Ministry Leadership - 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 10 | December 2021

Ministry Leadership with D2S President Debbie Bresina

In this episode, Greg sits down with Debbie Bresina, who serves as President of Dare 2 Share Ministries. Greg and Debbie have partnered in ministry for over 25 years. They discuss the keys to leadership and how to navigate leadership culture today. Greg and Debbie also speak with youth leader, Doug Henry, to follow-up on the discussion.

Debbie has worked with Greg and Dare 2 Share for over 25 years, where she now serves as President. She met Greg when she and her husband began attending Grace Church, where Greg was serving as Lead Pastor. She has a passionate vision to see every teenager reached by a friend with the Gospel.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

0:00:06.9 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 I 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 a revolution in youth ministry that will result in every teen everywhere hearing the Gospel from a friend. Today, I’m super excited about our guest, one of my best friends on the planet. I’ve been working with her for 26 years, Debbie Bresina, who is the president of Dare 2 Share and the best leader I know. She is focused on the mission, she knows how to build a team, she’s in tune with the spirit of God. We argue a lot, as… I’m the founder, she’s the leader of the ministry, but we argue, we fight through the breakthrough, and a lot of what you’ve seen over the years at Dare 2 Share has been a result of the conflicts that we’ve had, but we’ve been able to work stuff out.

0:01:14.9 GS: And I just think it’s been amazing that God has brought Debbie Bresina to the ministry, and I tend to be unfortunately on the face, Lord help us, of the ministry, but she is really what makes the ministry work here in the office. And not just in the office, but also with our partnerships and, you know, the conflict that we’re able to work through. I’m more of a visionary, she’s more of the integrator, as the book Rocket Fuel says, but it’s been really good and effective and powerful, and our families are very close. My wife is named Debbie as well, which sometimes leads to confusion, so I have D1, my wife, D2, Debbie Bresina, and her husband, Rick, has been such a champion of seeing the Gospel advance. And so, our families are very, very close. And so anyway, Debbie, without further ado, thank you for being on the podcast.

0:02:18.3 Debbie Bresina: It’s a pleasure to be here, Greg. I am a little bit more comfortable behind the scenes, but it’s really humbling to hear your introduction, and thank you so much. And it’s been really a privilege to serve alongside you these last couple of decades or so, we’re going on three, which I can’t believe I’m actually that old. But [chuckle] it’s been fun. It has been really fun.

0:02:43.0 GS: So, you’re first encounter, I mean, literally, you and Rick started coming to Grace Church when I was pastor there, preaching pastor, and I remember you came in and you wanted to volunteer at the church or something, right? 

0:02:58.7 DB: Yeah, I had started my own consulting firm and had been doing that for a couple of years. And honestly, Grace Church was the very first church that I ever actually started going to regularly. I didn’t grow up in a church family, and so I didn’t really know what that was like. And so my husband and I found Grace and attended and loved the authenticity that was there. And so once I became self-employed, I decided, hey, I should probably volunteer because that’s what Christians do, I think, maybe. And came into the church during business hours and asked you if there was something that I could do for the church and kinda told you a little bit about my business and what I had been doing, and you said, “Well, we would love your help, you could help with the bulletin.” I don’t even know if they do those anymore, bulletins, but back then, you can help with the bulletin, but I have this new ministry that I just founded, and we’re struggling. And would you be interested in hearing more about it? And so that’s really kind of our first encounter or one of them.

0:04:11.1 GS: Yeah, and I remember you coming in and volunteering, because you volunteered at Dare 2 Share for… Was it a year or two before you came on staff? 

0:04:22.0 DB: Yeah, I loved the idea of the ministry at the time was to reach these teenagers, and I had had a really, really, really rough time as a young person, a lot of struggles, pretty heavily involved in some pretty bad things, and so when you told me the vision and the mission of what Dare 2 Share was about, even back then, I was really intrigued and excited. But I started by just volunteering and you were kind of just a pet project, I guess, I would say. And then it sort of ended up where I did some contract work for the ministry, and you guys paid me a little bit of money. Back then I think it was just a couple hundred dollars a month. And then eventually became the very first employee, official employee for the ministry, and so I am number one on our payroll system, so that’s kind of fun.

0:05:24.0 GS: Yeah, working with me has been no easy task. I’m sure, and I know you have a ton of crazy stories about what it’s like to work with…

0:05:36.8 DB: Yeah, how much time do we have? 

