As I am gaining altitude in a jet that seats about 60 people, I am grateful for space.  I am in a two-seat row by my self in the back of the plane.   Good times.  I just left the airport in Little Rock on the first leg of this trip to Germany.  On to Chicago and then to Frankfurt, Germany!  My friends Jens and Steffi will be picking me up tomorrow sometime I hope.  I will be speaking at Teenagerfreizeit Rehe 2011.  I was told there were approximately 90 students from all over Germany attending this annual event that is sponsored by Wiedenest Bibleschule.

I can hear many of you thinking…I didn’t know Dustin spoke German.  Well I don’t.  I can butcher the language with the best of you.  But about 10 years ago I was privileged to make a connection with my friends in Germany while I was a Youth Pastor in Florida.  A pastor that was on staff with me in Titusville, FL had also served in Germany.  An acquaintance of his had a friend that wanted to learn about student ministry in the united states…with a few phone calls and favors being promised to me, batta bip…batta boop, Bob’s your uncle and I had my very own German!  I took care of him and loved him and called him Toby.  Toby stayed with my wife and I for 6 months or so, working alongside me and absorbing all he could about ministry in the USA.  This was the beginning of life long friendships and investment in the next generation of leaders in Deutschland.Continue reading

Here is a good run down of an average Wednesday Evening service at “Flipside 517”. FS Black We are located in Stuttgart, AR (check out the street view to see our building), which is known as the “Rice and Duck Capital of the World”. You can take a look at the Ministry at a Glance to see the size of schools and community that we are actively working in.  We average 120+ students during our mid-week service and have 400+ active students that we see during any given time of the year (including other outreach events and programs).  Keep in mind, “Flipside 517” is specifically designed as a weekly outreach and topics/series are designed for that atmosphere, we strive to provide a safe environment where students want to invite their friends.  With that said, here is a rundown of what a typical Wednesday night looks like.

4:30pm-5:30pm: Student Leaders and the fiveoneseven band arrive for practice and set up.  Our student leaders are responsible for setup while the band runs through the set for the evening. 

  • Set up includes:
  • Stocking the soda machine with soda & water
  • Chairs (this is my least favorite part of the set up process and the STUleas do a great service for us each week)
  • The smaller “teaching” stage that I use (including a 1960’s Science Lab Stool that I have used for 10 years…jus’sayin)
  • Cafe’ setup (including making sure the Cafe’ register has adequate change)
  • Sign-in stand (this includes complete list of students with barcodes, hands are stamped as the enter the building)
  • Game Room Set up: Video Game Systems & making sure Pool Tables and Foosball tables have the proper equipment, Security Personnelfiveoneseven band stage Chairs are in the right spots, lights on, AC/Heat, and anything else needed to get this area ready to go for the night.
  • Bathrooms are stocked
  • Basketball Goals set up (Four basketballs with AIR in them are highly recommended)
  • AC/Heat
  • Sound Check/Easy Worship , IPods in place

Cafe' 15:30-6:00pm- Adult Leaders Arrive and in place (usually 15+ or so scheduled for each Flipside 517)

6:00pm- Doors Open/Student Check-In, IPod Music up and running, Stage Lights, Videos Running as needed (Interlinc Video Compilations usually). New students fill out N-Fo cards, teamed with a student (usually the student that invited them) to get a tour, and are given free soda or candy from the Cafe’.  Parents are welcome to stay for our service so we usually have quite a few adults and church members hanging around for this or to sit in during the music part of worship…it is just that good 😉

6:00pm-6:50pm- Free Time for students/Fellowship. Game Room, Cafe’, outside area are open (however all students are brought in from outside @ 6:30pm, this is the point that if a student leaves the premises they cannot return) Adults are actively patrolling both inside and outside facility

6:40pm-begin 10 minute countdown.  The band and support staff meet for prayer together.  During this time the house lights are brought down and basketballs are put away as students begin to find their seats.  At t-minus 2 minutes music is turned up and most students have found their seats.

6:50pm-Welcome and Prayer. 5-7 minutes max.  Pizza order is phoned in for those that will be hanging out after Flipside 517 at pizza place next door.

6:55-7pm- Worship Set Begins.  Students are invited “down front” to engage with the fiveoneseven band.

7:20pm-8pm- Teaching time. (This may include a game, illustration event, Room Invasion Video, etc. prior to me speaking)CJones Facecake

8pm- Final Announcements: Upcoming Events, sign ups, etc.

8:05pm-Chairs are stacked up and free time.  Occasionally large scale games are begun at this time until doors close

8:30pm- Students are picked up/Church Van takes students home/Music is off and clean up is in full effect.  Students also start moving toward pizza place during this time.  For $5 they can eat pizza and wait for parents to pick them up there.  I and other adults attend this as well. 

9:00pm-After students are all headed home, I make a final check of the building and lock up (several adults are capable of doing this) and I head to the office to input student attendance and new student emails/letters/info into Youth Assistant.

9:00-1am- I usually get a ton of work done in the office (with no one around it tends to be pretty quiet…except for scary church building noises that have led-more than once- to me walking around the church with a big Excalibur sword checking it out…no foolin’, so if you see me on Fox News sometime because I have run a Deacon through with my sword…you will know it is because they scared me late at night.)  It is a hectic schedule on Wednesdays, but worth every bit of the work when we see student’s lives being impacted for Christ.  Blessings, hope this helps. Dustin

morrisonMatt Morrison was born and raised in the suburbs of Dallas, TX. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies and a minor in Speech Communications. He is currently a student at Dallas Theological Seminary, seeking a Master of Theology.

“When I come out to a place, I love to communicate the powerful stories of the Bible. When I share stories from my own life, it helps these ancient narratives become tangible. Through that, it is my goal to see the student connect the dots and walk out differently than he came in. But above all, if I don’t take the time to invest in the kids off stage, I have failed to minister the way God has called me to.”

“To the youth leaders out there: I admire the men and women who dare to bridge that gap between the adults and the youth every time the church doors open. Your investments will live long past your own days. It is a great honor to minister alongside you from the pulpit during your events.”

Based out of Garland, TX
Contact via