Every now and then we take a break from the normal routine to interview a friend, author, ministry leader or youth worker we think would have something to share with the youth worker nation. Today we talk to Greg Stier, founder of Dare 2 Share (dare2share.org), which is a ministry dedicated to equipping students to share their faith. Greg is a long-time friend of Simply Youth Ministry and will be speaking in a general session at the upcoming SYMC Conference in March.

1. Dude, many of our readers haven’t met you before—tell us about yourself!
For 10 years I was a church planter and pastor of Grace Church in Arvada, Colorado. Although I loved this amazing church, God used the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 as a wake-up call for me to focus full-time on reaching the next generation for Christ. I resigned my post as pastor and began to mobilize teens for evangelism through Dare 2 Share.

I’ve been married for 21 years to the love of my life, Debbie. We have two great kids who, unfortunately for my wife, have my spastic genes. We couldn’t have kids for 10 years and wondered if God would ever bless us with children. We were so thrilled that he did! Being a husband and daddy has taught me more theology than any Bible class I’ve ever sat through. It’s humbling and exhilarating all at the same time!

When I’m not traveling the nation equipping youth leaders and teens for evangelism, I’m hanging out with the fam. We live in the great state of Colorado and love to hike together. This summer my son and I had the opportunity to climb our first two “14ers” (mountains that are 14,000 feet or higher in elevation). It was great fun…even though I thought my lungs were going to burst. One more thing…I’m a movie freak.

2. How did you become so passionate about student evangelism?
I was raised in a family of body-building, tobacco-chewing, beer-drinking thugs (and that’s just the women!). Seriously, my family was bad to the bone. The Denver “mafia” knew my five fighting uncles as “the crazy brothers.” So when the mafia thinks your family is dysfunctional you have some serious issues.

But this church from the suburbs reached out to the city and, as a result, my entire family came to Christ. As a kid I witnessed the spiritual transformation of every one my family members from violent troublemaker to passionate Christ follower. This church also had a killer youth ministry who discipled us—that is, had us growing deep in our relationship with Christ and understanding theology, as well as training and expecting us to share our faith. They also had high expectations when it came to leadership and they gave teenagers significant responsibilities in leading the youth ministry, which I think is critical. There’s no way I’d be doing Dare 2 Share if I hadn’t seen it modeled in this amazing youth ministry setting first. Bottom line as to why I’m so passionate about student evangelism? I believe in the power of the gospel and the potential of teenagers!

3. Yesterday we talked about producing evangelistic students; what is the biggest key in your mind for students to “get it”?
They have to have their hearts broken for their friends who don’t know Jesus. They need to get their “Jesus eyes” on.

When I was a teenager my youth pastor challenged me to go to a local shopping mall and do some people watching for 30 minutes. He told me to put an imaginary tag on people’s foreheads as they walked by which read, “Bound for Hell.” I did just that. For 30 minutes I thought about the hell they were headed to and the hell they were going through apart from Jesus. By the time it was over I was crying. For the first time I saw people through the eyes of Christ and my heart has been broken ever since. As we put our teens in situations to interact with unreached people (mission trips, local outreaches, etc), we will have the opportunity to teach them to put their Jesus eyes on. Then, as their hearts begin to break for the lost, evangelism becomes much more natural.

4. Tell us about a time you were rejected after sharing your faith. How can leaders prepare students for the adversity they face in times like that?
There have been many times I’ve been rejected. The hardest was my Uncle Richard. He was the one holdout of my uncles who refused to believe in Jesus. It took 12 years of sharing and being rejected by him before he finally succumbed to Jesus (just before succumbing to cancer).

I think youth leaders can prepare their students by helping them realize that rejection is part of the discipleship process. Jesus said in Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

At Dare 2 Share we do a thing called “Persecution University.” If a teen gets rejected for sharing Jesus, they become a PU grad and get a standing ovation from the thousands of teens in the auditorium. Of course some Christians get persecuted, not for sharing their faith, but for the way they are sharing their faith. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about helping teens to humbly share the good news and then realize that, if their friends reject them, they are entering a fraternity of persecution that’s 2,000 years old. I find that teens who truly realize this have their faith steeled and sealed deep inside their souls.

5. You are an excitable guy! What are you most excited about at Dare 2 Share!
We are seeing teenagers truly share their faith, and youth groups are growing in maturity and in numbers as a result!  We are witnessing how evangelism accelerates the discipleship process in ways no traditional model can emulate. It’s great fun to watch the exciting messiness of a youth group growing with new and raw teen disciples.