0:05:39.2 GS: Just not a lot of time ’cause we’re gonna get to the subject, but maybe one story, ’cause I know youth leaders who know me probably wanna say, “Okay, tell us, give us something, give us something to mock Greg with.”

0:05:50.2 DB: Oh, my goodness. Well, first of all, it really is an honor coming alongside somebody who is so obviously anointed by God, so Greg did not tell me to say that, that’s my strong, strong opinion. I believe that God has called him to barely be a champion for this generation and for evangelism and for training them to reach their peers, and that’s really exciting and it always inspires me. So, even over the couple of decades that I’ve been involved, I can always sit and listen to him tell stories and watch the effects of his stories and the way that he brings biblical truth home for these young people. I can listen to that all the time, over and over and over again, and it really is a blessing, it blesses my soul. But of course, we all know Greg…

0:06:42.5 GS: However.

0:06:45.0 DB: We all know Greg is kind of wild and crazy. I get asked a lot, “Is he the same guy on stage as he is in the office?” And the answer is yes and no. So, you are definitely fun-loving and light-hearted and kind of goofy, and a bit of a spaz at times, but you’re also very serious about the mission. And so, there is a side of you that takes this very, very seriously, but one of my favorite memories, just to get to the point here is in the really early days when we were struggling, we were just launching the ministry, I think I had been around for about a year, maybe two. And we ended up going through some pretty rough financial times, and so that led to us inhabiting the basement of the church, so there was an empty Sunday school classroom that Dare 2 Share moved their furniture into. It was like maybe 200 square feet, it wasn’t very big.

0:07:46.5 DB: And we just worked there all the time, but you were kinda out and about, and of course, since it was the church, there were a lot of other people around too. But one day you came in and you had been studying in the morning, I believe, and you asked me if you could borrow some money for lunch, and I said, “All I have is a $20 bill.” And you said, “Well, that’s alright, I’ll bring you back some change.” And so you left and didn’t come back for like three hours, and I remember I was just working away down in this little basement Sunday school room all by myself, getting stuff done, and you show up and you handed me like $2.15. And I looked down at my hand, and I was like, “Well, where exactly did you go for lunch?” What exactly happened? You’ve been gone for two and a half hours, and you said, “Well, I decided to see a movie too.”

0:08:44.6 GS: I did.

0:08:45.0 DB: And I later found out that, of course, I give you a really hard time about that because you left me there to get all the work done, but I later found out that that was really your way of dealing with stress. And there were a lot of things that we were struggling with at the time, and for you, you just needed a little bit of a break. So, you had gone to the movies. Oh my goodness.

0:09:07.4 GS: As back when you could have lunch and watch a movie.

0:09:10.1 DB: For less than $20.

0:09:11.0 GS: For $18.85. Yeah, yeah, you have a lot more stories. But we’re not here for that. So Deb, what would you say as a key leader in ministry, been doing this for a long, long time, there’s youth leaders that are wondering, how do I lead my team effectively? How do I lead my team of adult leaders, student leaders, what are some of the keys to leadership in your opinion? 

0:09:41.6 DB: It’s a really good question. I’m gonna try to illiterate because I know that you like stuff like that.

0:09:49.7 GS: Yes, I do.

0:09:51.2 DB: So, I would say; listen, learn, love, and lead. So, four Ls. And let me explain them. So first of all, you really need to walk in with an attitude of listening and just seeking to understand. If you’re not listening to your folks, if you’re not paying attention to what’s happening in their life and what is happening in their work day, or as they’re trying to lead either as students or as adult leaders, then you’re gonna be missing out. As far as learning is concerned, I would say that you need to learn from those that you’re leading as well as you need to always be learning yourself. So, whether you were soaking up content or reading a lot or talking to other leaders, you need to always have an attitude that there is something else for you to learn. I know for me, I’m going on 60 now, and I definitely still feel like there is so much out there that I need to learn, I’m especially aware of that when it comes to scripture, and I’m always just trying to soak that in and soak that up. And so, learning is super, super important as a leader.

