Insyder: Brandon Shanks
Youth Pastor Name: Brandon Shanks
Youth Group Name: Revolution Student Ministries
Church Name: Greater Lighthouse Pentecostal Church
Location: Madisonville, KY
InsideOut: What is your average youth attendance?
Brand Shanks: Approximately 50-60
IO: Average age?
BS: Approximately 15
IO: What do you do for outreach?
BS: In our schools, many students are very involved in organizations like FCA. I have been able to speak and lead worship at FCA meetings and “See You at the Pole” through these connections our students have made. Many students also teach Bible studies during lunch and hold prayer meetings before school begins. Also, we have students that have a worship service every Friday morning at their school. The greatest thing that has happened at Revolution is a “come see” culture where students consistently bring seeking friends to youth service. We teach the students at Revolution that outreach is a lifestyle and not just an event!
IO: Do you have a prayer meeting for the youth?
BS: Depending on the time of the year, we have youth prayer either on Monday nights in conjunction with adult prayer or on Tuesday nights specifically for youth.
IO: What is your youth group’s claim-to-fame?
BS: Our weekly youth services are definitely a highlight! From the media and sound to the greeters and cafe workers, our students make it happen! We also take a mission trip each summer that causes students to step out of their comfort zone. On our mission trips the students always come together and step up to make a lasting impression on many lives.
IO: What do you do to retain those that join your youth group? Bible studies? Small groups?
BS: Relationships are key. We encourage our students to connect to visitors. Trips have also been a great way to “glue” guests to Revolution. It seems like when a new student goes on a trip they always come home connected to what is happening. We also have LINK class on Sunday mornings, a small group-based atmosphere solely for high school students. This has been a great tool to retain new students.
IO: Is there a “hangout” for your youth outside of church?
BS: There are many, but if I had to choose one it would have to be HOBO MICKEY’S PIZZA all the way!
IO: Do you guys do crowd-breakers or is that a thing of the past? If not, what has filled the place of crowd- breakers?
BS: At Revolution our services are more experience-driven. We do not use “crowd-breakers” anymore. In their place, we extensively use lighting and various forms of media to create fresh and new worship experiences each week.
IO: What is your “niche,” or what makes you unique and draws young people to your services?
BS: We create a safe place where students from all backgrounds feel comfortable to come and experience the power of God. We have many students from other churches that are Revolution regulars. They have never been to an adult service yet, but they are impacted by the Spirit of God each week. Plus the music always rocks!
IO: I saw on your website, revolutionyouth.net, that you guys do text message updates; that’s pretty cool! How do you utilize that within your group?
BS: It’s simple. Just text “revolutionyouth” to 41411, and you are signed up for the Revolution update! It has proved to be the most effective way of keeping everyone on the same page.
IO: Do you meet on the same night as the midweek service for the whole church? What day is that?
BS: No. We have always met on Saturday nights.
IO: Do you guys have a youth choir?
BS: Not at this time. We have in the past, but now our focus has been on the Revolution Praise Band.
IO: What style of music does your youth group like?
BS: I would say that we are a very musically diverse group.
IO: If you could narrow it down to ONE song, what would be the youth group’s “Anthem?”
BS: “Tell the World” by Hillsong United.
IO: Do you have a worship band? What style do they play?
BS: Yes, we have a worship band that plays mostly contemporary rock/gospel.
IO: Is the emphasis in your youth services more outreach-driven? Or more discipleship-driven?
BS: I would say both. We just focus on proclaiming Scripture to students in a way that they can understand and remember. However, in each service we always make a push for people to repent, be baptized in Jesus’ name, and receive the Holy Ghost.
IO: How many youth staff members do you have?
BS: Thirteen counting my wife and me.
IO: Thanks for the interview Bradon. Be sure to check out his blog, “The Revolutionary.”