The Future Is Here

EP. 13: The Youth Pastor is the Most Important Person in Your Church w/ Vince Parker

March 17, 2021 Vince Parker Season 2 Episode 13
The Future Is Here
EP. 13: The Youth Pastor is the Most Important Person in Your Church w/ Vince Parker
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The Future Is Here
EP. 13: The Youth Pastor is the Most Important Person in Your Church w/ Vince Parker
Mar 17, 2021 Season 2 Episode 13
Vince Parker

As youth leaders, you probably already know from personal experience that the youth pastor is one of the most, if not, the most underappreciated individuals within the church. Not only does UYWI believe this to be the case, but so does the person who runs the largest youth group in America, Vince Parker, the Central Ministry Leader for Switch at Life.Church. In our latest episode of The Future Is Here Church, Parker joins our host Tommy Nixon to give us insight into reaching this next generation and the strategy he uses to support fellow youth leaders in doing so.

Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Show Notes Transcript

As youth leaders, you probably already know from personal experience that the youth pastor is one of the most, if not, the most underappreciated individuals within the church. Not only does UYWI believe this to be the case, but so does the person who runs the largest youth group in America, Vince Parker, the Central Ministry Leader for Switch at Life.Church. In our latest episode of The Future Is Here Church, Parker joins our host Tommy Nixon to give us insight into reaching this next generation and the strategy he uses to support fellow youth leaders in doing so.

Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Speaker 1:

Yeah , recording. Let me stop my video here. What a gallery.

Speaker 2:

What's a family. Welcome to another episode of the future is here podcast. I'm your host, Tommy Nixon . I'm also the CEO.

Speaker 1:

Can you start give it three seconds? Three, two, one.

Speaker 2:

What's a family. Welcome to another episode of the futures here. Podcast. I'm your host, Tommy Nixon. I'm also the CEO of urban youth workers Institute. I'm excited for today. We're talking about , uh , who is the most important person in your church right now? And so what we're what I'm saying today, you're hearing me say this today is that I think that the youth pastor is the most important person in the church right now, but there's a reason I'm saying that. And so , um, to get some perspective on this, I've invited , uh, a friend of mine, Vince Parker , uh , to the show today. I'm really excited to have him. Vincent . I got to meet a couple of years ago actually , um , on a project that we're working on. We're going to share that in a minute, but Vince , uh , welcome brother. Thanks for being on man. Oh man. What's good, Tommy. Thank you for having me. It's an honor. It's a blessing. Um , I'm excited just to get to hang with you more and get to talk and discuss. Cause you said the most important person is a youth person and I mean youth ministry, I'm ready to dive in. I'm ready. We all were already winning, man. So now that's good now. Uh, we gotta get this out of the way bro. Cause , um, we just got to let people know that today, the day that we're recording, this is actually very special day, man. And it's, it's actually your birthday. So happy birthday, bro. I appreciate you coming on. I mean, this is how you're spending your birthday. I'm honored brother. So I just want to say happy birthday to you, man. And so thanks for spending your time with us . I also just to put you on blast, let people know I was telling Sherry who's who's helped producing this today. Um, you know, right next to you, all right, we're looking at you, you got this cool brick wall behind you, but right to your right and left. What, what what's right to your right and left, bro. Bingo .

Speaker 3:

So you need to start again, but don't worry. It's going to sound 10 times better. And at least I figured it out one minute in rather than two or 20 minutes and I apologize. Okay. For real, for real ready? For real, for I promise. All right . Three, two, Wait three. I'm going to assume me girl

Speaker 2:

Three, two, one. What's a family. And welcome to another episode of the futures here podcast. I'm your host, Tommy Nixon. I'm also the CEO of urban youth workers Institute. Uh , welcome. We're so glad that you're on this journey with us today. What we're going to be talking about is who is the most important person in the church right now? And I'm telling you right now. So you hear this from my lips. I believe that the youth pastor is the most important person in your church right now or the youth worker or whoever is working with those youth in your church. All right. And so , uh, to , to help me out in this conversation, I got a good friend of mine on the show today. I'm really excited to have him on , uh, Vince Parker. My man, welcome to the show. Thanks for being all, bro.

Speaker 1:

Oh, come on Tommy. What's good. I don't know a place. I'd rather be a day than hanging out with you. If you guys know Tommy out there listening, he is a living legend and I don't think he plays some of the biggest . So to me, this is an honor, an honor,

Speaker 2:

Man. I , I wouldn't believe you. But the reason I do is because today's actually a special day rather than sisters. It is Vince Parker's birthday today. So happy birthday, my man, I'm so appreciative that this is how you've chosen to spend part of your birthday. And so thank you bro. So I received that from you man, honor that you're with us today. Um , so happy birthday, man.