0:11:07.6 DB: And then love, I just think it’s kind of underrated, not enough people are talking about that in leadership these days. You really truly need to sincerely love the people that you’re trying to lead and that you are working alongside. If you don’t care for them, then how are you going to be able to trust them and how are they going to really want to follow you? And I mean really sincerely love them, and that’s just super, super important. You should love the students that you’re leading, you should love the adults that you’re leading. And finally, just simply lead. There will be times where you just need to make a decision, and once you’ve received as much information as you feel you need and you’ve asked as many questions as you can, and you’ve listened to those who are around you and who would be experts in whatever problem you’re trying to solve or whatever project you’re trying to execute, you need to step out front and make a decision and just lead well.

0:12:14.7 DB: And a lot of times that’s not going to be popular, a lot of times you are not going to be able to make a decision that everybody agrees with, but it’s super important that you make a decision. And then I would just follow that up with, be vulnerable and transparent enough to come back to a decision that you’ve made and stand by it, but also admit when you’ve made a mistake. And it could be that you just made a decision with the information that you had and you got new information and the decision turned out to not be as good of a decision as you had thought originally, but just be transparent about that and tell your team and let them see you working through it, and I think when you do that, then you’ll be a leader that folks want to follow.

0:13:08.6 GS: So, listen, learn, love, lead.

0:13:12.6 DB: Correct.

0:13:14.7 GS: As they say, Debbie Bresina, that we’ll preach. That’s really good, ’cause four Ls have always been lead, lead, laugh and leave. I’m out of here.

0:13:24.2 DB: Well, laughter is good. I like laughter, we should have added that one.

0:13:28.0 GS: See, the fifth L. Yeah, and that’s why, again, why you are the key leader here, ’cause you really do those four Ls well. And you do, you laugh well too.

0:13:41.6 DB: Thank you.

0:13:42.6 GS: You do not tell jokes that well. You try, but you laugh at jokes, everybody hears your laugh. It fills the office, so it’s great, and you’re really good at those four Ls. So, let’s talk about this. Leading, right? How do you know if you’re leading effectively? How do you measure your effectiveness as a leader and with your leaders? 

0:14:14.7 DB: Yeah, I would say results matter, that they’re critical, they’re really, really important. They’re not the only thing. So, you have to be really careful that when you’re creating a score card, and that’s exactly what we call it around here, is a score card, that you have indicators, performance indicators that are balanced. And so, you want things that are activity-generated, you wanna make sure that those indicators are very clear and quantifiable and that people understand them, but you also want other things. It could be that you’re looking at maybe spiritual health. One of the things I measure is the organizational health around here, what is our culture like right now? And the way that I get that data is that we survey our staff, and I do staff interviews very randomly and ad hoc, where I take people out for coffee or out for lunch, and I ask them really just informal questions about how they’re feeling about working with the ministry, you have to have balance. So, you want things that are quantifiable and you want things that are qualifiable, you want stories, you want to hear about life change, those are things that are difficult to measure, but are really, really important.

0:15:36.0 DB: It’s kind of a little bit like the dashboard in your car, you wanna make sure that you’re not just looking at one thing, is my gas tank full or empty, you need to be looking at all kinds of things, there are several different measures. So, I would just really, it depends on what kind of a leader you are. So, I would encourage those who are watching or listening to make sure that if they are one of those people who is really passionate about quantifiable results, that they look for others that work with them and for them, then help them kind of balance that out with qualified and anecdotal results in stories and vice versa. If you’ve got somebody who’s more of a storyteller and more relational, that they have someone around them who is a numbers person and who loves to keep track of attendance and how many people have been saved, but just be careful you don’t do… You don’t lean too heavily on one side or the other.

0:16:36.9 GS: Yeah, so just to translate that into youth ministry language, because we are a non-profit ministry, which is… We’re a ministry focus, but we use a lot of business language internally, qualifiable and quantifiable. Quantifiable, may be the number of baptisms that we have, new conversion growth, what kind of impact are we making in our community. The qualifiable quality of our disciples that we’re making, how do we know the spiritual maturation points in our students? Those are measurements that are really, really super important, so be thinking about that as Debbie talks, what are those qualifiable and quantifiable results? And Deb, what I love about your leadership style, you really are about listening and loving and learning, but you’re also about leading and you’re about results, and those are rare.

0:17:27.1 GS: Oftentimes, you get relational leaders, it doesn’t matter how many kids we impact and it just matters that we’re here in the room and we love each other, and then you get the other side, just drive, drive, drive, numbers, numbers, numbers, but we don’t really care, we leave dead bodies around us because we’re just getting the results. And so, really finding that balance is really, really good. So, what would you encourage youth leaders… How would you encourage youth leaders, maybe they have an adult leader or student leader that’s resistant to change, or that may be a problem to deal with? How do you deal with somebody on your team that’s not willing to change? 

