Are You On Social Media?

Are You On Social Media?
Are you ENCOURAGING your PARENTS to be on Social Media?

If we want to impact the student’s world, we have to get into their world! Just like we get on their turf by going to their games, we need to get on their turf when it comes to social media.

We can influence them greatly by being on social media! If you haven’t noticed these days, students are always looking down at the CELL PHONES. They are always on their phones.

We have an opportunity to IMPACT their world! It is crucial for an Instagram, a Twitter account, and for us to have a Facebook…still.

We should LIVE LOUDER than we PREACH!!

Let them see your family and a glimpse of your life! Use social media to encourage them to read Gods Word or to follow Jesus to the fullest! Encourage your parents to be on social media or at least to check their student’s social media accounts.

Encourage the parents in your student ministry to challenge their students to use social media for the GLORY of GOD! We must be INTERESTED IN, what they are INTERESTED IN! We must CARE about what they CARE about! By us not having social media we lose credibility, trust me on this one.

“When we have social media, they begin to realize He/She gets me or knows my world.”

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Michael Hux is the Student Pastor of Team Church in Matthews, NC.

Connect with Michael on Twitter or Instagram: @_Hux


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The Best Is Yet To Come

My senior pastor Ted is an amazing leader. He’s been a faithful shepherd and preacher at our church for over 30 years. A year and a half ago he decided that he would up his game and start meeting with a few others to sharpen his preaching skills. This is a man who has preached over 1,300 sermons…1,300. As a man in his 60’s he said “I have yet to preach my best sermon.”

My pastor’s example lit a fire under me. I’ve been in middle school ministry for 15 years and I can be tempted to believe that I have it all figured out. I could rest on my experience and believe that there’s not much left to learn. I could believe those things, but I would be wrong. Ted’s humility inspires me to believe that I have not arrived. I am still a work in progress. The older I get the more I realize that I have so far to go. This thought doesn’t leave me defeated it fuels my fire to learn and hone my skills.

I get older and I get complacent
Ted has every right to sit back and say, “I’ve reached my peak.” No one would blame him for preaching sermons the same way that he’s been doing for years. He’s earned it, right? Wrong. Ted understands that ministry isn’t a destination that you arrive at. The moment you stop growing and learning is the moment your effectiveness diminishes. All of the great thinkers and practitioners in Christian leadership grew better as they got older because they never stopped learning and growing in their skills.

I get older and I get defeated
There are days when I don’t feel as relevant as I once did. There are days when I wish I knew all of the current bands and played all of the new video games. My ability to be on top of the culture must have been connected to my full head of hair because both are long gone. There are days where I feel out of touch and because of that I believe that I am no longer as effective in student ministry. What Ted has taught me is that I can be confident that my relevance is not connected with my effectiveness in ministry. Ted isn’t culturally savvy, but he is a great pastor. His longevity has produced wisdom, character and strength that isn’t present when you’re young.

In the same way, my age in student ministry isn’t a liability. It’s an asset. I don’t know the latest bands, but I can relate to parents a lot better. I may not be as cool as I used to be, but I’m more comfortable in my own skin. Because of these things I can see the horizon and know that my best days are yet to come.

Having a desire for continued growth keeps me from being complacent. Having an appreciation for my age allows me to see that my time is not done. My best days of ministry are not behind me.

In a seminar talking to veteran (read: old) middle school pastors, Scott Rubin and Kurt Johnson said that your best age of ministry is whatever season you are in right now. They meant that it is important to always look at the relative advantages of the season of ministry you are in. In other words there are no “glory days” of the past. The glory days are ahead of you if you keep growing and learning.

Fill in the blank “I have yet to do my best ____________!“ Is it a lesson, event, training or idea?  Fill in your blank and then pursue excellence in it for God’s glory and His kingdom.

Stay humble, stay hungry, stay hopeful. Your best years of ministry are ahead of you. I know mine are.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

We want to continually move towards a student ministry OF students, not just TO them. As we create a movement rather than a program, we need to think beyond the school years. Let’s be honest. A lot of time in student ministry is spreading the seed and tilling the ground. We are spending a considerable amount of time planting seed and hoping to see one or two sprout in front of us. Our ultimate goal should be to help equip students to become leaders.

From the beginning of following Christ until the day we die, we are on a mission for God’s glory. Our ministries should be incubators of faith in our students lives that helps them see that we are raising the bar of expectation. We are not going to succumb to the low expectations of the culture around us and instead have reckless faith. But how do we do this practically in our ministries? What does it look like for students to step out and be the light of Christ to the darkness surrounding them. What does it look for a freshmen in college to be prepared to enter their campus on a mission instead of trying to find one.

