Welcome to iamnextgen.com! This site is nearly a decade in the making. Today marks the 9th anniversary of becoming a NextGen Pastor. Yes, nine years ago today I began the most challenging, most mysterious, most lonely and most exciting role I would ever hold. On May 1st, 2008, I became a NextGen Pastor.
Back in 2008, I only knew five other NextGen Pastors, but only four of them counted:
- There was a Family Ministry Pastor at a church in Vegas (I honestly don’t remember his name). I had interviewed there for a multi-site children’s pastor role. Ten minutes into the conversation, I quickly realized that I didn’t want the job. I wanted his job.
- Daren Kizer, from Scranton, PA. The very first breakout of my very first Orange Conference was about Family Ministry. One of the hosts of this breakout was a Family Pastor from Scranton, PA. Daren had actually been in the role for several years, it was amazing to learn from someone who had been doing this for a while. Over the years, Daren and I would become friends. I still like the guy, even though he’s not a Family Pastor anymore.
- Dave Fox, from somewhere in IN. Dave was the other host of that first breakout. I never heard from or connected with Dave Fox after that day. I just looked him up, turns out he’s now the Senior Pastor at his church. Great job Dave.
- Mike Clear from Discovery Church in CA. Mike spoke at another breakout about Family Ministry along with Dave Fox, Daren Kizer, and Reggie Joiner. Mike is no longer a Family Ministry Pastor, but we’re still friends.
- Reggie Joiner, who essentially pioneered the role of the NextGen Pastor. Unfortunately, Reggie had stepped out of the Family Ministry role because he was busy leading Orange. I’ve learned more about family ministry from Reggie than anyone else, but he technically wasn’t a Family Ministry Pastor anymore.
That was it. Five people.
I wasn’t going to call the guy in Vegas, that would feel weird.
I didn’t really feel comfortable reaching out to Reggie. He seemed busy.
I wasn’t really much of a networker yet, so I didn’t ever connect with the other guys either.
Nine Years Later…
Things are different today.
I’ve actually become good friends with Daren Kizer, Reggie Joiner, and Mike Clear – but none of them do Family Ministry anymore. However, my digital NextGen Rolodex has become expansive. I’m well connected to 30-40 amazing NextGen Pastors from all over the US and Canada. I have a list of more than 1000 NextGen Pastors I’ve curated over the last 4 years. 1000, isn’t that crazy?
Today, I’m nine months into my second NextGen job. This is really important. I spent eight years in my first NextGen role. Because there were so few people doing what I was doing, it took me a little time to figure out what to do. I needed help connecting the dots. I needed advice on what to prioritize now and what to put aside for later. I really didn’t start seeing real family ministry success until my 5th and 6th year. More than once, I would say, “If I knew what I know now back when I started this role -this would have been a very different ballgame.” I’m grateful that I’ve been able to help people with the knowledge I’d gained over the years, steering them away from mistakes and delays. However, now that I’m in my second role as a NextGen Pastor, I have the advantage of nearly a decade of experience and knowledge. I actually know what to do. I have already connected all the dots and I know exactly what I need to prioritize.
I Am NextGen
So, welcome to iamnextgen.com! I’m going to share my experience with you. I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. I’m actually still learning and I’ll share that with you as well. More importantly, I’ve learned so much from others who are blazing the NextGen/Family Ministry trail. Just as they have influenced me over the years, expect to learn from their experiences on this site as well.