0:18:08.4 DB: Oh boy. Well, first of all, let’s just acknowledge that the last 18-20 months have been all about change, right? Like we’ve lived in a season and a season, through a season of constant turbulence. And I think for most people that are human beings, all of us are probably going to learn how to accommodate change a lot better on the other side of COVID. However, it’s hard. Change is hard for most people, it just is. We’re inherently creatures of habit, and we like predictability, we like to know what to expect, you’ll get folks who are incredibly resistant to change, and it could be just their personality style, or it could be that they really actually have a problem. So, where I start typically is just by thinking about the person, understanding who they are, but then making sure that I take the time to really spell out the why. So, help them really understand why. Why are we wanting to make this change? Why do we wanna see them participate in it? Why is it important? And when you’ve done that and you’ve allowed them to process, and you’ve allowed them to maybe ask some questions about it, you’re gonna till the soil, it will for sure help.

0:19:48.0 DB: Now, it might not be the only thing they need. You really might need to paint a picture of the outcome as well. Some people just can’t get it, they can’t see how what you’re trying to do is going to be helpful for them, and you need to paint the picture of the end result, you need to show them what it is that you’re trying to accomplish and help them understand and catch that vision. And if you can’t get them there, then I would say be as patient as you can, walk alongside them to the best of your ability, but at the end of the day, eventually you’re gonna have to, again, lead, you’ve gotta make that decision then. And I don’t like to go to that place, but there is a time where you say you’re either with us or not, and maybe… And if you can’t get there, then this isn’t maybe the right project for you to be involved in. I just don’t like to do that. I would make that the last resort.

0:20:49.9 GS: Yeah, but sometimes you have to release people, and that’s a hard part of running Dare 2 Share, a hard part of ministry, hard part of being a youth leader, sometimes you just gotta release people from those positions. So we’re kind of in a culture of leadership toxicity. I mean, a lot of people I’ve talked to in the ministry, including myself, have listened to The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, the podcast to Christianity Today, and it talks about not just Mars Hill, but a lot of the talks of leadership structures that are out there in ministry, and we’ve worked really hard at Dare 2 Share to avoid that, and before it was… Well, before it was a podcast, we’ve been having these conversations for a long time, what do you think that… What have you done to ensure your heart stays pure and the organization keeps Christ at the center and not a person? Because in a ministry like Dare 2 Share, quite honestly, it’s easy for the founder, I’m the founder, to build it around myself.

0:22:09.5 GS: And then if I crumble, everything else crumbles, and it’s a temptation. I have a very alpha let’s go personality, let’s drive or driver. So how do you think we’ve avoided that and continue to try to seek to avoid that at Dare 2 Share and really build a structure that’s healthy and a leadership structure that centers on Jesus and not on a singular personality? That’s a lot of questions packed in there, but what do you [chuckle] think we’ve done that helped us? 

0:22:43.3 DB: Well, I listened to the podcast. I remember, I think I had just started in ministry when all of that was happening, and it broke my heart, to be really honest with you, but I listened through that series with the intent of wanting to learn, of wanting to really understand so that I could avoid as much of those pitfalls as possible. I think for us… Well, actually let me just start with my own self. [chuckle] First of all, I’m not perfect, I got a long way… I’m long way from it, but here’s what I know, is that if I am not going to the Lord, if I am not keeping my life straight with the Lord and making sure that that relationship is like this first, then that’s a problem.

0:23:43.8 DB: I need to spend time with Him, first and foremost, and I need to really… I mean, the more authority and the more responsibility I have, the more of a burden I have to just make sure that I’m spending really concentrated and dedicated time with Him and really being prayerful. And I like to pray for my folks, I like to pray for the people that I care about, and so that is just another opportunity for me to talk to God. And second of all, I think that Dare 2 Share for you and I, especially, we sort of… You were just kicking this ministry off when I got involved, and so we sort of grew into the ministry and what we did together as we were going through it, and we became really good friends, and we have permission to keep each other humble.

0:24:43.6 DB: You have no problem coming to me and saying, “Deb, I think you’re wrong,” or, “Have you considered this other strategy?” Or ask really hard questions, and I have no problem going to you at any point, any time and saying, “Wait a minute, Greg, let’s just take a step back.” ‘Cause usually you’re like, “Go, go, go.” And just look at this a different way, and it’s just an unwritten rule, the mission is bigger than us, and we both want the same thing, and we have a lot of relational equity, and we care about it.

