Roger has a wealth of experience developing incredible youth ministry experiences. I took the chance to interview Roger as a way of introducing him to those in the ym360 Community who may not have had a chance to meet him.
I selected a few of the questions Roger and I discussed. If you'd like the full version of our interview, you can CLICK HERE.
Talk about your experience and how you came to join ym360.
First of all, my wife Becca and I are excited to join the ym360 family. I spent the last 25 years of ministry focused on creating meaningful experiences and resources for the next-generation. When we felt like the Lord prompted us to step away from our last ministry assignment, we were unsure of what the next season would be. Throughout our journey to ym360, we felt our calling has remained clear and consistent. Joining the team in the role of President will allow us to help bring new leadership capacity to the growing ym360 team, along with you and Andy Blanks, (co-founder/Publisher), who have lead this ministry well over the last five years. I'm personally very excited about partnering together as we seek to serve churches. In day-to-day stuff, I will lead live experiences like camps, conferences, training events and focus my time on growing our relationships with ministry leaders and the churches we serve.
Why do you think camps and events are important in the growth and development of a young Christ-follower?
Jesus is always a great example to follow. As you read the scriptures, you see Him often retreating from the crowds and the normal flow of life. He goes away and spends intimate time with His followers, or with His Father. I believe that model still has great value. When we remove ourselves from the distractions of our lives, we tend to hear the Lord more clearly. We tend to spend more time in healthy Biblical community. And we often understand more wisely how we are to spend time serving and making the truth of the Gospel known. I want teenagers to have these experiences. I've heard some say that camps and such are dead. Well, from my perspective and experience, they still have an amazing impact when done well, and when prioritizing the right things.
Talk a little bit about GENERATE camp. What about it excites you?
As I mentioned, camp has always been special for me. We are excited about this new option for churches. We will be able to provide a one-week experience that impacts the other 51-weeks, and provide it at a great value. We want to help lead students to know Christ and to make Him known; that will always be the goal, and will be the driving mission behind GENERATE. This is accomplished through a strong commitment to the Word on all platforms. We are also looking forward to working with many friends, and my family and I are planning on being at the camps throughout the summer, so that should be fun for us.
What roles did you have during your time at Student Life?
It was a small team when I started--we had about five full time staff--so everyone did a bit of everything. But my primary focus was camps and then conferences. I served year-round creating our summer events, and also giving hands-on leadership to them for five years. I then moved into a role as Director of Camps, and then, as the ministry grew its reach, Senior Vice President leading all events. For the last five years, I served as the President of Student Life. I may know where every college in the country is. It’s great for school mascot trivia.
Why did you decide it was time to leave your role leading Student Life?
Many people have asked me that question. We loved our time serving there, and loved the work we did and the people we served with. Student Life is a huge part of my heritage. Becca and I were talking a few weeks ago, and she too has been involved with Student Life for 20 years, either as a student minister or serving alongside me. But over the last season of life, we just felt like the Lord was moving us to step away. We made the decision early to give plenty of time for healthy transition in leadership, and it gave us a lot of time to pray and consider our next assignment while also ending our time well at Student Life.
The team here is doing some amazing things for youth ministers and youth workers. I am a believer that God is honored in excellence, and excellence attracts good people. That has obviously been true here. It is important to not just partner with projects, but also the people. And we know you guys very well. We trust you. Many don’t know that I was actually a Bible study teacher for you, Les, when you were a fourth grader! There is actually a picture floating around somewhere. (I’m not sure who looked more awkward.) And then your wife, Jamie, was in Becca’s student ministry at Brook Hills. After Becca left her role at the church she joined the team at Student Life Bible Study and worked with Andy. So there are a lot of connections. But I think the biggest reason is the mission. It lines up with where our family is, and we believe we can leverage our talents, gifts, and abilities for it.
I hope this sheds some light on who Roger is and what he is bringing to our team. We're extremely excited to have Roger and his family join us, and to be pushing out in this new area of ministry.
If you have any questions or thoughts, please give us a call (888.969.6360) or live chat us (see link at the top of the site).