11 months ago I resigned my position at a great church in Tennessee, that I was a part of for 19 months. And since then I have been apart of a long search to get back to what I love, ministering to young people at the right church. Through moments of faithfully waiting on the Lord, this season of transition & preparation, had its share of emotional roller-coasters, questioning – Are we there yet? and seeking the will of the Lord for myself. Lots of internal battles of uncertainty, loneliness, fear, lack of calling/giftedness and overwhelming tiredness that only my closest friends know. The feeling of not wanting to go to church or even pray (and I love both)… plus the weight of needing constant encouragement. I am super thankful for so many people who absolutely believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. With that, I share this moment and announcement with them, for it was them who kept pushing me forward, even despite of their own (good or positive) desires/wishes for me. I still believe in the promises of God… the calling he placed in my life over 12 years ago and the hope that what he promised, he’s faithful to complete.
With all this being said, I am elated to officially announce that I’ve found a church the Lord has called me towards in this next season. I have accepted a role @ The River Church in Kalamazoo, MI to become their new Student Pastor – Youth & College Pastor. I will be relocating to this new city at the end of August, and anticipate the Lord doing marvelous things in and through us. The River is a growing, life-giving church with a lot of passion for Jesus and for their community. I had a chance to meet with their Lead Pastor, Rob Link and the rest of the leadership. Spent a few days with them here in Atlanta and flew up to Michigan to spend the Weekend with the Church.
As I step in this new role, I will be leading & overseeing all the ministries to 6-12th grade as my main focus; then leading and providing oversight of the college & young adults ministry; recruiting, training & leading a team of staff, interns & volunteers leaders (adults & students), a ministry to parents and finally creating a fun/engaging Christ-centered, creative and outward-focus (generous living/service) to young people. In order to transition properly, I will be partnering up with the current Student Pastor, Dan Smith, for the next 3 months. This will help me get the culture and DNA of the River, while developing community and leading. Like with anything new, there are huge steps of faith on both parties; huge step for me to relocate to a new city/region/climate and pastor at a growing inner city church (900+ attendance) and for The River Church to bring in a new staff pastor to pastor their young people. I would love your support (prayers, encouragements, etc) as we move forward. This is my prayer, that God would revive his wonderful fame/deeds (Habakkuk 3:2) in us as we have an expectancy of Him (Luke 8:40, Ephesians 3:16-20) as we live out the Gospel.
“It’s in the place of obscurity where Jesus develops you… the real you!” – Pastor Jason Laird
This scripture has wrecked & pierced me this entire for the last 6 months.. “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” – Psalm 105:19 /// with all the dreams in my heart and promises over my life, I am still in the waiting stage till the Lord fulfill them BUT he is testing and teaching me about my character. What you do between the Promise and the Payoff is absolutely critical. How will you be found during the meantime of obscurity & greatness?
#stumin // we have to fight against #TeenSuicide #Depression & #Identity issues. Please share and #repost! YOU Matter!! #youthmin #YouMatter #Jesus
I want to start at the very beginning. Not the very very beginning, of course. But the beginning of this now ending season. The origins of my time in Tennessee, as I’ve slowly been shaped and molded into the man I’m sure God is desiring to create me to be. I hope it brings hope to someone, anyone, who is feeling this way or who will feel this way.
Over the past 11 months, I have stepped in as the Associate Pastor at the church here in Shelbyville, TN because of the need we had while we were growing and becoming who we are now. After several conversations and prayers, I felt (along with my Pastor) that the Lord was positioning me at least in that season to partner with my Pastor, Jason Daughdrill to take on this new Associate Pastor role. Boy has this been a wonderful ride leading at this new level and ministering in ways I didn’t think I was able to do. I always knew a part of me would still long to work with students and young adults. It was a passion that the Lord place intricately inside of me and a gifting I couldn’t just 100% forsake. Both my pastor and I were aware of this desire and so, with his blessing, I was given the opportunity (late May) to begin the process of searching for a Student Pastor position that would fit.
I am both happy and extremly sad to announce that I will be soon transitioning out of Gateway Church (as announced August 31st). Happy because I get to enter back into student ministry which I love so much and sad because I am leaving behind some dear and lifelong relationship I have fostered here over the last year and half along with a church I love. Relationships that has kept me going through tough times… friendships who have celebrated life with me, together.
I am tremendously thankful to my current Pastor, Jason Daughdrill (& Sylvia) and all that he has poured into me and preparing me for great success wherever I am leading at next. I know that without his mentorship in this season, I would not be the pastor and leader I am today. Such a tremendous preacher and co-laborer with Christ. I have personally seen him love and handle tough decision with grace and mercy… a rare quality in today’s time. I am also thankful for Corey Voss, a great friend and roommate who believed in me and encouraged me since day one. This man is a prayer warrior and gifted worship leader for the Body of Christ. Can’t wait to see all the Lord does in him and through him. Would like to also honor Johnathan and Andrea Key for being able to step in as Student Pastors here and lead with such grace. Our friendship has developed into a brother/brother-sister relationship. Excited about the Lord doing marvelous thing in their life and through Rhythm Student Ministry. Though my time with Gateway was short, I am grateful for families such as the Buckner’s, the Bynum’s, the Haughton’s, the Martin’s, the Milkuka’s, the Spence’s and the Throneberry’s. These families have taken me into their homes, loved me as one of their own and been such amazing prayer warriors for me and I am better because of their care, love, and prophetic encouragement/wisdom.