0:25:24.4 GS: Yeah, and I think I would agree with all that, I think the other thing we’ve done is we’ve realized there’s a little Diotrephes in all of us. In Third John, when the Apostle John says, “Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, I’ll confront when I get there.” And a lot of theologians believe Diotrephes was one of the elders at this church that just wanted to take control and lead everything, and down deep inside, we have a little Diotrephes in all of us. If we’re not careful, we wanna take a charge, and I know I have a lot of Diotrephes in me. I feel like one of the things we’ve done as an organization is we’ve built a structure to where we have a high-powered board that I’m not on, you’re not on, that we give an account to.

0:26:08.2 GS: These are very godly people that are passionate about the vision. We’ve centralized the vision, we’ve talked about succession, we’re raising up other leaders, and I’m not technically in the leadership structure anymore, which I think is good. I lead now through influence rather than authority, and I think the way that we’ve built the organization, can’t fail safe, completely anything, ’cause the flesh is the flesh, but I feel like we’ve built a God-honoring ministry organization. To the youth leaders out there, I think it’s just really a good reminder that we build our youth ministries around Jesus Christ, that He is our gospel-advancing leader, and we don’t elevate ourselves or a student or anybody other than Jesus Christ to that role, and to keep that going. So Deb, thanks for… We’re gonna bring in a youth leader now, but thanks for being the leader that you are, thanks for being my friend, and thanks for being really a good counter balance. I feel like both of us, we’ve rubbed off on each other in many ways, but at the same time, we have unique strengths, and that’s really the rocket fuel, as they say, for what Dare 2 Share is today, so…

0:27:21.8 DB: It’s a pleasure.

0:27:22.7 GS: Well done. Alright, let’s bring in Doug Henry. Doug Henry is in his seventh year serving as a youth leader at Mission Baptist Church in Southwest Missouri, he’s actually been a part of that church for 34 years. He’s a bi-vocational youth leader, he’s the chief detective at the Barry County Sheriff’s Office. He serves… It’s his third term as a school board member, and we call this the Greg Stier Youth Ministry podcast, but I’ve not been in youth ministry for a long, long time, so we bring in actual youth leaders to be a part of this, to interact and ask questions and make comments, and give their input. So Doug, thanks so much for being a part of the podcast.

0:28:09.1 Doug Henry: Yeah, thanks for having me.

0:28:10.1 GS: Yeah, and so you’re there, full gear, you’re ready to rock, and you’re not in youth leader mode right now, you’re in law enforcement mode? 

0:28:22.0 DH: Yeah, I actually, I guess I’m done rocking it. I got off at 4 o’clock, so you caught me at the end of my shift.

0:28:29.0 GS: Perfect, perfect. Well, it’s always good to have a youth leader who [chuckle] knows how to tackle and tase in case the lack in goes bad, right? 

0:28:38.7 DH: I swore to myself a lack in would never enter my vocabulary.

0:28:42.8 GS: There you go, that’s right. So as you can listen to us, Doug, you’ve known us, you’re part of our Gospel Advancing Council, you’ve seen us interact, how does this conversation about leading a team and a team may be other adult leaders or student leaders, how is what Debbie shared reflect in your mind? Any comments or questions or… What would you have to say about that? 

0:29:10.5 DH: You know, the whole time I was listening to her talk, especially when she went over those four Ls, it just… It all builds around relationships in my mind, and if we can’t develop a relationship with our leaders, then we’re not gonna build effective leaders, and so far as adult leaders, I’ve got a few, and we go out to eat together, we… Of course, one of them is my wife, so I live with her, but I think I’m in charge sometimes. But anyway, we try to at least keep that connection with them where it’s not just a Wednesday, Sunday relationship, that it’s full through the week and let them know they have investment in this ministry, to where they don’t just feel like they’re just in the room for furniture, that they actually are a very vital role in what we are trying to do, because my biggest failure as a leader is I don’t delegate enough. I’m one of those, I try to do it all because I don’t want anybody else to bear the burden that I feel like needs to be done. So as I’ve listened, I’ve listened to strengths that I have, and I’ve listened to failures that I have, so it’s been kind of a stomp on my toes a little bit, but also been something I needed to hear that, “Hey, I’m doing some things right, but I got some things I need to work on.”

