Got a report back from our new friend Jens Kehlen from Germany. I asked him to write up a report of his trip for me to share here. If we get to see positive results when mentoring, then it makes it all worthwhile. Enjoy DVS
Nearly six weeks have passed since my wife and I have returned to Germany from Stuttgart, Arkansas, USA. We had the great opportunity to spend seven weeks with Dustin Sams, the youth pastor at First Baptist Stuttgart. I really miss the time there, because I have seen a lot of changes in my faith and myself during our stay. The seven weeks in the U.S. were a great experience for us and we will never forget this awesome time.
I could not exactly identify what the reasons were that changed me so much, but i still recognize a new and fresh way of life and an increasing desire for youth ministry. Maybe it was the influence Dustin had, the daily life with the church family there, or the different culture or all together. You have to know, everyone who spends time with him will never be the same:-)
Dustin became a great role model for me. How he lives his faith and shares his life with his students, the church members and his family. He is a guy full of a spiritual mindset and he lives a faith that is very attractive for the non churched. He has a lot of experiences in youth ministry and he was a great mentor and friend to me.
I will let you know the most important things I learned and which things influenced me most:
- The first and most important fact is my spiritual life. I received a new and fresh desire for my ministry and especially for Jesus. I amactually not sure why my relationship with Christ became deeper, but now I love to spend silent time with my Lord. I learned how dependent on Christ a successful youth pastor has to be in order to lead a group in a healthy way.
- I found out that the staff of First Baptist live all very jesus focused lives and they always keep praying that God shows them his further steps with the church. And if you ever had the advantage to work with one of them you will agree that they serve and work in knowledge that they are dependent on the Holy Spirit.
- Beside my spiritual life, I learned a lot of useful tools for creating an impact on students with ministry. For example the use of technology, videos, contemporary worship music, etc. These things are not only a nice accessories. These are useful things that make it easier to reach the students with the Gospel.
At this point i will share an excerpt from Dustin: “Do not change the bread of life (the Gospel) but you can put jelly, butter, cream, strawberry jam… to make it more appealing for the younger generation.” But more important than any tool is the relationship with adults and especially with the students. In my opinion this is the basis for a healthy and a growing youth ministry in a church. I learned from Dustin to share your faith not only on Wednesdays nights with the students but to actually be part of their lives.
A network with other youth pastors is so important for encouragement and to learn from each other. I remember one sentence from Dustin which burns deep in my head: “Do not only call a friend (or anyone else) if you need something. Call him or her anytime you just think about them and let them know you are still a part of their lives and not only a number in their notebook.” I am so blessed that God gave us the opportunity to travel to Arkansas for our Internship with Dustin. This was honestly the best summer of my life.
Best Regard, Jens
Hit Jens up on Facebook: Jens Kehlen, he’s pretty much the only one on Facebook named that.
Jens and his wife Steffi are from Remscheid, Germany. They were married this past summer and Jens is finishing up his degree at Forum Wiedenest Bibelschule near Cologne, Germany. Steffi completed her degree and now looking for a job. Please pray for them. It was great joy to have them with us for their Practicum and we look forward to hearing about the great things that God will do in Germany through them.