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

Eric BallEric Ball is a great friend, father, and speaker. He would be a great fit for any event. He has a passion for students and youth pastors/workers alike. Eric is able to take the Gospel and present it in ways that resonate with people and lives are changed. I have known Eric as a mentor and he has invested in my students on a personal level, even opening his home to them. I am sure that you and your ministry will benefit from having Eric share his Faith at your event.

“As a veteran student pastor, Eric has experienced the explosive move of God in his ministry having the privilege to see it grow from three students to over several hundred students weekly. The evangelistic and discipleship strategies Eric implemented had profound affect upon the community with even non-churched parents giving financially to his youth ministry because of the impact upon their children. Eric also pioneered student missions in his church by developing its first junior and senior high student-led short-term mission trips. His vision for training led to the development of an intensive Intern Training Program which received acceptance as an official training program from the Youth Ministry Department of Columbia International University. Hundreds of young men and women received practical ministry skills and are now serving the Lord all over the world.” excerpt from

See a quote from me from 2005 that was published in a ROYS Newsletter.

“First of all I wanted to say thanks to all of you at ROYS for your continued investment in Youth Pastors like me. Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry is a tool that allows us to bring our ministries into focus. Any youth guy with a few tricks in his pocket and some half-baked ideas can draw students, but to truly have an impact on the lives of the younger generation there needs to be a genuine desire to be in their lives for the long haul. I had some skills and even a little creativity, but what JFYM has done is bring all of those things I was doing for ministry and centralized them to be more effective, and I have seen the results first hand. I had read a little of Barry’s writings early on in my ministry and then served in a church were I had the privilege to pastor the daughters of one of your Eagle Leaders, Eric Ball. Eric invested in me in a way that didn’t seem condescending, but out of a friendship that he extended to me. Through him I began to grasp the overall idea of what JFYM was all about. I now find myself serving in a greatEric Ball
church in Arkansas and I am applying the JFYM biblical principles throughout our ministry here. It has been a fun ride. I am starting to see students feel the beginnings of a call to ministry, students that genuinely have a desire to see their peers know Christ, and adults that are starting to catch on, too. I prayed for other youth workers and pastors in my area that I could help mentor and train, and God has begun building those relationships, too. Matt is a young man in his 20’s who has a desire to be better equipped for ministry. (He serves in another church in town, but that doesn’t matter.) Our relationship supersedes any “turf war”.
Since becoming an Eagle Leader with ROYS, I have become even more impressed with the individuals at ROYS. There is a desire to see others become what God has planned them to be. There are no egos involved, just a passion to see students come to Jesus. You do that by multiplying yourselves. Not a new concept…just an effective one. Thanks for being there for us!” Dustin Sams, FBC Stuttgart, Arkansas

Based out of Titusville, FL
Contact via E-3 Ministries @

Student LeaderStep Two: Accountability
I recommend that you have this well planned out ahead of time, because there will always be that one student that tests something not thought through. It will happen. So plan for it. I have the same standard plan that most Youth Pastor’s have. I have a certain mental picture of what I feel God wants a student to be prepared for before leaving our ministry and entering the next step, whatever that may be. It could be college or the workforce or military life. Each student is different and I tailor ministry to each one that I meet but there is a general set of expectations that I have for students that plan on sticking with Student Leadership here.
1. They have to show interest in it. I do not seek out students at this point. Encouragment is at all levels of our ministry and this has been successful in moving students from one level to another. So the questions usually go like this, “Dustin, what does it take to be a student leader?” Bingo. Next Step.
2. I sit down with each student and go over the expectations very quickly and then let them think on it. I cover the high points and let them know that by “signing” on with Student Leadership they are agreeing to all of the above. Here they are. a)Faith in Christ. I allow them to share their testimony with me. b)Church attendance. We have several different denominations involved with our weekly ministry, so attendance at their home church is required. If they don’t have a home church, they must be at ours. At least 3 out of four Sundays a month. I set the bar high. If a students starts to slack off in this area, I always check in and see what is up. c)Attendance at all Student Ministry Events is required for them. Obviously, not everyone can be at all the events all the time, so they just need to let me know what is up. So basically, there are times that Student Leaders are excused. d)By being a Student Leader, they are held to higher standards than others. They are giving me permission to call them on the carpet for their behavior…this includes online, school activities, anything that may affect their witness is fair game. I am up front about this and obviously I handle all of those issues individually and with grace. Teaching opportunities should never be wasted.

**Additional thoughts on Accountability: I often ask for report cards/mid-term grades and make sure that they are keeping up with the studies (No Pass/No Play). If they get in trouble at home/school, then there are ramifications on this level as well.

This will get them to the next step, Discipleship see pt 3

runks.dknob.72dpi[1]Contact him at

I have had the priviledge to work with Runks during our summer camp stuff. He did a wonderful job and truly loves the students. He was hangin’ with them during lunch and rec time, everywhere. His messages were right on the money and had our crowd of over 1000 locked in. Runks also spoke at our “Live Weak” event that was in January.  He once again did a great job.

Info pulled from Runks’ site “Runks is a crazy guy who has lived a crazy life and is a master at using hilarious stories from his life to illustrate biblical truth with clarity, authority, and depth. More than just a funny guy, he is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and addictions and has an awesome testimony of the power of God in desperate situations.

Runks has a passion to help students discover their identity in Christ, find freedom in their struggles, and follow Christ with all their heart – because they get to – not because they have to. Runks will help your students discover freedom from their pain, hope for their future, and Grace for life!!!

Runks was a Youth Minister for 7 years and in 1998 began traveling the country sharing his message of hope and freedom to teenagers, college students, and adults. He holds a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and resides in Levelland, Texas with his wife Joanna, and their two kids, Elli and Nick.”

Based out of Levelland, TX
Contact via his website

If you are like me…we have all been in that position of needing someone to fill in teaching/leading our students. I am going to compile a living document of people that will do well by you and your ministry. IMG_6325 If you are wanting someone to come in and take up the time and wreck everything you have been working hard at…well then, there are some prisoners on work release that you could probably pick up to fill in. However comma, you most likely want someone you can trust to do a solid job and walk awayCoySamsBand knowing that God has been honored. That is why we will have a category completely dedicated to those available for your events and speaking engagements. These are recommendations that I have compiled through a network of friends and colleagues…by no way shape or form, does it mean that everyone doesn’t lay an egg every once in a while. Keep me posted and

DSams Speaking 1Here in no particular order are guys/gals that I trust and love to work with. We all would love to have unlimited budgets but that is just not the case. I know I would…because I would surround myself with these people constantly and have a fountain machine in my office with Mt. Dew in it just to the right of my computer screen…between it and the printer…or maybe not even a fountain, just one of the those “straws” like they have on the Camelbak Hydration packs…yeah, that would be awesome…and these people in ministry are too!