As we spend time building relationships, teaching for transformation and more, we have to keep the big picture in mind. We are another voice into the lives of the students. Their families have the most influence on their lives. We have to remember that we are simply God’s messenger. The pressure is not on you to be all things at all times to all students. We need each other. We need to equip others. We need to rely on God’s strength. We need to avoid tying our worth into the outward numbers and size of our buildings.

See beyond the outward exterior of your life as a leader.
Are you influencing other people with the gospel?
Is there any space in your life where you and I are leading our spouses to love Jesus?

First we must set the example. If we want our students to be influencers, we need to be leading them to influence. It is a picture of naturally living your life and using all of your gifts, platforms and goals to influence other people with the love of Jesus Christ.

Second, remember that influence comes from imitation:

What you and I focus upon is what leads us. If we are imitating Jesus in our daily lives it will spill over into how we lead others. 

Remember today what Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Josh is the student pastor at Church @ The Springs in Ocala, Florida ( Josh has served in student ministry for 9+ years and has a passion to lead students to imitate Christ and influence the world! He has a personal blog at[/author_info] [/author]


Ministry Made From Scratch

My mom can cook better than your mom. Now I’m sure we all think this about our moms, at least I hope so… But seriously, my mom is a culinary ninja. I remember waking up Saturday mornings to her wearing an apron dusted in flour because she was making biscuits from scratch. She would have nothing to do with canned biscuits. Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a package of canned biscuits? It’s like a mile long. Sure, they’re quick. Sure, they taste fine. But deep in our hearts, we know that there is a better way to go. How many ingredients are in my mom’s biscuits? Five. Just five.

For the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to make a student ministry from scratch. My church is launching their very first multi-site and I have the privilege of being the Student Pastor. The first few weeks on the job I looked for a canned ministry that I could pop in the oven but I couldn’t find anything that would work. I can’t tell you how many emails and calls I made to other student pastors, how many churches I visited and websites I surfed. I spent countless hours looking for the ingredients of someone else’s biscuit. The recipes I found looked tasty but I couldn’t figure out how they were made. I came to the conclusion that there is not a canned student ministry. Why are we distracted by someone else’s programs, strategies and philosophies when they ultimately won’t work our context? If I was going to bake an effective ministry I needed to go back to basics. I needed to cook the way my mom taught me. Simple and made from scratch. Here are the five ingredients that must be found in every ministry:

A generous amount of the BIBLE.
Our ministries must be biblically focused. The Bible alone is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. Our best ideas are not. Therefore, we must base our preaching, teaching, ministry and counseling — everything — on God’s Word.

A bowl full of RELATIONSHIPS.
Our approach to discipleship needs to be relational. Life change doesn’t happen by simply transferring information. It happens by knowing and being known. We want our students to move from being spectators to being personally-engaged followers of Christ. Students need to connect with people, not programs.

Our gatherings, events and experiences must be memorable. Whether it’s unforgettable because it was powerful, unique, meaningful, convicting or funny, our aim is always to offer the very best to our students. We want to draw them back (along with their friends) because we have the greatest news in the world to offer them!

A big scoop of UNITY.
We need to remind ourselves that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. Our student ministries exist within a church. We need to make decisions and plan in a way that unites with the church at large. If your student ministry is teaching a different gospel or pursuing a different vision, stop cooking and throw your dough away. Ask your senior pastor or elders to critique your recipe.

Season everything in PRAYER.
Apparently it’s rude to season your food before you taste it. Pray through every big decision you make. No matter how stressed or anxious you are, pray about it. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Prayer is our direct pipeline to the Living God. Don’t make the mistake of serving your biscuit without seasoning it first.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Johnny Farr works in youth ministry at Christ Chapel Bible Church in Forth Worth, TX. He is in the process of launching a student ministry for a new multi-site! Follow Johnny on Twitter: @JonathanLFarr


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Free Walk-in Hype Music

Need some walk-in or hype music? Download this song FREE and play it on Sunday as your students enter! Adrian is one of my Sophomore students who loves Jesus and has a gift!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask, Email David.[/author_info] [/author]

Rejoice Always

Can I tell you something personal? I hate airplanes. I love to travel, and would do it all the time if I had the time and means, but I hate flying. If you think about airplanes, they are essentially busses, strapped with jet engines, that weigh 875,000 lbs, that travel at 600 mph, 39,000 feet off the ground, filled with people and highly flammable jet fuel. That’s why I get a little anxious when flying. I will NEVER let this prevent me from traveling, but I get a little nervous. Flying is a situation in which I am NOT IN CONTROL!

