Christ at the Center
Yesterday I had the opportunity to catch breakfast with Dan Spader.
You might not have heard of him, which is one thing I like about this guy. The Lord has used him to do big things around the world, including train a team of trainers that at one time reached 50,000 youth pastors just in the US. But he is very humble and has a servant’s heart.
If you have heard his name before, it was probably in connection with the ministry he founded 25 years ago called SonLife (now SonLife Classic), or the ministry he runs now, Global Youth Initiative.
Dan is passionate about studying the life of Christ and teaching youth ministers to model their life and ministry after His. Our conversation reminded me that strategies are great, but His strategy is the only one that really matters.
I love talking and teaching others about leadership. I especially love getting into principle like strategic planning and building thriving leadership teams.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my tendency to view teaching as two big categories: real-world principles OR Jesus.
Wise principles are good–in fact, they should be a part of every Christ follower’s life. Scripture is full of wisdom and the call to pursue wisdom. The book of Proverbs calls wisdom more profitable than silver and gold and gives plenty more reasons why we should run after it (see Proverbs 3:13-20).
Yet wisdom begins with God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). True wisdom doesn’t exist outside of God. Although you can be very smart without the wisdom of God, you will never find true wisdom.
Dan’s passion for Christology reminded me about all these things. He has trained thousands of youth pastors and church leaders, but everything he has ever taught comes back to the life of Jesus. He firmly believes that Jesus’ life didn’t just give us a purpose. It also gave us a method that we ought to follow.
He said that he has spent the last 30 years studying the life of Christ, and he is always discovering more. If we truly look, there isn’t a situation we could come across that Jesus didn’t teach us how to work through.
I was very encouraged by Dan’s passion, and I look forward to learning more about what he teaches, as well as diving deeper into the life of Christ myself.
Three years ago, Nate started Called to Youth Ministry with a desire to equip and support youth pastors. It started after he noticed a trend of people with a passion for students "go it alone" for too long and otherwise burn out, without a friend or mentor to stand by them. Now the ministry hosts online training and networking groups that leaders can join from anywhere in the world. Youth ministers from California to Florida to the UK have already benefited from the coaching, community and prayer support these groups provide.
Two year ago, Nate also started an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) company with a desire to feed his family. Now he enjoys balancing the two and being able to use the business to support his ministry habit.
Nate lives with his beautiful wife, Christa, and rambunctious two-year-old son, Josiah, in Lake Geneva, WI.