Insyder: David Molina
Youth Pastor Name: David Molina
Youth Group Name: Intensity Student Ministries
Church Name: Harvest Tabernacle Church
Location: Lebanon, Missouri
InsideOut: How many students do you have in your ministry?
David Molina: 40-50
IO: What is their average age?
IO: What do you think is the coolest event you guys have put together for your Youth Group?
DM: There are two events that we do that both I and the students love. The first one is our Fall Retreat which is way cool because it is totally laid back and there is no pressure to get ready or get to some place on time, everything is self contained in one place. We have sports activities, a fireside sing-along, challenge/ropes course activities, late curfew, Xbox, great meals, and great speakers. Spiritually, it is one of the deepest moves of God we experience all year. Usually it is mostly our students with few visitors, so it is a great time for me to get to know them better, and give them more individual time both chillin’ and in the altars. Secondly, we do a Youth Week and a Back to School revival with an all night lock-in. We go totally nuts for these two events; transforming our main sanctuary with hot decor, and off-the-chain lighting. We bring in a band or special music, a speaker, and we give away freebies like digital cameras, iPods, gift certificates, money, and Nike Jordan’s. The last time we did it, we had over 300 students in attendance, with probably 180 of those being first time and second time visitors. Last year we had one girl, Ceci, bring around thirty friends! It’s a mad house and we are dead by Saturday morning, but it’s a bad-to-the-bone event. We rent out the city’s civic center and we have tons of inflatable’s: a pool, volleyball, basketball, an Xbox arcade with 4 big screens, pizza, and a variety of other activities. The best thing about this event is that we see the most conversions as a result of these nights. Each time we have done it, we have seen people filled with the Holy Ghost and a few baptisms as well.
IO: What kind of things do you do for outreach?
DM: We randomly do a few outreach activities a year. We do a lot as a youth group to benefit our community and world. In October, we had a series of lessons focused on who our neighbor was and in response, the students purchased ten bed nets to help put, in a small way, an end to malaria in Africa, and gave two sets of essential products to our local pregnancy support center. We also support them with a monthly financial donation. We do cool stuff like that yearly, but I consistently teach them that their lives do more than any mailers or door hangers we could distribute do, so I encourage them to be friends with as many people they can in school, no matter their social standing. The lives of our kids have been the best outreach.
IO: If you were going to brag on your youth group, what would you say?
DM: Every time I have ever been like, “guys we need to give in this offering because . . .” they always blow me away. We wanted to raise $50 for bed nets, we got over a $100. We needed $20 for the pregnancy support center, we got over $60. They aren’t perfect and they do let you down sometimes, but my students are incredibly loyal and supportive of me and my family.
IO: What do you do to retain those that join your youth group?
DM: Unfortunately we don’t do enough to retain students. Not that we don’t want to, but were are restricted a little on available time for us to either train someone, or for us to do it ourselves. Nothing has been totally effective just yet. In the last year our numbers have dropped, because we haven’t gotten our act together in this area. We are going to focus on this for 2008.
IO: Is there a ‘hangout’ for your youth outside of church?
DM: McDonalds! It’s a small town!
IO: Do you have a worship band? If so, what style do they play?
DM: We have one in the works. My wife is extremely talented in vocal training and in her own musical abilities, so we have great keyboards and the girls who sing are unbelievable (they are chosen to sing at district events all the time). Our other musicians are growing by leaps and bounds. We have one strong drummer, and we are developing a bass player and some guitar players. We are scouring the earth for a male vocalist. We sing a lot of United, Lincoln Brewster, and Chris Tomlin type stuff.
IO: Do you guys do Crowd breakers?
DM: The only time I do anything like a crowd breaker is at the beginning of my lesson, and it always makes a point that corresponds to my lesson. I may do that a dozen times in a year. I use a lot of graphics and media in my sermons, many of which get the crowd involved in what’s going on.
IO: Do you meet on the same night as the midweek service for the whole church?
DM: We have our Fuel service concurrent with Wednesday Bible study. It’s great for us because our students’ parents are there anyway so our numbers are better than if we did it on a off night. The only conflict has been that our service lasts longer than the adults so that has been a challenge.
IO: Do you guys have a Youth Choir?
DM: No, but we have a girls group. We did for a while but it went kaput. In 2008 we are gearing up for a new attempt.
IO: In your services, has there been many young people receive the Holy Ghost?
DM: Yes, but not as many as we would like. My strong point as a speaker is practical application, Christian life type stuff, so we have deep moves of God that help motivate change. My weak area is evangelistic preaching so conversions under my mid-week ministry are not busting at the seams. We see our students filled with the Holy Ghost at camps, conventions, and during our Sunday evening service all the time.
IO: Do you have a prayer meeting for the Youth?
DM: Sunday evening before service.
IO: How many youth staff members do you have?
DM: Unfortunately, we only have six including my wife and me. Our goal for 2008 is to get our older students more involved in staff duties.
IO: As a Youth Pastor, what is your vision for your Youth/Student Ministry?
DM: Long term, my vision is to see the students practicing authentic worship and sacrifice in their lives. I want to help my students understand their God given purpose and help spread the gospel in a totally infectious manner. I want students under my ministry to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, concerned more about the kingdom of God and others than maybe themselves. That’s the short answer.