG: It’s given me a clarity of purpose and focus, but in a greater way, I’ve seen significant, how this whole Gospelize approach has become a rally point for my students. I remember we came back from Lead THE Cause a number of years ago, and that’s where some of these concepts were talked about and the seven values and a bold vision and just some of these tangible ways. And so one of their goals is they came out of Lead THE Cause was to walk through the Gospelize book as students and unpack each of the seven values in more detail. And so I remember the whole next semester of the school year, we sat downstairs on a Sunday after church, and we ordered pizza and Cokes, and we walked through every chapter in the Gospelize book and the questions that were at the end of every chapter. And we unpacked it, from a biblical framework, but also from a philosophical strategy standpoint. And then we got practical and we evaluated our own ministry and we said, “What are we doing well in? How are… How can we improve?” And the students were owning it. And so it really became a rally point for them and launched us into a whole new level of ministry that wasn’t my doing, but our students doing it. And it transformed us and it was me being the coach, not the quarterback.
0:09:40.3 GS: Yeah. I love that. And it’s funny because Gospelize was not written with the teenage audience in mind, but as I think about the broader definition of youth leader, it’s a leader of youth, which can be a full-time youth pastor, and it could be a senior in high school that’s leading other youth to advance the gospel. So great. That’s great. Well, here’s my second question. Actually, my third, as you read the updated version of Gospelize Your Youth Ministry that literally just came out, what stood out to you the most? And whoever… I mean, all of you don’t have to answer, I mean, but if all of you wanted, that’s fine. Or just a couple, that’s fine. What stood out to you the most?
0:10:27.8 TS: What stood out to me the most was, when I do like workshops with youth workers, the top two areas that they say they struggle the most in, are evangelism and discipleship. And so there… So it was almost like a no-brainer to me to see, “Oh, yeah. Those two areas, like those two chapters definitely had some more information added to them.” Because I think if… And this is like universe doesn’t matter what audience I’m in front of, right? Those two areas are the areas that they would say, this is where we struggle the most.
0:11:12.8 GS: Yeah.
0:11:13.2 TS: And I think it’s because they think there’s either two classes. It’s either evangelism class or discipleship class. Like it’s not the same thing. It’s like either or. And so either we’re really good at, we have the evangelism course, but we don’t do enough discipleship or we do too much discipleship and we don’t do evangelism. And so, I… So when I saw that those two chapters, I had more added to them. I was like, yes. That’s kind of like a no-brainer. The next one, that stood out to me, which I think is most important in the season that I’m in right now, is the networking part of the book, where it takes it to the next level, which is the fifth stage, which is the movement of how to get other people involved in this journey. And so I don’t know about everybody else’s church contacts, but I was… I used to be a part of a church contacts where you… It was almost you… It was like a slap on a wrist if you kind of invited other churches, like into the fold, if they didn’t like submit to everything that we believed. Even if it wasn’t in the Bible.
0:12:32.8 TS: Right. So and like they had to believe in everything. And so that kind of… That hurt a lot of the movement. And as youth workers, we know, we kind of get down with each other. Like, we don’t have the same hiccups as the grown folks do. [laughter]
0:12:50.3 GS: Yeah.
0:12:51.6 TS: But and we kinda… And we work well together because we know. I think deep down we know that the city is too big and it can’t fit in our youth group. Like it can’t fit in our youth room. I have this phrase like, if your youth room isn’t as big as the school cafeteria, you’re gonna need other churches involved. ‘Cause each school has at least like three lunch shifts. And if you don’t have cafeteria three, if you don’t have a youth room three times the size of the school cafeteria, you’re not gonna be able to reach all the kids, and that’s just in a high school, or middle school or elementary school, right?
0:13:27.8 S?: Yeah.
0:13:28.1 TS: So it tells you you’re gonna need other people around. So this networking chapter, for me, fits me well because I was able to see… Again, it articulated the things that I felt in my heart. I just didn’t know how to say them out loud with words. So that chapter helped a lot.
0:13:47.2 GS: Well, and Tyree, just to build on that, it is… I try to approach it theologically from John 17, and a lot of times people don’t unite because of their theology. And I’m like listen, unity is a theology too. With the theology of Christ, Christ’s high priestly prayer that we may be one, again, not a ecumenical gooey unity based on no truth, but based on the thing, the truths that we accept. So I’m glad that you mentioned. Anybody else wanna share anything?
