General Ministry
Josh Griffin

stumboJohn Stumbo is one of the keynote speakers at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference coming up next month. If you haven’t signed up (I think) you can still get in before it sells out. Super excited to be a part of this event – see you there!

Three decades of serving the local church has been a fascinating ride. Three years of youth ministry drove me straight to the senior pastorate. Middle schoolers. Wow! There’s a real calling. I didn’t ve it. Preaching to people who actually stay in their chairs seemed more suitable. In all sincerity, what an honor to serve Christ by serving His bride. Amazing! I’m a big fan of the local church–crazed as she usually is.

What is one key thing youth leaders can do to help you as a senior pastor?
Stay out of trouble. Stay out of court. Stay out of my office unless I call for you. Uh, that’s what some youth pastor/lead pastor roles look like, right?

Love the students with the love of Christ, preach the Word with humility and passion, care for the broken . . . you know, pastor the flock entrusted to you. It would help if you would do so in a manner that I can defend if I need to. In other words, when you do something that might alarm the parents (or police department), maybe it would be a good idea to not let me get caught by surprise.

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And what is the best way for a youth worker to build a relationship with a senior pastor you think?
Tough question. Us lead pastor types are often difficult to get to know. I’d say, “Don’t be discouraged if you’re not brought into the lead’s inner circle. He/she may not even have an inner circle. You can still have a great ministry partnership without being close friends.” I know this isn’t a satisfying answer for some, but strong ministry partnership and strong friendship are not necessarily the same.

One more thought: Get to know the pastor’s spouse. People see me and relate to me differently after they get to know my wife. Besides, she’s very likable. You can’t lose getting to know her!

What are you most nervous about as you plan to speak in the general session at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2013?
Nervous? Just because I haven’t even attended a youth conference in almost 30 years, follow Lecrae in the Saturday session and have what 3,000+ communicators staring at my graying head … why would you ask?

What are you most excited about as you plan to speak?
The way that this night came about … leaders trying to do more than just fill a slot with some big name, but wanting to have a sense that God was directing them . . . gives me a significant sense of anticipation. I’m trusting that God will breathe hope and encouragement into some souls that are fighting real battles of discouragement or wrestling with their own faith. I’m asking God for a night of hope, healing and joy in the midst of honesty and brokenness.

What¹s the craziest thing you can ever remember your youth leaders doing?
I’m pretty sure I never heard the craziest things they did. But I do remember finding out about the middle school pastor who used the 15 passenger church van to go “four-wheeling”. The van was never the same, but rumor has it that it was a fun ride. I was never convinced that using a toilet filled with Mountain Dew was the best place to do a fall festival bobbing for apples event. Duct tape seemed to be overused for one era of youth ministry.  And, whoever thought that combining a youth all-night lock-in with a baking fund raiser (sell cinnamon roll orders to the congregation, make them from scratch at the youth event and deliver them fresh at 7:00 in the morning) was a good idea, was nuts … oh, wait, I was that youth pastor.

The craziest of all: being willing to work for a senior pastor like me!

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  • Chris Folkestad says:

    SYMC will be blessed through the ministry of John. His humble, honest and humorous outlook on life is refreshing. It’s probably the session that people are asking “who’s this guy,” but the one they will walk away from encouraged and refreshed in their spirit. Well done SYMC, well done!

  • Kurt J. says:

    Wow…this just became the session I’m most looking forward to!

  • Brian Seidel says:

    I love that someone is speaking in a main session that I have never heard of before…and a senior pastor…great move!

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