Speaker 1:

Oh, thank you so much, Tommy. Appreciate it, man. And I'm looking forward to the conversation, plus you said, we're talking about the most important person in your church. And he said, that's the youth minister, the youth pastor, the youth worker. And I was like, let's go.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's right now. Now the reason he feels like that, friends, if you don't know who Vince Parker is, this is the man. He is the, he's the youth pastor over all the youth ministry at life church. And so you don't know life church. If you've got that Bible app on your, on your phone, you could think life church. And so Vince is actually now he would never tell you this, but Vince is the youth pastor over the largest youth ministry in the country right now. And so I'm going to let him explain that in a minute. But um , also man, just to let you know a little bit about vans too , if you see the clip of this, but, and some of you guys won't see the video, but um, yeah , Vince is , is the backgrounds is really cool , uh , brick wall, but to the right and to the left of him, what, what , what you got to the right and to the left of you, bro,

Speaker 1:

Man, I got a couple pair of shoes.

Speaker 2:

This man talking about a couple pair of shoes that I seen the pictures, but I know Vince also on the side. Now he's a sneaker head, but I also know you slang you slang shoes, don't you?

Speaker 1:

I did move a pair of shoes or two . It helps pay for my, my habit , uh , of bond shoes . So sell a couple of extra, you know ,

Speaker 2:

I know a lot of brothers and sisters in the hustle. So , uh , real quick before we get into it, man, what's one of your favorite pairs, man. But what are we looking at here? I know that's a tough, it's like asking you to choose between children.

Speaker 1:

I just picked up as of today, my new favorite pair, as of right now, today, it's got to be the Jordan one trophy rooms. That's Jordan one trophy rooms. That's if you out there listening, you know what that is, the load hooked me up on my birthday. And so I'm thankful for that.

Speaker 2:

Amen man. I was wondering do for reals . I was like, Hey , I bet you, this man got a pair of shoes for his birthday. So Hey, well happy birthday bro . Excited that you're on. So, all right. So give our, give our listeners man. So we, you know, we're a leadership development organization. We work with urban leaders , um, urban youth workers. It's in our name. That's what we're all about, but, but give us a little bit of a context of, of your position , um, with live church, what you're looking at, kind of the breadth of it as well. I know you don't like to talk numbers, but um, I just want to give people an understanding of where you're coming from. So give us a little bit of that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So I've been on staff at live church, 12 years. If you're not familiar with live church, it's a multi-site church basically mean one church, multiple locations. Um, we are currently in as the time of this recording in 11 different States and in 36 different locations , uh, in each one of those locations has some type of youth ministry. And my official title is the central ministry leader of switch switch is the name of the youth ministry of life church. And so those locations vary again where as far West, as Rio Rancho New Mexico is far Northeast is Albany, New York, as far as Southwest is Wellington, Florida, and a lot of different States in between Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas city. And so I oversee the youth ministry for all that. So I'm blessed and honored to cast a vision direction and guidance where the youth ministry of life church goes. And each one of those locations while kind of look the same they're yet uniquely different. Um, so some of them are in the middle of the suburbs and have a thousand kids. And some of them are in smaller communities and have 30 or 40 kids. And some of them just do small groups where they meet in the office because that particular location is portable and they have 15 kids and some of them meet in small groups and home groups around the way. And so it's just really right and unique opportunity across the board of what we get to meet, who comes, who serves, who volunteers we're in. Some locations are strictly college towns and every person who serves as almost like a college student. So it's just crazy what God's doing through it,

Speaker 2:

Man. That's incredible. So if you guys are listening, understanding the context for my man Vince here is that he's leading 36 different youth ministries all under one church. Right? And so , um, a lot of times, you know, I mean, that's, that , that is a massive essentially like this national youth group that you are shepherding that you're caring for, that you're , um, that that's, you're also dealing with a lot of the issues that all of our leaders listening are dealing with. Right. I mean, you went through the same, you're going through the same pandemic that we are. Right. So , um, so, but really quick, I'd love to hear. Um, so you've been at the church for 12 years. How did you get into this position?