0:14:21.1 PE: Yeah, I was gonna say that the Gospelize book has been just a amazing resource that is a book that I pick up once a year just to refresh and get the encouragement, but the revisions in it, these are personal stories from around the world, clear and more precise path forward. It’s like an apostolic shot of energy into the movement. And those people who may be a little bit more reserved are saying like, “Yeah, I’m not big about evangelism, and I’m not so much about our kids going out,” just set that aside and just realize that the Great Commission has called us to go and grow. So we need the both and in that. And so I love the reworking of this book in such a way just to show how effective it’s been all across the world, not just in the country. And so we could hear the stories of impact and even sharing just the stories of impact with other students in the youth room is encouraging that they can be a part of something bigger and greater, and how they can do their part right here in their community.
0:15:28.2 GS: Love it.
0:15:28.7 PE: So I love that.
0:15:29.0 GS: That’s great. Yeah. I’ll just tell you this, it’s encouraging for me. We went over to Africa and saw how many people are literally getting trained in the seven values. Hundreds of thousands of leaders, which is crazy. I’m not exaggerating. God is… And that’s just the one ministry that’s taken this to 31 nations and just… I was in the Maasai Market in Kenya, and I started going through the gospel acrostic with this lady named Rose, and she was selling trinkets from the Maasai warriors, and she started quoting the gospel acrostic. And I’m like, “How do you know this?” And she said, “How do you know this?” And I said, “I developed the Acrostic 32 years ago.” And she goes, “No, you didn’t.” And I go, “Yes, I actually did.” She goes, “No, you didn’t.” And I go, “How do you know this?”
0:16:26.7 GS: And she said, “20 years ago, my pastor trained us in these six sentences and had to share trice with six people over the course of six weeks.” And she goes, “This acrostic changed my life because I consider myself an evangelist, and I share the… I don’t just sell things at a market. I share the gospel and I use this.” And I just stood there and wept because long before Dare 2 Share went global, the gospel is advancing forward. And this pastor, he found out later had come to America and probably saw the gospel Acrostic in some youth room, took a picture of it, copied it down, came back, and built a whole curriculum around. God is advancing his message and his mission all around the world. It’s so, so exciting. Eric, do you have anything to throw in on that?
0:17:19.1 EG: Well, that one thing that I took away is that this philosophy and the strategy, anybody can do it. And your story was just a powerful illustration by Greg. I read through this, and as I think again, of the disciples all in the gospels, and I think of the apostles who were in fact, they were just normal, ordinary people who were chosen by God, given the power of the Spirit and the promise of who Jesus was, right? And so that just gives me an incredible amount of encouragement as a youth leader. And I hope it does to others, too, in the sense that you don’t have to be a Greg Stier to implement this personally or in your ministry, right? Anyone can just pick this up and it’s tangible and it’s practical. And I just want to encourage people if they’re feeling overwhelmed or they feel like, “I just don’t think I can cut it,” this is not that. It’s simple. It’s gonna take work, yes. But you have the Holy Spirit in you to empower [0:18:33.7] ____ you to do that. So I don’t know. It just gave me encouragement as some no namer that I can implement the same strategies that Jesus and Apostles and disciples did back in the New Testament times.
0:18:45.0 GS: That’s awesome. That’s great.
0:18:46.3 TS: Greg. If I could add, I’m sold on the thought of if the gospel you’re preaching can’t be re-preached in a third world country, it’s probably not the gospel. And so when there, it is a no-brainer to me of why someone in another country, a third world country or wherever that these practices will work. Because like the Bible isn’t a first world piece of work. It was really… It was written into a third world country mindset. And so I think we have taken it here in the States and we have taken it, we’ve done something different with it to where it doesn’t fit the context of someone from a third world country. But these values and these principles, because they are biblical, they do work in any context.
0:19:49.4 GS: Amen.
0:19:49.7 TS: And so I’m not surprised at all that it works in wherever it’s dropped in. So this will give encouragement to the youth worker that says, “Oh, it works, it’ll work for other people, but not me.” No, literally, like, it will work for you because it’s biblical.