I’m also excited about the way the Lord has opened up the door for this movement to be scalable outside of our Dare 2 Share events. From training curriculum to our free online training material to webinars to an upcoming Dare 2 Share mobile app (coming soon) we are pumped up to see that God is moving beyond our training conferences to accelerate teen evangelism training. Of course, the Dare 2 Share conferences are as exciting as ever and we are adding more and more new cities to the tour. I love what God does through these catalytic training events!

But what excites me most is that I believe we could witness a true revival in this nation within my lifetime. And I’m fully convinced teenagers and youth leaders will be on the leading edge of this next great awakening. I’m a student of past revivals and, to be honest, I’m tired of reading about revivals—I want to be a part of one!

This interview  originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

Greg from Dare 2 Share (who I’ll be interviewing later this month here on the blog and in the SYM Today) sent along a quick note to let me know about a great new (and free!) training they’re doing next week called Follow the Leader. The focus is to try to help you become a leader worth following – something a youth worker at any level needs continual training in.

It is going to be held Tuesday December 11th from noon – 1 PM Central Time – you can sign up right here.

JG



GospelJourney.com

Josh Griffin —  February 1, 2012 — 1 Comment

Got a note from Greg over at Dare2Share about their new website for Gospel Journey. Loved their new video trailer and website – check it out!
JG

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We’ve held a Purpose Driven Youth Ministry (PDYM) Student Leadership Conference here at Saddleback Church the past several years, and right now we’re taking a little break from it in the current season. I imagine it’ll come back again soon, details of it’s return will be here first, but what are other great options for your core students to get some training. Google is sending a lot of searchers to my site looking for the answer – so here are some thoughts on great student leadership events coming soon:

  • Student Leadership University (official website) – I’ve been to a couple of Jay Strack’s Student Leadership events with students and had a total blast. He has a unique and memorable teaching style and each event is set in a unique location. Lots of tracks available, including some advanced international stuff. Not something for a ton of students, if you’ve got some hungry kids looking for workshops, community and challenge, this might be some good stuff.
  • Converge 2011 (official website) – I’ve never been before, but love the lineup for this event in Indiana. I was privileged to record a “digital presentation” for the event. Sounds like a really great program they’ve got planned with some serious names teaching.
  • Dare 2 Share (official website) – I really like Greg Stier – he’s a one message kinda guy, but he’ll challenge your core students to reach out to their non-believing friends with the Gospel. High energy, conference-like event, with a ton of locations all over the US. Not something I would necessarily go to every year, but could be a solid challenge for your students.

What other great student-leadership/core-kid event, training or conference isn’t on my radar? Post it, promo it, plug it in the comments!

JG

This Christmas break I finished up a review copy of the Mike Calhoun book The Greenhouse Project: Cultivating Students of Influence – a good read for anyone looking to overhaul or reemphasize discipleship in their student ministry. The book actually covers more than discipleship, but the theme is very primary and central to his thesis that of all the purposes for student ministry – discipleship is the one that matters the most. Each chapter is guided by a contributing writer like Greg Stier, Mel Walker or Jay Strack, so while the writing feels a bit random, the multiple voices lends credibility and varied perspective. My wife actually graduated from Word of Life Bible Institute and I have enjoyed the camps and speakers in the past – I think the book is good for many settings though if you’re a “Word of Life church” it’ll really hit you where you’re at. Great title, too, our student ministry should be a greenhouse for helping students grow up in Christ.

JG



Here’s a few of the more than 700 different words and phrases that people used to find the blog this week. Crazy all of the Jason Castro ones, more than 100 variants with his name alone. Anyhow, here’s a few of the notable ones:

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JG

Just finished up the quick-read book from Greg Stier titled Venti Jesus Please. I really enjoyed his last book, Ministry Mutiny, a youth ministry fable for youth workers. I’m not really the target of this latest book – it’s designed to be a resource for students who are checking out Jesus. It once again takes the fable approach, basically following a conversation between a seeker, an atheist and a Christian student at Starbucks one night.

If I’m honest, I wasn’t super drawn into the conversation that the teens were having over coffee, but at the same time the book does take the time to hit on the questions our students are asking. Although I felt at times it was a bit cliche, we’re in the middle of our Dear God series and I’m noticing similar themes to what we’re teaching and what Greg has written. We’ve got a few copies of the book we’re going to give away to students who attend our entry-level weekend service for the first time and see how they work out as a possible tool for our ministry. Interested to see if our caffeinated seekers go for it. B-

JG