Did the pilot barely pass his flight school? Did he get a good nights sleep? How many moving parts are there on an airplane? It’s not like I got to interview this guy before I put my life in his hands…

But the reason I will step on an airplane, despite knowing all these facts, is because I believe that GOD IS IN CONTROL. The theology word for this is SOVEREIGNTY. God is sovereign which means “in control.”
Which leads me to ask this question: Do we understand and live like God is IN CONTROL? Do we believe that God is involved in and concerned with who we are, and what we do, and what happens in this world?

This is what brings us to Philippians 4:4.

“Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, again I will say, rejoice.” What I love about this verse is that it makes being joyful a command. To rejoice means to exude or show joy. And here we find Paul, remember he is in prison when writing this, telling us to rejoice or be joyful ALWAYS. He didn’t say, TRY and be joyful. He didn’t say, rejoice when it’s convenient, but rather “rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice.”

But even before we get caught up on the word rejoice, I think it’s important to note what is in between the command to rejoice always. It doesn’t just say “rejoice always.” It says, “Rejoice IN THE LORD always.”

This is the acknowledgement that The Lord is in control. To rejoice or be joyful IN THE LORD, means to continually identify that if HE is in control, then you don’t have to be. If HE is in control, then there is no need to be anxious, frustrated, or fear.

We tend to feel anxiety, frustration, and fear when we are NOT in control. Jesus being in control does not mean that my plane won’t fall out of the sky, but it does mean that if that is how He choses to call me home, He will take care of my family, and “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” His ways are BEYOND our understanding.

I’m not going to lie. Even though I know God is sovereign, I still get nervous on airplanes. It’s hard for me to rejoice on airplanes. So instead, I rejoice IN THE LORD. I spend the whole flight declaring how great, and awesome, and worthy of praise He is.

Where do you need to trust in God’s sovereignty?
Where do you need to surrender control?
Are you terrified about your ministry?
Are you frustrated with your students?

Great News: You are not in control. He is. So rejoice in Him, and serve faithfully.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask, Email David.[/author_info] [/author]


Isaiah 55:11 “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me void (empty), but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Write this down on your music stand, podium, whatever you preach from so you don’t forget this!!
Before you get up remind yourself that GODS WORD wont RETURN VOID!! It’s the inspired Word of God that you preach from!!

The WORD you PREACH every week is having an EFFECT!!! Don’t ever think it isn’t!!
You may not see it at first but it is working in the lives of people!!

GODS WORD is and will ALWAYS be the BEST MESSAGE we could ever PREACH!!
Gods Word does what God wants it to!
Gods Word will not Fail!
God is a Promise Maker and a Promise Keeper!! He doesn’t need to pinky swear.
Gods Word is alive and active! (Hebrews 4:12)
Gods Word sets people FREE!!

Remember Gods Word CAN CHANGE HEARTS so always make GODS WORD come ALIVE because that’s what will TRANSFORM their LIFE!!
Someone once said, “The greatest sin in ministry is to bore people with the Bible!”

Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever!”

Keep preaching Gods Word!! You cant go wrong!!

It’s Monday, you could be preparing your message and remember Gods Word changed your life and it WILL CHANGE your students LIVES!!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]

Michael Hux is the Student Pastor of Team Church in Matthews, NC.

Connect with Michael on Twitter or Instagram: @_Hux


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Teaming Up With Teachers

There is a segment of the population that youth pastors ignore and frankly we’re missing out. I’m talking about school teachers. Think about this. We get 1-3 hours a week with our students. Teachers get 10-15 hours a week (teachers who coach get significantly more time). Teachers also have access to many more unchurched kids and parents than we will ever hope to influence. That means if we really care about the teens in our cities, then we must find ways to partner with school teachers.

One of my former middle schoolers is now a history teacher in our city. He allows me to spend time in his classroom from time to time and each time I do so it’s an eye opening experience. I see the challenges he faces each day. Not only does he have to motivate kids to learn, he’s also teaching them life skills such as time management, appropriate social interaction, and responsibility. He is a hero in my book because he takes his calling seriously.

Youth pastors can be hesitant to reach out to schools because we’ve been told by the media that schools don’t want us there. While schools may have an official policy against youth pastors evangelizing on campus, most of them want as much community involvement as possible. Chances are there is a teacher in your church who can be a gatekeeper to get on campus. Work with them to help you find a way to get involved in the school.