0:20:06.2 GS: Amen. And Oh, go ahead.
0:20:07.4 PE: And how affirming is that?
0:20:09.2 GS: Yep.
0:20:09.2 PE: Yeah. How affirming is that, that someone seen it, heard it just a little clip of it in their life, and now what, 20, 30 years later, they’re telling you the author of the acrostic Exactly. The seven values and just how impactful and how easy it is for them to hold onto How to articulate their faith. It is incredible. And our students latch onto it the same way. And we sometimes dismiss students that they’re not listening, but they’re picking up way more than we think they are.
0:20:42.2 GS: I fully, I fully agree. Just as a quick side note those of you listening, watching this book is available as a free download. I’m sure it’s gonna be in the show notes. You could just click on that, download the book for free. Also, if you want a hard copy, we did get some printed for those of you watching on video. This is what the book looks like. Really cool looking book. Our team did a great job designing that. And yeah, just encourage you, download it for free for all your leaders. If you want a hard copy, just go again, go to the show notes. You can find how to get the hard copy or the free download. I just wanna kind of open it up. I mean, wrote the book, rewrote the book, had our team really work on it. Lot of, after seven years, you learn a lot. And that’s what’s been interesting to me. We’ve learned a lot from youth leaders across the nation around the world in the implementation of these. But as you read it just wondering, do any of you have any questions about the Gospelize book? As you kind of read through it, do you have any questions that were kind of like, “Huh, I wonder why, whatever,” or, “what this means?” Or if you have any questions, just feel free to ask.
0:21:58.0 TS: Yeah, I do. I work in education and a lot of times not in my school, right, [laughter], but in other people’s schools. A lot of times things are put into place by people who have never stepped foot in the classroom.
0:22:21.5 GS: Yeah.
0:22:21.5 TS: And so it’s like, how in the world am I gonna implement this? You have no idea what the classroom even looks like. So with the people at Dare 2 Share, that work at Dare 2 Share, it’s not like they’re like youth pastors, right? That they report to as a youth pastor somewhere. How do you feel that God has enabled Dare 2 Share, to be able to develop these seven values, right? These five stages as people at almost like administration, right? [laughter] At administration handing down this curriculum.
0:23:04.3 GS: Yeah.
0:23:04.8 TS: To a teacher that could literally look at it and say, “Oh, my goodness! This is exactly what my classroom needed.” Like, you would never hear that in a school system. You would never hear, “Man, the superintendent handed me something that fits very well in my classroom context.” And you won’t hear it. You know, that same superintendent that did that all the way over there in California created something. And it absolutely works in my classroom context. You won’t hear superintendent in Puerto Rico created something in Puerto Rico and it fits my school. Right? So you had created something as like administrators, right? That fits in every youth group classroom context. And my question is, in short, how? [laughter]
0:23:50.5 GS: Yeah. Well, that’s a great question and I think couple different answers to it. Number one, we have a pension toward youth leaders and toward the church. I was a youth leader myself, I was a pastor of a church. So I kind of think through that lens to begin with. We have staff members that were recent youth pastors, and some of them still volunteers at their church that had a youth pastor perspective. For instance, although the book has got an extra chapter, the whole book overall is shorter. I don’t know if you noticed that.
0:24:21.8 GS: Because they’re like, you say too many words, Greg, there’s too many. You don’t need all that. And did I hear a niner in there? Anyway so, that, and then also you guys know you’re part of the council. We have a council of youth leaders that we meet with on a monthly basis that we get input and ideas from. We also have a pretty strong global feedback loop and Facebook page where we get a lot of youth leader input. And we just… We’re the kind of ministry that runs stuff by people. I’m the kind of, I just run stuff by people because I wanna make sure it’s practical, usable, biblical, all that stuff. So that’s a couple different answers to your question, but we wanna… It’s like when my son wanted to go hunting when he was 12 or 13, he goes, “Dad, I want to go hunting, but you don’t know anything about hunting.” I go, “Jeremy, you gotta either be the man or know the man.” And I know the man, and I called my friend Donny Coxy [laughter], and he hooked us up and we all went out. And, he knows what he is doing, right? Well, we know the men and women that are doing this. You guys are part of that team and other youth leaders that we lean into to get that feedback loop going, to make sure it’s practical and biblical and doable. So, yeah. Good. Any other questions?
