The Lord saved me in 1997, the same year I married Leslie, my beautiful and patient wife. In 1999 I took my first youth ministry. I did what I had seen: led worship with a guitar and a couple teenagers, played games, had lock-ins, always ordered pizza, taught for 15-20 minutes then went and played basketball. This worked great and for three years I watched a small youth group (4 students), in rural Indiana, grow to a descent sized youth group for the town we were in (25 students). Then with a merciful God and my immaturity and pride (that's another story) I moved out of youth ministry and into leading worship, speaking, and helping a friend in college ministry at UNC Charlotte. For six years I watched or heard about freshmen walking into ministries and sophomores walking into the world in colleges around the country. Sure a few hung around and strived to be leaders (praise God for them) but the vast majority of students walked in as freshmen with a desire to seek God and be in fellowship and walked out as sophomores seeking parties and all the pleasures the world could offer.
So after 10 years of humbling, breaking, and realizing I need grace more than anyone I know, in 2013 I went back into youth ministry with a different mind...and heart. I promised myself that any student that came through the ministry would be given a solid foundation of gospel and doctrine; so that if they returned to the world it would not be because their soul had been entertained rather than fed the truth of the Word. What I have found is that the saying is true, "What you win them with, is what you keep them with." So we do our best to win them with Jesus alone. We look to Scripture alone to guide our faith and lead us in obedience. We teach salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, and we do it all to the glory of God alone.
Learn To Follow
Learn To Follow is a ministry that has been many years in the thinking. It started as a simple blog site and slowly morphed into a resource for youth to find daily devotional material. The thought for LTF has been to create a site that students, from middle school to college age, could go to for weekly learning and encouragement to grow in their knowledge of God. The foundation for these thoughts is seen in Colossians 1:9-10 where we read that walking in a "manner worthy of the Lord" and being "pleasing to Him" (following) is rooted in knowledge (learning) "of God" and "his will." Yet we know that simply putting good teaching and resources and thoughts on a website is not enough; even if students and parents read every word and listen to every teaching. Ultimately, this knowledge comes from God, hence the reason that Paul prays that the church might be "filled" with this knowledge in all "spiritual" wisdom and understanding. Every great resource in the world can not bring life without God giving us eyes to really see and ears to truly hear. So that is our prayer at LTF; we join with the Apostle Paul and pray that everyone who visits this site and learns from it's pages might be "filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Learn To Follow is in the infant stage and we have just begun to build the foundation of what we hope to become. We are striving for LTF to be a resource for students and families to learn together, grow together, and be encouraged together. So look around, I pray your time here is blessed.