0:30:39.4 GS: Yeah, and I think that you and I would both agree that Debbie needs to do a blog post on the four Ls of leadership.

0:30:48.6 DH: Absolutely, and if she needs to throw that fifth one in there, that’s fine.

0:30:50.2 DB: I think I should, I think I should, I think laughter is super important and…

0:30:54.9 GS: It’s perfect.

0:30:55.4 DB: I just wanna encourage you, Doug, you know what, it’s really hard for especially type A driven individuals to delegate. I think all three of us are that way, like we wanna get stuff done, and the quickest way to do it is to do it ourselves, but it is really, really rewarding when you can see someone else do something well, especially someone that you have developed, and so I would just encourage you to start giving away small assignments and then watch folks succeed and tell them that they’re doing well, and then just keep delegating more and more and more. If somebody can do it at least 50% as well, maybe even 80% as well as you, you should be giving it away.

0:31:49.1 DH: Sure.

0:31:49.6 GS: Yeah, and really, as a full-time law enforcement, you have to delegate, you have to delegate this leadership. And I think, Doug, you represent the average youth leader out there in the sense of most youth leaders are not full-time paid by a church, they’re either bi-vocational or they’re volunteer completely. And you have to learn how to delegate, and you’ve done that well. Your ministry is thriving, because you know how to build student leaders, so let me ask you the question, you know, what are some of the ways you as a youth leader, kinda gauge your effectiveness as a leader when it comes to getting the job done? 

0:32:37.8 DH: Well, with the student leaders I have, we’re trying to get them to see the vision that we’re trying to accomplish, which is all based around that seven values that Dare 2 Share puts out, trying to disciple those teenagers that will eventually be discipling other teenagers, we’re trying to… ‘Cause as I told the kids the other day, I said, “One of these days I’m gonna stand on this stage, and it’ll be the last time, and I gotta make sure that I’ve built leaders that can pick up where I leave off.” And so one of the greatest experience for me this year, that was kind of a… It kinda hurt my feelings a little bit. I’m not gonna lie, but it was great to see it at Dare 2 Share Live whenever we sent all the kids out to go do the outreach, they all left me.

0:33:26.1 DH: I was at the church by myself with the other churches, I’d never done it before, we’re just kind of figuring out, getting loaded up to go out, and I looked around and every one of my kids were gone because they all don’t need me, and so that’s… [chuckle] I looked around, and I looked at another church, and I said, “Can I go with you guys because my kids all left?” And so it’s great, it’s like a proud parent sending this kid off to maybe college or their first job or whatever, I thought, “Man, they… ” We must be doing something right, ’cause they don’t need me, but it has a lot to do with what we’ve gained from you all and the investment that the Holy Spirit’s done in those students. And so if I can have kids that are running in and telling me about gospel conversations throughout the week, we do take five for the gospel every Wednesday night where I got a squishy rubber ball that I throw out to ’em, and they raise their hand, and they tell me about how either they had a gospel conversation or something, and so whenever they see me grab that ball and I see hands start shooting up, wanting it, then I know that those student leaders and just the students, period, are on the right track.

0:34:37.2 GS: That’s great. So Doug, looking at you there in your squad car and your law enforcement gear, I can’t help but think it’s probably a lot like training a rookie in law enforcement. They gotta be with you, they gotta watch, they gotta learn, and then you give them more responsibility and pretty soon they’re on their own, and you’ve multiplied yourself. In that sense, you’re a disciple maker on two fronts, the law enforcement front and a youth ministry front. Have you ever thought about that? 

0:35:09.8 DH: You know, yeah, I mean, to an extent, I probably should dive deeper into it and what I have… Because what we’re doing here, people’s lives are on the line. And so what we are doing, ministry-wise, people’s eternal lives are on the line. So my kids do love the fact that this is what I do for a living, ’cause they get the chance to see that cops are just regular people too, but I had a guy ask me once, he said, “Why do you think God made you wait so long to get into youth ministry?” And I said, “I don’t think I could have fully embraced the brokenness of teenagers if I hadn’t seen it for so many years,” so now I can meet these kids on the level that I’ve seen them go through over these years, and I can build leaders off of seeing how they’ve been beat up and feed off those strengths and those weaknesses, and we’re out here trying to save people, the correct… Nobody likes seeing the cops show up, that’s why I try not to treat the kids like their principal. I try to meet them, I try to meet them at 14-year-old me instead of 46-year-old me that’s looking at them with 30 some years of wisdom, already ahead of them. But it’s a fine line to walk.