Speaker 1:

Oh man, I'm a, I'm a Jesus. You can say by the grace of God, before I explain the story of the Ashley by the grace of God , uh , 12 years ago I was volunteering and one of our youth ministries and people just kept telling me I need to be on staff. And I didn't know anything about anything. I ain't been to seminary at the time I was in , uh , retail management and just showed up every Wednesday night and just served and hung out with students. And it was, it was a blast , uh, fast forward one day I'm an associate youth pastor, one of our locations and I'm like, okay, God, I see you. And we're about to open up a location in the city. I graduated high school from and I just felt called to do it. I knew the piece of land, the piece of property they were looking at. And every week that's where I still got my hair cut at . So I would drive back to a Midwest city, Oklahoma, and I would walk that building, lay hands on it and just pray for what God would do through that. Not knowing I would have a job or work there. And I became the lead youth pastor there when they launched out , uh , fast forward. We're about six years into the time I've been at live church. And uh , God's just put on my heart. We were opening a new location that , uh , was rather unique. It was Deb smack in the middle of about five different communities. And when I say like five different communities, I mean, like if you went one mile in each direction, you were to literally be in a completely different community. Like we're talking country burbs, urban suburbia, super suburbia, super low income dads, Raul their dads aren't, their dads are locked up, like we're talking any direction. It was something completely different. And I just said, that's kind of how I grew up going to high school. Like I , I was the guy who was like hung out with everybody and knew everybody didn't matter where you were at. And I just feel like God called me to go there. And I got to be the campus pastor that location and did that for like three years until one day my current boss called me and basically said, Hey, and I left you to do the position that I do now, which is the central ministry leader of switch. And she says, basically, you pour into students and you pointed at campus pastors, you pointed youth pastors and you've done all those things. And so literally I interviewed for it and my God's grace I'm here now. And so now I'm blessed to pour in to help develop a bunch of amazing youth pastors from all across the country. Talk to campus pastors and just get to meet, connect with great guys like yourself, Tommy . So that's kinda how I got to where I'm at now,

Speaker 2:

Man. That is incredible. A couple of things, man. I , for of you listening, I want you to make sure you capture this so 12 years ago, how old were you bro?

Speaker 1:

I was 12 years ago. 33.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So I think this is actually really relevant for our art . Like we have so many of our leaders by vocational, right. Or they're not getting paid. They're volunteering there . I want you guys to make sure you pick up on the story with Vince is that here's God that, that pick this man who was in his early thirties, who was, who was doing retail management. I mean, he'd just working right. Making that happen. Had already had, I think you already had a career in the military right

Speaker 1:

Before that. Yeah. I used to be in the army. That's right in the army.

Speaker 2:

Right. So Hey , live, some life had something to give back, came to Jesus somewhere along that line. Right. Um , and then started volunteering at the church with youth. God saw the faithfulness and just, and you just kept on showing up man. And I love you . And, and, and you, you showed up and then, and then all of a sudden it takes a guy who's in his early thirties. Um , and now is running the largest youth group in the nation. I mean, if I was going to simplify the story,

Speaker 1:

You just did it. It's by the grace of God, because at no point in time in doing any of that, that I think I would even work for a church or live church or lead the youth ministry of life church it's by the grace of God. So I'm really thankful and know that we serve a good guy.

Speaker 2:

And so if you're out there and you're listening to this friends and you're feeling discouraged, you're feeling like what you do. Doesn't matter. You're feeling like what you're doing is it has too small of a footprint. Hang in there, friends like God, by his grace, just like what Vince is saying, wants to use you in a mighty way. And events is a , I mean, Vince is such a, you're such a great example of this, especially in humility. And I love how God's used your gifting. Like you're talking about you're , you're friends with all these people in high school. That's just who you were and who you are. And that guy would use something like that to then do, to be able to bridge all these spaces across the country, I think is , is beautiful, man. So , uh, friends, if you listened to that, I think that's a word for you guys, you know, pay attention. So here's, here's what I, I want to ask you brother , like, okay, your leading, all these leaders who are leading all these youth, we're in a crazy time. Um, what do you see as the future of youth of church, youth ministry? Like what, what are you seeing? What, what do you think is coming? What do people need to be aware of? Like what are your thoughts on all that?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Um, Mark, is it Mark 16? 15? Jesus says go on to right . Um, let me get some back history. If you've been in youth ministry and you're listening to this , you have, you've had this exact conversation. I don't care what you doing ? Youth ministry. Hey Tommy man. No , she been coming to church or I see you work at the coffee shop. I love for you to come to my youth ministry that meets on Wednesday nights , Sunday night , Sunday morning, Friday nights. Whenever it is, right? Doesn't matter, whatever it is and you go, Tommy would go, Oh , I can't, I got debate, cheerleading, football, practice, whatever. I just, I just can't do it. And your response is, well, whenever you can, whenever when a practice gets up early, when the season's over come to church. Well, exactly about one year ago, the entire church said the church is not a building. It's the people, right? Turkeys have been saying that for years, but it's been never more felt than a year ago. Right? So then boom, all of a sudden people have been saying that and doing those things and have actually been putting in effort to go to people, every church in the world. Right? Because you can't wait people to show up to you. Well , for , for this particular generation, for gen Z, that only knows phones and data and information, and your kids could be sitting in your room and you can come home and be like, Hey, what are you doing? And you're like, I'm playing video games with my friends and you look around the room and you go, I don't see nobody. And they point to a headset. Right? Right. Like this, that's not a COVID thing that , that happened before COVID kids. Don't buy gaming consoles with an extra controller. Cause they don't invite people to their house. Right. If you got internet, you can be my friend. So this whole idea of going into the world that says, I don't care where you're at, what you can make it, but I can be the church for you. An example would be, if you say, Hey, we meet on Tuesday nights or Friday nights. I say, you know what I have though? I know a group of high school boys that made the, I hop every Saturday morning at nine, you free dot hopper Saturday morning at nine. Hey, that's great. What school do you go to? Hey man, there's this kid that goes to your school every Tuesday at lunch, man, he buys free pizza. Like he's got just these guys who got some money, buys free pizza. And they just, you can just hang out and have free pizza. Like the whole entire idea of we have to go on to , right? Like that's just the starting phase. Right? But not just that, but utilizing students to make it happen. Every church in the world will tell you, we're not about a , consumer's like the church isn't for us, that we are the church we're for the world. Right? I got some variant of that. But for some reason, in student ministry, we say, Hey, come in and consume. Matter of fact, if you come in and consume, I'll give you a Chick-fil-A and a free X-Box or whatever. It may be like, I got some snap wristbands, Oh, I want to start. Well, you can't serve because tonight's about you receiving right. Reggie joiner says this man. Students may forget what you teach them, but they'll never forget what God does through them. Right. And I think there's a part of this that says, I love the idea of sitting somewhere in a classroom, like old school, Sunday school, which is making revival by the way , um, and talking to them. But it's amazing that this generation is saying, Hey, look out there. There's some problems. We want to do something about it. And it's strange to me that sometimes we, as the church go , well, we were systematically programmed to operate a certain way and they're going, but listen, you're telling me that God's put these, these burdens on my heart. Like you said that in the message, like you said, Hey, there's things that will disturb you about what you see in the world. And God's called me . And you told me that, that the giftings and who I am is from God and my creativity from God. But when you're saying I want to go do something that I can't go do something that you just want me to sit here and consume and listen. So I say , I have to say this, that to me, the future of youth ministry is this it's go out and be something, right ? It's go out and reach students. It's take students along for the