Following Jesus is hard. But it’s the most beautiful adventure. To fully know that the Creator of the universe, the God-man Jesus Christ, the One who makes dead things live… to know that He is for you is unlike anything else. He has made this whole thing – this entire journey – worth it. And He will make this next season of my life, though unknown to me and filled with uncertainty, even more worth it.
I’m eager to see what the Lord has next for me and I am just taking in all he has for me in this journey/transition. (sometime, He calls us into this journey or desert place just to Allure Us Towards Love)
I am currently sitting here thanking God (in streaming tears) for all the wonderful things that has happened these past 18 mos and I am constantly reminded of how faithful Jesus truly is. Through all of the ups and downs, the good and bad, the laughter and pain – he remains Faithful. My passion for young people has grown stronger and the desire to be a part of what God is doing with them is burning within me. Don’t know what the future holds. But I DO know that it’s ALL in God’s hands. And I’m perfectly okay with that. Truly Blessed 🙂
To my Gateway Family and Friends — This is not a Goodbye… simply See You Later!!! Shelbyville will be known by your love and marked by Jesus because you cared. The BEST is yet to come!
To all who’s reading this… I covet your prayers for me and what’s next but also for Gateway Church – Shelbyville.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” – John 3v8
PS… enjoy this song I am currently listening from the defunct worship band, Livingston (Victory World Church) – MY ALL
Kelly P. from GA asks: “What’s your views on Women in Ministry, specifically youth ministry?”
– Not to get in a Theological debate and to put it simply, I believe in Women being involved (in leadership) in ministry. I have several friends who are Women in Ministry (co-pastors/church planters with their Husbands, YPs, and Children’s Pastors). With anyone in church leadership –
I will say that it is dangerous and even unbiblical for a woman to not have a male covering/headship. Christ (man/husband) is the head of the church (woman/wife) so as a husband is the head of his wife. Hope that makes sense.
Jesse S. asks: “I just stepped in at my church as the interim Youth Director. I wanted to know if you can recommend any small group curriculum?”
– To be totally honest, I’ve never used any type of curriculum nor do I “plan” (subject to change) on using any in the future. I’ve heard some great things about ORANGE XP3 and Simply Youth Ministry’s LIVE Curriculum. Check those out:
**A YP friend of mine, Ryan Ashcraft suggested you also goto your local Lifeway store.. especially if you are on a small budget.
Derek R. from KY asks: “What would you say is your greatest passion in life?”
– Seeing young people (Young Adults and Teens) come to know & encounter/experience Jesus for who he is… And see them radical changed. I believe this is my calling as I push (compel) young people to Jesus. No greater joy!
Alex T. from TX asks: “Numerical Growth vs. Spiritually Growth.. What’s your take on it, biblically?”
– BOTH… We need both. Jesus calls us to grow spiritually and numerically. When we grow Spiritually as a church, we have no choice but to grow numerically. God believes in both wholeheartedly growing together. What good is it to be physically strong (large church) but mentally (maturity/knowledge) weak/depraved OR to be physically weak and mentally strong. One is the “dumb jock” while the other is the “skinny nerd.” There needs to be balance! Regardless if you are called to minister to 15 or to 15k people… you’re still fulfilling your purpose GOD has given you. The reward is equal, the risk is equal, the faith and work is equal. Never allow anyone to diminish what God is doing in your ministry and never try to be something you are not. (Luke 2:40,52; Act 2:42-47, 4:4, 5:14, 6:1, 6:7, 9:31, 11:21-24; 3 John 1:2)
Here is the 1st set of the Q&A session from my community of FB friends, Twitter followers and #stumin/#youthmin followers… Shoot me an email or DM me on Twitter/FB, if you have any questions: email@example.com or @meCoreyG
Riley C. from TN asks: “Who are some of the voices pastors/preachers) you glean from?”
– Currently, I mainly listen to and glean from these leaders… Judah Smith, Chad Veach, Jentezen Franklin, Francis Chan, Mark Driscoll, Robert Madu and Billy Humphrey (IHOP-ATL Director, former YP). All of these guys (except Billy) are outside my “circle of influence/friends”
James F. from South GA asks: “As a Youth Pastor/Speaker, what have you adapted as a Philosophy of Ministry and why?”
– Team, Creative & Parents – ALL For JESUS! More detailed information on this can be found here: Philosophy of Ministry
Colin W. from NJ asks: “I’m trying to encourage my friend who recently got saved, what is the best book of the Bible you recommend for them to start reading first?”
– I always recommend to new Christians to start reading the book of John first then followed by the book of Romans from either the NIV or ESV BIBLE. 3rd would probably be Colossians and then the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, & Luke). These are just personal preferences…
Brian S. from GA asks: “I recently was hired at my home church as the new youth pastor. What advice would you give me starting out in ministry?”
– KNOW, INVEST, HONOR & PREACH… Know your calling & identity is in Christ. Invest in your leaders, invest in good mentors & honor your pastor & the vision! Preach Jesus – 2 Cor. 4:5