I’ve found that most teachers genuinely do care for their students and want to make a difference. They are our allies in reaching teens for Christ. Partnership with teachers is something that every youth worker needs in their ministry.

Here’s what I believe effective partnership looks like:

Encourage Them – Most teachers carry the weight of educating kids who are unmotivated and unequipped to learn. They face pressures from parents and administrators. They get beaten down by the system and the day to day grind of teaching. How amazing would it be if you adopted a teacher and made it your ministry to make them feel valued by your church? Write them notes. Bake them some cookies. Give them a gift card. It doesn’t take much to make them feel loved and appreciated for pouring into teens.

Listen to Them – Teachers see and hear things from your students that you will never get to observe. They have valuable insights on what teens are really like. They also can help us become better communicators. I’ve learned a lot about the students in my ministry simply by asking teachers for their opinions. Start a practice of regularly meeting with a teacher and learn from them. You could even invite them to come talk to your leaders and have them share what it’s like to be in their shoes.

Serve Them – Teachers have a lot of busy work that can weigh them down. Volunteer to grade some tests or make copies. Many teachers must provide their own school supplies (papers, pencils…). Serve them by getting some of those needs met. Try asking how you can pray for them and their students.

When we serve teachers we are really serving our students. Each teacher we partner with means 25-30 more students we are impacting. It means another adult who is encouraged to shape the teens we love. Healthy communities require a healthy partnership between churches and schools. What is one thing you going to do to bridge that gap this week?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]


This week our student ministry has been walking through a tradition of ours called Maranatha. Maranatha is a word that can be translated as “Our Lord Come.” It’s not a word we use or hear a lot today, but for the early church it carried great importance. It was a reminder… a reminder that Jesus would come again. It was a source of hope. The early church would say it to one another as a an expression of joy that their Lord would come back one day, but also to remember they needed to be praying for His return. It became so common that the early church would use it as they greeted one another. There was an understanding that Jesus would return and they needed to prepare themselves and anticipate it.

We are commanded in Scripture to be looking and praying for the return of Jesus. “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” 2 Peter 3:12. It’s a reminder that this world is not all that there is. We have a promise of a greater future with Jesus.

Another part of waiting for the return of the bridegroom is found in Mark chapter two. People come to Jesus and ask “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Let’s be honest, they really want to know why Jesus’ disciples don’t look as religious as these other guys. Ok Jesus, if your supposed to be this great man, teacher, and possibly the Messiah, then why don’t your guys fast like those other disciples. How come they look more religious than your guys do? It’s funny how religion can become a competition for us.

Jesus says that fasting has changed now that the bridegroom (Messiah, Savior) is now with them, but there will come a day when  He is taken away and “then they will fast in that day.”

Then they will fast…

Jesus seems to understand that when He is taken away his disciples will fast. He does not give exclusions or ways out of this, just simply that they will fast. When I first understood this I was floored. When I was saved in high school, I was a part of a church where if anyone was fasting they certainly weren’t talking about it. No one had ever taught me about fasting or showed me how to fast, and here’s this clear call from Jesus to fast. Once I realized this and began to fast, I saw the great importance and benefits of fasting. Because of this, I made a clear decision to teach and tell others about the discipline of fasting.

Today, I lead a youth ministry full of some pretty awesome students, some of which have expressed a strong desire to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus.  I wanted to provide an opportunity present the heartbeat of Maranatha and fasting to them. Since, it is a call in Scripture I wanted my students to learn this in a biblical way. We need to be praying for Christ’s return and fasting for the Bridegroom that has left us. Out of this came our Maranatha week. We spend one week a semester in fasting and prayer.

Maybe you are thinking, “How could he ask students to fast from food for a week?” and some of you extra religious types are thinking “Fasting is to be done in private!” First off, we do not ask students to fast from food, but to fast from something that will allow them to spend more time with God and in prayer. (Television, social media, their phone, their snooze button) To the other objection, we see throughout Scripture that there were times of corporate fasting where it was one voice crying out for God. There are many disciplines (quiet time, prayer, fasting) that are intended for the individual alone, but if we don’t teach them how to biblicaly practice these things then how will they learn?

These weeks have been amazing. We started this two years ago and I still have adults that can’t fathom young people giving up their cell phones, television, or social media to spend more time with God… but they do. Given a challenge like this, your students will surprise you. Our students rally around it, they ask one another before we begin what they will be fasting from. They encourage one another to stay strong and hold each other accountable. We meet every night from 7-8 for prayer and students come and go. We pray for Jesus’ return and for students in our community to know Him. It has been especially refreshing for me as a pastor. We can get caught up in the big events, loud music, teaching, and games that we rarely stop to have quiet moments of prayer with our students.