ride and the journey with you and show them how their giftings and how the things that God's put inside them can make a difference. The easiest example of this, I give people is recycling. I don't know if you're in the recycling, Tommy , you know, you live in right. If a kid walked in your youth ministry 10 years ago and said, Hey, Tommy, pastor just preach this message about how God created the heaven and earth. And I think it's messed up. We just throwing trash everywhere. I want to do something about it. The average person I can not speak for everyone would say , uh, yeah, we ain't doing that. Uh, you want me to use right ? I tell you what, if you go to your school, may they'll help you figure that out. Like the schools are great for that. And what I'm saying is if God had a kid come to you, you should be willing to walk them through that and help them out. Now you're probably thinking to yourself, Vince, even if I got to just, just 10 kids, that's a lot of different things, but it's the same questions. Oh, why are you passionate about it? Well, you know, you preach that message. That's good. What do you think you can do about it? I don't know. Have you Googled it? Oh, that's a good idea. Google it and get back to me. What'd you learn from Googling it? Well, I learned that, Hey, you can start a recycling program. Oh, we need to do that. Or you just need some trash cans. Okay. Uh, we're gonna get the money from trash cans that are the blue ones. Uh, well I noticed that we had some old blue most behind the church or some old black ones. Can I paint them blue? Oh yeah. And put some signs on them. I can I put paper? Uh , well we don't have anything. I tell you what I'm going to sell some popsicles to fundraise for this. Right? So this isn't like, this is like the idea of like everything someone needs to do. What God's called them to do is already exist around them. Like it's already there because God doesn't call you to do things where you're not equipped and prepared. Right. And I think sometimes we make this assumption that, well, I can't, here's what I promise you. There's an adult in your church. Who's passing out recycling. They just don't talk about it. Right. Cause you know, kids talk about what the past amount adults just do it . You find that adult, you park them with that teenage adult. Don't like teenagers. They don't like teenagers, but they like recycling and anybody that wants to recycle, right? Like who they don't necessarily like their past about stamp collecting. And they may not like little kids, but you tell them a little kid is passing out, stamp collected . You're like, Ooh, a protege. Like , you know what I mean? And so I just, I just think when you asked me what you've mentioned is going, and you have a bunch of students out here, a bunch of youth chanting do some thing, do something. Right. And they're going, what are you doing? And you're going like can't . And I go, I don't think the response should be. I can't . I think the response is, Hey, how can I help you do what God's called you to? Because here's the deal. Even if all I had was 36 students in my youth, just 36 students, I can't do it all 36 kids wants to do, but I can ask all 36 kids the same 10 questions over and over again. Hey, how's that recycling program coming along. Okay. So when you read your Bible this week, what did God show you to do about it? Has it kind of shifted a little bit. Oh, okay. Who are you bringing along with you? Oh, I know she brought some friends at church. Yeah. They found out that my church was passionate about recycling and they were like, yeah, I want to be a of , Oh, they found out my church was passionate about racial injustice. And they were like, yeah, come on. Oh, they thought that my church was passionate about poverty. They found out my church was passing about a track of me . And those are the things that you go, Oh, but we can't do all that again. You don't have to do all that. And they will never forget what God does through them. Because the thing I look at is most people say high school leave the church youth ministry because they get older and it's for little kids or middle schoolers. I think they leave because they go McDonald's is willing to give me 10 bucks an hour and trust me with the cash register. And when I come to church, you tell me just to sit there and listen. So McDonald's will trust me with his bottom line, but you, the church won't trust them with the gods that you see the gifts that God says he's given me. Right. And I know it doesn't happen overnight that you have to build trust and work. And this takes time. But essentially what I'm saying is this, the future to me is students being spiritual contributors to what God's called them to, and then going out, that doesn't mean that we should neglect gathering. Yes, we should keep gathering. This is not a pendulum swing to the other side, right? You don't Wednesday night keep meeting on Wednesday night, Thursday night, whenever you meet Saturday morning, but allow students to use the gifts that God's put in . Some , a lot of them to use, create those passions, create opportunities where they can bring their friends in that they can own this faith, that this faith can be theirs. And when you do that, I just think it a difference. And I think COVID sped all that stuff. Uh, like COVID was like, like there was a shift in like, if you just kind of pay attention, watch, you'll just see like, okay. Whew . And it sped up real fast, real quick. That's kind of where I see the future going. Sorry. That's probably a lot, but that's