0:25:34.8 GS: Yeah.
0:25:38.2 EG: Greg, what would you comment? If you could just comment to a youth worker, maybe they’re a volunteer, they’re not the lead youth worker or they are, but they are struggling getting traction with their upper leadership. If it’s church leadership or their key youth pastor, they get this book, they catch the vision, they’re on track, but they’re not in a position to personally implement it. How would you coach them? How would you train them, give them insight on that to keep pressing on with this vision?
0:26:16.4 GS: Yeah. I would say number one, pray. Just when Paul talks about, in 2nd Corinthians 10, about tearing down strongholds. He said taking captive every thought with the weapons we fight with, are not the weapons of this world, but we tear down strongholds. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. He’s actually talking about discipleship. He’s talking about tearing down strongholds in the Corinthians hearts and minds that were keeping them from spiritual growth. And I think that’s what we need to do. We need to pray and we need to persuade. We need to pray for people, care for our leaders, and share this vision with them and keep doing that until it’s like chopping down a tree keep chopping and it doesn’t usually come down on the first swing.
0:27:01.6 GS: You have to keep chopping, and eventually, it falls down. And in the process, you get jacked, right. [chuckle] And in the same way we pray, we care, we share, we trust the Lord. We persevere until that stronghold falls, and in the process, our faith is getting growing stronger. So don’t give up, cast a vision. There’s also the old Stephen Covey circle of influence and circle of concern that you may have a huge circle of concern that this is not being implemented in a youth ministry, but a small circle of influence. Well, the rule of thumb is if you focus on your circle of concern, your circle of influence actually shrinks. But if you focus on your circle of influence, so maybe you’re in charge of five middle school boys, well, start implementing these values with them. You know, just start praying for them. Start giving them gospel urgency, and fluency and strategy and teaching them to pray for their friends.
0:27:55.1 GS: And as that grows, it’s gonna begin to crowd out that circle of concern because the youth leader may be coming to you saying, “Hey, what are you doing with your small group? Because whatever it is, it’s thriving.” So just go with, grow where you’re planted, and pray, pray, pray, pray. So good. Well, listen, as we’re gonna wrap up the podcast for today, running outta time here, but is there one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out on their gospel advancing ministry journey? What one piece of advice would you give?
0:28:39.2 TS: Outside of pray? Right. Because we know that’s a given. I would say…
0:28:45.1 GS: Sadly, sadly, Tyree, it’s not a given. It should be given. But yeah.
0:28:49.9 TS: That’s true. Okay.
0:28:51.0 GS: We’ll start.
0:28:51.7 TS: Alright. Yeah. We’ll…
0:28:52.9 GS: We start with prayer then, right?
0:28:56.0 TS: Okay. After prayer. And this is really gonna sound like a plug, honestly would say, join the Gospel Advancing Ministry Facebook page. There’s a lot of groups out there, and you’ll learn how to play a lot of really cool games. Your kids would be great at Dodgeball and they’ll be awesome at Nine Square. But when they graduate, they won’t know how to share the Gospel or do a Bible study with the person in their dorm room, right? But there’s something different about this group of youth workers that are on this page. It’s not and it probably won’t ever be a hundred thousand members because like discipleship, not a lot of people show up for discipleship. But what you’ll find in this group is you’ll find youth workers that are really about that life. They’re really about that grind. They’re really about not how do I lead this whole thing, but how do I involve my students, how do I involve my leaders? And it lets you know that you’re not alone and there’s a community out there.