0:36:21.8 GS: Oh, Doug, I’ll get these texts from you just randomly throughout the day, “Hey, I just came upon a teen suicide prey or a homicide.” You’re dealing with white supremacist, you’re dealing with gang activity, you’re dealing with death, you’re dealing with Meth addicts, you’re dealing with overdoses, you see the ugly side of the newspaper, we read the black and white, you see it in living color every single day, so you understand that urgency. So what challenge would you give to youth leaders about really taking evangelism seriously, like you as a police officer, would take saving lives seriously, what challenge would you give to youth leaders right now watching this to take this mission and this vision and the course seriously? 

0:37:15.1 DH: It’s only gonna be as… You’re only gonna take it as serious as you take your relationship with Christ as serious. But I gave my kids a challenge one day, it was… I sent ’em a text that Monday morning before school started, and I said, “Hey, if 3 o’clock today, Christ is coming back, if that was true, how are you gonna live this day out, what are you gonna do, who are you gonna come in contact with?” And we went through that activate series that you guys put out last year after Dare 2 Share Live, we went through that again this year, and the Star Wars video that you guys had in there, that really impacted them, especially just… Like I was talking about that scene with C-3PO where he says, “I’m taking one last look at my friends,” we never know when that one last look at our friends is gonna be, because my wife’s a school teacher, she’s buried, I think, 9, 10 students, and I’ve told I don’t know how many parents that their kids were dead from car wrecks, suicide, you don’t know what’s going on inside the head of your students sitting there in your classroom. Nobody commits suicide because they’re depressed or anxiety, it’s just hopelessness, and so we are here to give people hope because getting people to understand that there’s…

0:38:36.0 DH: This is not it. There is a beyond. That’s why I love teaching the four-chair, I love doing anything with the stuff that you guys put out to… I don’t know, I would love to be able to just grab people and shove the seriousness of the gospel in their face and say, “Go out and do this,” but you can’t do that. That’s my type A personality, but we did a deal one time with some guys came in, grabbed one of our students and she’s screaming, “Why didn’t you tell me?” When they were dragging her out of the building, and I said, “This is gonna be me one day,” whatever judgment day looks like standing there talking or waiting to get into Heaven. I don’t know what that looks like, but one day somebody’s gonna be screaming at me, “Why didn’t you tell me?” And I’ve got those people, I’ve got family, I’ve got friends that I didn’t tell about Christ, and they’re gonna be screaming at me, “Why didn’t you tell me?” And I don’t have an answer for that, just I didn’t… Nobody was pushing me to. So if you have a youth leader that’s pushing you to share the gospel, you should grab on to that person and go with that goer and pray for the rest.

0:39:39.8 GS: Yeah. Well, Doug, thanks so much. Thank you so much for your service as an officer to rescue people physically and to protect the people of the United States in your area. Thank you for your commitment as a youth leader to rescue teenagers spiritually, and thanks for your leadership. I have seen you excel as a leader. I’m so proud of you as a gospel advancing leader, and I believe God is using you in powerful ways, so count it an honor to be able to serve by your side.

0:40:14.1 DH: Well, I will say, as I tell everybody, until I came across this crazy guy, Chris Selby, who was giving me the dirt share of stuff to teach to my teenagers, my youth ministry had no focus, and you all have majorly helped turn our youth ministry upside down and making a radical thing that now we’re networking out with other youth leaders in the area, pulling them in, and again, there’s that relationship side, so thank you for investing in us, from all the bi-vocational leaders across the United States, I’ll say on their behalf, thank you for seeing us, because not all organizations see us out here, they just go after the full-time guys, and we appreciate you so much.

0:40:58.1 GS: Wow. Love you, man. Thanks so much. And Doug, thanks so much for being a part of it. Debbie, thanks for your leadership at Dare 2 Share and putting up with me all these years, and hopefully many years to come. And all the youth leaders watching and listening, remember that a thriving youth ministry is a gospel advancing youth ministry. So start advancing the gospel. Thanks for tuning in

Keep in touch

Subscribe to monthly podcasts plus weekly tips and inspiration that will help you build a Gospel Advancing Ministry.

COVID-19 Update