Speaker 2:

Oh man. Oh, do so good. I mean, there are so many different ways that I wanted to go off of what you were saying, but um, I mean, essentially to you just, you sit in a real practical way of what discipleship should look like. And I think, I think for a lot of people listening, they're going to be like, and I know you've heard these excuses. Yeah. But that's too much. Or they can't wrap their head around that. But friends, it's, it's all those small pieces of inviting young people into the kingdom of God. That really matters if they experience the kingdom of God, by being a participant in it, not a consumer of it, it changes everything. And so let me, let me, you said this earlier, you were describing , um, you know, all the different types of youth ministries that you have all the different contexts that are under your leadership and under life church. Now I'm assuming something here, so correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you have a , you have a pretty wide , um, kind of hold on on how a youth ministry under your leadership and underlying church can operate. You said, Hey, some of them are just, they're small groups in homes. Others of them are like full on youth groups that are, you know, meet on the Wednesdays and the Sunday. Like, is that, am I correct in stating that, so this is what's interesting to me. Why, why do you lead like that? Because , and I , I got to point to this because there there's something to how you just described the future of youth ministry and, and really being , um, flexible and nimble to what God's up to, where you're at, who the students are, what their passions are like, there's a there's it seems to be a space under your leadership for people to do that. Now, is that, I mean, were you intentional in that? Or were you just kind of like, Hey, I came into it and people were doing a bunch of different stuff anyway. So I just was like, okay, go ahead. Or like speak to us a little bit about that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So I'm gonna use this, this word imagery. So in the world of multi-site , I didn't know this was a thing, but some people would describe multi-sites they say, do you have a franchise model or a non-franchise model? Right . So a franchise model basically means if you go to Chick-fil-A right, people might have different accents or look different depending on where you go in the country, but you can the same chicken sandwich you're getting the same. How can I care for you today? You getting the same peach shake, you getting the same things right now. What might be different is on those black and white pictures on the wall, you might have the local football team, or if you're next to a military base. Right. And so that's kind of a simple, a simple way to describe kind of how life church is, right? It's like if I live in Wellington, Florida, and I moved to Albany, New York, I know when I walk in the doors, I'm getting the same thing right now. The difference might be as globally, we might serve the same coffee at every location, but let's say in Arkansas, there's a really nice local coffee shop that everyone knows the idea is that we would serve that coffee. Why? Because everyone knows it. And what's really the bottom line is that everyone feels comfortable. Okay. Now translate that to student ministry. Okay. So what are the basics? We all meet on Wednesday nights. That's when our youth ministry meets, we all play the same message, right? It's the same message. Right? We kind of take care of those things that, what I would say is can be duplicated rather easily because that's the point of a multi-site right? That's where you save time, energy, things like that. The difference is is you can't be in all of these different communities and expect the same outcome. Even gen Z being a very global. So we have locations where like a vast majority of the kids are homeschooled. Like a vast majority. You can't treat that the same way as the location where I used to be the campus pastor at, well, the vast majority of kids don't come in a Wednesday night because it's raining and they can't get there. Right? So like the youth pastor at that location, it took years, but he's actually now able to do 80% of his youth service in the local middle school. So he actually reaches more kids throughout the week. This is pre COVID, obviously. Cause the school ain't meeting right now. Right . But he was meeting more kids during the week than most of our locations, because the way he partnered and cared for that school, if I said, Hey, you got to all do it. The exact same. The point is is yes, you want some similarities. You want the core root of who you are as a church to be the same. Right? There's a reason God gave the vision he gave to our senior pastor Craig Rochelle. Right? There's a reason he started life church 25 years ago. Right. But where you can find that wiggle room is as you go, we got one location that literally a school came to them. A , uh, what's the word , uh , trouble kid school, you know, like you mess up seven times and then , you know, you're a new school and you can't get back another school. They came to them. I think they had like 60 kids. And they were like, Hey, you can have the youth ministry in here every week. We want you in here every week. Right now, if I were like, don't do that. Like, why not? Well, cause you , cause you get, you got Wednesday to do no, still do Wednesday, but you can find some amazing volunteers to help you make that happen. There are people in your church who want to help out. Well, they want to serve in the youth group. No, they don't want to serve in the youth group. I said, they want to help you out at this second chance school because they used to be in a second chance school. And now the game is slightly changed. And so that's where the freedom comes in it. So I have like a portable location. Uh, they meet on Sundays. Why? Because when they finished the adult service, they don't tear down. They wait 45 minutes and start the youth service. Then they used to go into small groups. They tear all this stuff down, load up in trucks and go home. But that's when they meet. So it's it's about saying, okay, where are the opportunities and what actually makes this unique? And the reason we do that is if you think about schools, right? They say the human brain is not fully developed to a 23 to 25 somewhere in that range. Correct. It's somewhere in there. Yeah. Every middle school, every high school and every college in North America, the first two weeks you can walk in and join how many different clubs? I mean , there's a yearbook club, the Hispanic club, the African-American club, the volleyball club. Right ? Because you're trying to figure yourself out, right? This ain't the case for the adults, right? We're assuming that once you hit a certain age, we hope you have your life figured out. But with kids it's uniquely different and you need to be able to provide what uniquely matches that location or where you live. Because as you know, in most cities in North America, you can go 10 minutes, one direction and it'd be something completely different. You're in a different era . A different era is the core foundations the same, right? Like for instance , uh , it's kinda like the Bible says, you know, if , if you tell me you're thirsty and I bring you a sister, you gonna let me like Vince, why'd you bring that big, old, heavy vase for water. Like you ain't got a water bottle or a cup or something. It's the same thing to this day. We always have to bring the core of who Jesus is. That that doesn't change who Jesus is. Doesn't change the heart of your church doesn't change. Right. But your method of delivery can always stay in line with your senior lead pastor, but match what is happening in the youth. Why? Because the youth are forever changing. It's forever different. Right. When you're an adult, I know this is over simple, but basically you go to work and you go home to get ready to go back to work. How many teenagers do you know who do 19 different things? Whether they're trying to make it out of some improv area or because their parents are super wealthy and they're like, Oh, are you going to make it to Harvard? Right. Right, right. I get it. Doesn't like teenagers have some of the same issues, but the roots are the same. And so that's what I mean by like, you have to almost find that flexibility, that ability to stay within what your senior pastor or your lead pastor is saying, but say, okay, where's the freedom or how am I leading up to lead towards my senior pastor's vision, guidance and direction. But also recognizing I'm dealing with teenagers, I'm dealing with gen Z and it's just different than millennials or gen X or boomers or any of those.