0:30:12.8 GS: I really think that’s important. And I would say you can join both. There’s a need for Facebook pages with games and curriculum. That’s a necessary part. And I think community and camaraderie is great. I think at the same time, getting involved with Gospel Advancing Ministry Facebook page will give you ideas that you can share and actually share on those other pages to encourage them, as they’re doing youth ministry and curriculum that, “Hey, let’s do it with a purpose and toward a goal.” So important. I just recently did this, joined this thing called Fit Fathers for old dads over 40 and 50 years old. I’m 57, and they got kind of this 30 day thing. It’s pretty good. I’m enjoying it. But they have a Fit Father’s Brotherhood Facebook page, and they have a Fit Mother’s Sisterhood Facebook page, [chuckle] and they hold each other accountable and stuff. And I’m like it just reminded me of the value of our Gospel Advancing Ministry Facebook page. And we can pray for each other, hold each other accountable and really help the youth leaders that are doing it well that have got our veterans, that have experience helping these other youth leaders, who are just brand new. Where do I start? What do I do? So great. First piece of advice, join the Gospel Advancing Ministry Facebook page. Alright. Pauline, what piece of advice would you have for youth leaders?
0:31:39.2 PE: Yeah, I would just have to reiterate everything everybody’s just said. Pray, implement the seven values within your circle of influence and don’t do it alone. Whether you pull one person aside or you join a network altogether of people who are willing to do the seven values and implement the gospel advancing philosophies within your youth ministry, don’t do it alone. Do it with another youth pastor, youth leader. Get a couple people at your church. You can always give us a call and reach out to any one of us at any point in time. We’d love to help you and come alongside of you. But there’s others who want to join in the journey. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only church in the county or if you are one of several within a small town. There’s somebody who’s willing to go, go with the goers.
0:32:29.4 GS: Yeah.
0:32:29.8 PE: And in the process, you’re gonna see that, that level of influence grow, and you’ll see the impact, and one of the things that I was gonna mention to you, Greg, it was like, when are you gonna make… Revise this book in such a way where you take out youth ministry, because this is practical for all of our ministry efforts everywhere. If you’re a disciple of Jesus, you are Gospel Advancing. End of story. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a teen or an adult. So this is gonna be a huge movement, but it’s gonna be led by our teenagers.
0:33:02.6 GS: What’s cool is, I did a little, a hat tip and a new Gospelize to church-wide Gospel Advancing, I told the story of Coachella Valley, and how the 60 churches in the Coachella Valley are all uniting together around the seven values to create the biggest outreach, not only in the Valley, but also to Coachella, the concert. Like when they come into town, now they’re gonna have a bunch of youth groups and adults train and equipped and we did a training over there, we had 150 show up, it was the week after Dare 2 Share Live, and they were probably at average age 65, and they’re like… And they all went out sharing the gospel and came back and shared stories, and they’re like, “We’re gonna reach this city!”
0:33:45.2 PE: Let’s go. Let’s go.
0:33:45.9 GS: I’m like, “Yeah.” Alright. Eric, what one piece of advice do you have?
0:33:50.7 EG: Yeah, my experience, I would just say, be patient, expect difficulty, but persevere through it, because the growth is coming.
0:34:00.9 GS: That’s great.
0:34:01.3 EG: This is an adjustment for some people and for some, church and leadership, or even for students and parents. They have a different expectation or approach. And so you gotta be patient, you gotta pray and you gotta persevere and you gotta expect the resistance is gonna come, but keep that vision in mind that God is giving you of what it means to enable, to equip, and unleash your students in your community. And hold tight to that. Don’t let your grip go. So you gotta be patient and it’s gonna take some time.
0:34:36.1 GS: Yeah.
0:34:36.4 EG: It could, but it’s worth it. And all good things are, right?
0:34:40.8 GS: I love it. That’s great. My one piece of advice would be, and I don’t want this to sound self-serving, but it’s a free ebook. So download the ebook and read it. Really process through it. You could take your whole team through it. There’s questions at the end of every chapter, process through. And to Eric’s point, be patient. This is a marathon. This is not a sprint. This is not just a program, you’re one and done. This is changing of culture, which takes tearing down strongholds, which takes prayer, which means you’re gonna get spiritual resistance against Satan. Some parents may not like where you’re going. Some teenagers may not like where you’re going, but you are the youth leader. So lead the way, in the guidance of the Holy… In the power of the Holy Spirit, and step at a time, doing all this. So, hey, thank you all for joining me on this podcast. And thank you for reading the book. Thank you for living this stuff out. I respect every single one of you. I wanna say this to the youth leaders, again, get the word out about this podcast, download the Gospelize book, look to the show notes for more information, and remember that a thriving youth ministry is a Gospel Advancing youth ministry.
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