I talk about the spiritual disciplines often with our students and I would encourage you to try something like this with your students. You may need to change some things to better fit your group, but here are some suggestions when talking about fasting:

1. You can talk about fasting and ease students into it. You would have parents freaking out if you told their students not to eat for a week. Plus, with athletes and young people it’s not good for them to be skipping meals. So, I spend time teaching about fasting from things that hold us back from spending more time with God and introduce food fasting. This gives them a clear line of growth and we’ve had some of our older students give up a meal.

2. Make sure they know the focus of fasting. We focus on Jesus and not what we’re doing.

3. Be sure to teach on it. You would be amazed at how many students know very little about fasting or that it is a Christian discipline.

4. Not everyone is able to fast because of health reasons. If someone has trouble with eating disorders or can not physically do it, then they should not feel ashamed. This is where fasting from other stuff becomes so important.

5. Show them how important it is to say “God is greater than anything else in my life.” If you cannot give up television for a week to spend more time with God, it might be an idle in your life.

If you are not currently fasting, may this be an encouragement and challenge to seek out this spiritual discipline. God gives breakthrough and speaks in powerful ways through fasting.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Brandon Weir is the Student Pastor at The Fellowship Round Rock near Austin, TX. What does Brandon love? “I love my wife Jules, my dog Ranger, Texas Tech, being outdoors, the Texas Rangers, camping, hiking, reading, Torchy’s Tacos and I love me some Jesus.”

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You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!



My favorite Christmas movie of all time is the Christmas Story. I’ve seen this movie every year for the past 20 years! Every time I watch it, I notice new nuances that extend my love for the story.  Yet one theme remains that speaks to me year after year.

A common thread throughout the movie is Ralphie asking for a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. Every time he asks the adults in his life for the gun, he continually bumps into opposition from them. Every response of theirs is the same: “You’ll shoot your eye out.” On Christmas morning, Ralphie looks frantically for a box that could hold this BB gun but to no avail. He receives several presents but is disappointed that he did not get the gun. As he accepts this fact and sits with his parents, his dad points out a hidden present, the BB gun. By giving Ralphie a BB gun, his dad takes the risk of placing him in a position that comes with great responsibility. In doing so, Ralphie’s dad also communicates to his son, “I believe in you.”

Every time I see this movie, I’m reminded of the opportunity we have as youth pastors to challenge, empower, and equip our students. Believing in a student’s potential is one of the most powerful actions we can do. Think about a person who believed in you. What have you done in your life because someone believed in you? Now, let’s turn these thoughts toward the students in our ministry who are waiting to be challenged to a higher calling of leadership–the ones who are desperately looking for someone to believe in them. Are you willing to challenge, empower and equip these students?

If you are willing, you can call students into leadership.  I am convinced that a healthy, thriving student ministry needs to place students in positions of leadership–real leadership, not just stacking chairs and running slides. We need to cast a vision that ultimately challenges them to take part in extending the Kingdom of God through the great commission. Here are four ways to call students into leadership:

Provide Structure: Provide a structure of next steps so students know exactly what’s expected and how to proceed. Create a system and make sure it doesn’t communicate that students can “arrive” to a level of greatness. Leadership is ultimately a call to humility.

Personally Ask: Talk one-on-one with your students and paint a picture of what it would look like for them to lead in your ministry. Try it this week. Put a caring arm around one of them and say, “I’ve been noticing that you have an amazing heart! I believe God can use that heart for his purposes.” Don’t just say it once. Repeat it and rephrase it often.

Talk To Others: Talk to the people you know in your church and ask them who they believe in. After you’ve gathered some names, go to those students and encourage them by saying, “I talked to ‘Pedro’ and he really believes that you can be a leader in our ministry. I’d like to invite you to consider this opportunity.”

Be Strategic: Approach students who are already showing signs of biblical leadership because they are currently serving in your ministry. Jesus turned the world’s leadership model upside down when he required leaders to serve. Don’t simply focus on the popular kids but look to those who are serving.

Who do you believe in? Are you willing to challenge, empower and equip that student?  There are students in your ministry who have never had someone believe in them because of the risk involved. They could shoot their eye out, but the risk is worth taking.


– I dedicate this blog to the youth pastors who believed in me, Josh McCasland and Kevin Libick.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Johnny Farr works in youth ministry at Christ Chapel Bible Church in Forth Worth, TX. He is in the process of launching a student ministry for a new multi-site! Follow Johnny on Twitter: @JonathanLFarr


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