Speaker 2:

No, man , absolutely. I mean, I think there , there's some things to say though. I , and I think a leadership principle that I think you're displaying is friends as leaders. You have to make, you have to make room for that, to, for contextualization to , to make sure that the mission is still like the mission. Right. We still want to see young people experience the gospel and understand the abundant life of Christ and come to know him in a deep way. Um, what I like about and love about your, your leadership there is that you give that space to it. Now I would say, man, I , I have , I think a lot about this man. And , and obviously you're part of a really big church and, and you guys are doing a lot of amazing things and , and even just the Bible app has millions of people, right? I mean, like as, as impacting millions of people, I do think there's a, there's a connection between consumerism , um, and control. And, and I think, I think you're, you're in a very honoring way. You're walking that line now for those of those of , uh, you know, those of you who are listening, I know that a lot of you guys come in, you talk to us about this, where you're like, man , um, cause you maybe don't have a leader like Vince, where it's like, Hey, I got this opportunity, but my pastor or my leader, or my boss says no, because this is the way it has to be. And , and I, and I, that kills me and I understand some of that. I get it. I'm a leader. I make decisions. I understand. But it feels like Vince you're really walking that line to be the goal. Like, no, we have, you know, you're talking about the franchise model. And, and for me, I'm kind of like, you know, the consumer is a model of church I think is being really challenged right now. And one of the reasons why I think that youth pastor is the most important person in the church is because we got 1.2 million young people leaving the church every year. And those are people that have been in the church. They're like, I've heard what you got to offer me. I'm good. I'm out now. Um, when we get into this, you know, it's, it's less about how do you make, you know , um, people, you know, comfortable or, or, you know, this kind of like consumer as Christianity, but really saying Christ is calling you to a radically different way to live. And this young, this next generation gen Z specifically is gone. We like give me something worth living for, and, and what I love about what you just shared, all the stuff that you just shared. In fact, the leaders out there on how do you engage these young people is you're giving them , uh , you know, I , we talk a lot about right. Uh, Vance identity, belonging, and purpose. Yeah . And you're taking the time and energy and giving the space to figure out new and inventive ways of how the Holy spirit is moving in that context with that student to draw them in to the, what the kingdom of God experiences and what it looks like. And in a midst of all that you can't do it. And Vince you've been explaining this. You can't do that without leadership development. I mean, that's what you're basically saying. You're like, yo, the youth pastor or the youth leader, can't do it all. You've got to elicit the student, you got to elicit their friends. You've got to get volunteers, you've got to get the church to be like, Hey, you got to care about this. Right. So that's what I love now, Vince and I actually met , um, because you and I are actually part of a collaboration, a project we're calling the 10 by 10, right? The 10 by 10 collaboration. Uh , we got put together on a leadership team. Um, and we're really excited about this. And so really our goal for this and it's leaders from all around the country. It's, it's, we want to reach 10 million young people in the next 10 years. And we're trying to get a hundred thousand churches, right. To prioritize youth discipleship , um, over the next 10 years. Right. Because you have, you have so many young people just going now and something's got to change. And I think what you described earlier, Vance is a great answer to that. I mean, imagine friends, if you had all these churches doing what Vince just explained , where we're engaging young people, whether it's stamp, collecting, or recycling or whatever, and where we're fostering that and going, here's how the kingdom of God makes sense in this. That that's the revolution right there. It's beautiful. So, I mean, for you Vance and what we've been working on, what, what excites you about kind of like what we're doing with 10 by 10 and, and , um, well , you know, like where do you see the possibilities of this , uh, for an impact for this next generation,

Speaker 1:

Man, I love it. Uh, identity, belonging, and purpose. Right. Um, earlier when I said, Hey, there's guys put some gifts inside of you, right there. There's a, there's a purpose, right? Who, who has God created you to be? And then when you understand that , that that's all through God, again, I do need belonging and purpose. That's one of the things that is at the core, the heart of what we do at live church and switch. And so that's one thing that excited about it. Second thing is , um, one of the things we talked about the 10 by 10 is it starts with you as a leader, right? It's really hard to take people someplace that you're not at, right. If you don't understand your identity, your belonging and purpose. And if you think, and I don't want to step on anybody's toes that God's put you on earth to argue with your lead pastor. I just don't think that's what God's called you to do.

Speaker 2:

All right . Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know, and I think when you begin to understand and realize that, Hey, maybe God sent me here to learn something from someone that I can take someplace else one day or Hey, maybe my humble heart will change this again, just , it starts with you, right. Or maybe I'm binging Netflix because there's some things in my life that I'm upset about and I really need to go get counseling. And so I'm not gonna do anything illegal or cheat on my spouse, but I'll just watch stranger things over and over. And over that new Cobra, Kai comes out, you know, you think it's not a sin, but you know, it's okay. And so, and then kind of , kind of this, this last thing is that the idea of like, there are people in your church as in the families of the people who come to your kids, which could be foster families, it could be grandparents, it could be aunts , nieces, uncles, uncles, I don't know where the uncles is , but uncles. And then it could be the biological mom and dad. Like it , it could be any of those things not to mention. There are people in your church who are passionate about serving with students or passionate about what the student's passionate about. So you take all those things together. And to me, it's kind of what the 10, 10, 10 by 10 is. It's like, Hey, we can really help this next generation, 10 years, 10 million. And that's what excites me. And then probably this last thing , uh , state that robot, the capital C church, we can do infinitely more together than we can apart. And a 10 by 10 movement has collaborated and working with man, I don't know who we not working with. You saying it's like a calendar album. Right? Like everybody on it, like , you know , like it's like another one, you know, you know what I mean? Like it's , it's, it's, it's like, it's like that for me. It , when, when things align with the heart and passions and where I believe God's calling me to go, and then God's like, Hey, I want you to hop on board with something. I'm like, man, all day. So I love it.

Speaker 2:

Uh, no, that's, that's so good, man. So man, as we just kind of wrap up, man, I w what you know, of all the , the barriers to things like, what, what are you seeing, especially from your leaders across the country, what are you seeing as some of the biggest barriers that they're having to face right now? Um, and, and what would be some, some things that you'd want to encourage them?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. This is, I'd say this , um, you're not a hammer. You're not a hammer. A hammer is a great tool, right? So as a screwdriver or a drill, a saw a level, whatever it may be. I think the thing in youth ministry is for so many people, when they couldn't do their youth service, they thought they were actually where they use service. Like they found their identity in being the youth service. Right. And with that, God actually called you to do, was to reach students, right ? In whatever context, wherever you live, wherever that may be. But when you think you're the hammer, then it's really hard for God to use you in new ways. Because all you know is to be a hammer. What you're missing is that God didn't call you beat a hammer. He called you to be Tommy or Steve or Vance or Suzy , or Rachel, whoever he called you to be. And he called you to such a time as this, because it's not like God looked up and was talking to Jesus and the Holy spirit and was like, Hey, I don't know about you, but I didn't see this coming. I had to move this dude over here and move this chick over here. I moved this girl over here and I had done some rearranging and some switching around. So I guess, I guess we just got a rocket. Jesus, what do you think? Yeah. I'm with you. I didn't see it coming either. Hey, Holy spirit. Ain't ain't that ? She likes you supposed to be like the right artist . See this stuff coming. So like, Hey, next time, God let us know so we can move some stuff around. No, he knew. So he tells you, the thing you gotta remember is, you know, hammer you're God's chosen vessel. And that might mean that sometimes you use a hammer and that might mean sometimes you use a stru . Sometimes you use a level and sometimes you just got the wind , let God do his thing. But you were called in . You were chosen and you should never, ever forget that. That there's something that God wants you to do. And the greatest place that you can be at any point in time in that exact moment is where God's called you to be never forget that because God has placed you there,

Speaker 2:

Man. That's awesome. And I think that just speaks to friends . Like, you know, sometimes the pastors, like they give you a word, but then it kind of, it kind of looks like just like a lot of smoke. Like you're like, yeah. But, but, but if you, if you listened earlier to Vince's story that this man , uh, this man has been living that out. And so I think , uh , you know, from your story too , as a early 30 year old, who just was faithful, man, and God knew 12 years later, you'd be here at this time, right. During a pandemic of leading all these people. And so friends , I hope you hear that, man. I love that Vance. And , and I just so appreciative of you brother and , and all that you're doing. And we just pray that , um, you know, that God continues to just work through you. And , um, and that those of you out there hearing that, that you would receive that as a word from God that he sees you, he hears you. And that, that , um, whenever you heard this recording, that, that he's talking to you. So, so stay in there , uh, and , and keep on pressing him because God's up to something and he trusts you with it and he's called you to it. So I love that man. Vince brother, I appreciate you, man. Thanks so much for being on with us dude. And I'm excited friends. Uh, we're going to be dropping some stuff on this 10 by 10 , uh, coming really soon here. And so , uh, just stick with this pay attention. Um , like Vince said, I'm not sure of anybody, not like part of this collaboration. It's, it's going to be a massive movement, especially in the next 10 years. And so, and, and Vince and I get to be on the , uh, you know , uh , the forefront of all that. And so man, blessed to have you on man. Happy birthday, brother. Uh , thanks so much for being all, bro. It was honor to be here. Thank you. Yeah, man. So France , join us next time for the features here podcast. Thanks for joining us today, man. We'll see you guys next time.

Speaker 4:

Yes .