The Guardians of a Generation

I heard one of the best messages for youth pastors and leaders at the @youthamerica leadership conference last night. By my Pastor Kirk Pankratz.

This is his wheel house. He connects with with next generation ministry like no one I know. He is 53 yrs old yet has as much or more passion for the young generation and their leaders than he has ever had.

He started @youthamerica over 25 years ago and its still growing strong.

He made several statements last night that were profound. Here are some that stuck out to me.

1. The heart cry of a youth pastor must be. “I exist to bring this generation hope”

2. A youth pastor must be present in the life of their young people.

3. A youth pastor must have a compulsion to be a guardian of this young generation.

4. A youth pastor could be the last best hope for the young people of this generation.

5. What young person is waiting on us to give them the courage to do the right thing by believing in them.

Never underestimate the power of youth pastors, coaches, teachers, mentors in the life of a young person. It’s imperative that we Sheapherd this generation by, caring enough to realize the seriousness of our role and exceeding the expectations by allowing compassion for the young to consume us and carry a mandate to guide them into purposeful existence.

Youth Pastors do what you do, and God will do what He does.

Remember cool factor doesn’t equal compassion. The former may grab attention but the latter changes the world. You can have both but you can’t do without compassion.


Confrontation a Leadership Requirement…Written Notes

So many people look at confrontation as a negative thing. There’s a big difference between confrontation and conflict. If we’re effective at confronting issues and people, then we can avoid a lot of conflict. Confrontation is merely, directly addressing things that need to change in order to teach and train those who are being confronted. This is not a negative, but very much a positive. So here are some thoughts about it.

1. One of the major differences between successful and non successful people is their willingness to confront. Successful leaders are willing, to have the tough conversations, in order to see real change, and forward progress.

2. If you want to lead you have to confront. Confronting is taking a person from where they are to where they need to be. Thats called leadership. To be an effective leader you must embrace confrontation.

3. Avoiding confrontation is just delaying and ensuring a major conflict. Things that need to be confronted but go unchecked ultimately turn into major conflict, and are much harder to deal with than they would have been if the leaders would have confronted them early.

4. You can do it! And do it right. Go into it with their best interest in mind and they will love you for it. If the purpose of your confrontation is to help the person being confronted then it will go well, and they will ultimately love you, for caring enough to confront them.

5. Jesus was a great confronter.
Woman at the well, he lovingly but directly confronted her issues.
The acusers of the adulterous woman and the woman herself, he confronted them for their religious hypocrisy then confronted her sin.
Peter, He confronted peter for his denial.
James and johns power play, He confronted Mary and James and John directly for there attempt at seizing power.

We know it needs to be done, so how do we do it? Here are ten ways to do it.


1. Admit it needs to be done. Don’t avoid it because its awkward. If it needs to be done, then do it.

2. Do it in the right time. Timing is everything. Don’t do it in front of others and embarrass someone, don’t hit them while they are down, be considerate of their state of mind when you confront.

3. Pray going in. Always pray before confronting and don’t take it lightly.

4. Use it as a teaching moment. Its not about who’s right, or who’s wrong, its not just about pointing out faults. Its about teaching them, and helping them grow.

5. Be positive and caring, John Maxwell says, “People don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.” its true. Be positive and caring, make it clear you love them, and care about their life.

6. No hinting or beating around the bush. Get straight to the point. You can lay a foundation, and ground work for what needs to be said, and many times that is necessary, but don’t hint, or assume they get it. Be direct, come to the point, just say it. If you are not direct you will confuse them and the situation will get worse.

7. Tell them what their getting right. Don’t just point out their faults, but let them know you see the great things they are doing well, and this is just an opportunity to teach them to do even greater things.

8. Act the same to them, let them know you see past it. After the confrontation is over, don’t be awkward around them. Deal with it, forgive it, and move on.

9. Don’t take forever. Get it done. Confrontation doesn’t have to take too long. I realize that there are some situations that need more time, and if its that big a deal, there probably needs to be some counseling. If it’s just a correction, it should only take a few minutes.

10. Don’t make it a bigger deal than it is. No Drama, Minimize, don’t maximize. Don’t let it have a life of its own. Its just a correction, its not the end of the world.

So there are my thoughts on confrontation. Hope it helps.


Tay, Mad, and Syd (10)I am so excited about all the great things happening with harvest. We are leaving for Cambodia in just over five days. This trip is going to be awesome! Be watching the blog for all the updates. Some will be written, others video, its going to be a fascinating and life changing trip. If for no other reason then i get the privilege of taking my oldest daughter, Taylor with me. She is 15 and a passionate Christian. Locally she is involved in our Creative team at harvest, she plays the acoustic and is starting to lead worship in some settings. She is very committed to the cause of Christ and has a real evangelistic spirit in her school. She has known for years that she is called to be a world changer. I have done my best to inspire her about life, but leave the destiny and purpose things between her and God, and She believes she is called to live her life in ministry.

So I am proud that another generation of Gadberry’s are stepping up to the plate to make a difference in the world. She will be the fourth generation ministry leader.

Let me move on before i get carried away and ahead of myself. It is such a thrill to take her and to be able to partner together to help people. If I haven’t learned anything else as a parent I have learned its always better to model what you want for your kids than it is to merely talk about it.

So what better way to teach Taylor how to help people, how to reach the world with the love and Gospel of Jesus than to take her, and let her do it with me.

I have also learned that these times provide for some of the greatest bonding experiences in a parent/child relationship. I love it that I am not struggling, or fighting with her about teenage issues, but rather partnering with her to change the world.

I love it that my kids love God, love the church, and love the ministry.

Its gonna be fun! Here we go!



Well my marathon training is going well….I have to admit when I first started I was determined to do it, committed that before I turn 40 i will run a marathon, however in the back of my mind, i really didn’t know if I could do it.  Now I know I can.  I feel great and it keeps getting better.  I know this however, the reason I have kept going and will keep going is because of the partnership I have with my friend Andrew.  For example today on our four mile run there were a couple of times i was tired and wanted to stop, (didn’t get enough sleep) he just said, come on you can do it, we are almost there.

Its amazing how powerful those words are, “come on, you can do it!”  I just want to encourage everyone, you can make it, whatever you are trying to accomplish don’t quit, don’t give up, you may be tired, or restless or hurt, just don’t give up, you can make it.  One of the best ways to make it, is to find someone else you can cheer on.  Someone you can partner with to be an encouragement.

Encouragement is a powerful thing…try it, you’ll like it.


Reality Check

Let’s face it. Most of us, well, all of us are subjective when it comes to evaluating ourselves. We can easily see and criticize the weaknesses in others, but not ourselves. We don’t usually say, “I need to change to make my marriage better.” It’s more like, “if my spouse would change our marriage would be better.” We don’t usually say “If I would manage my money better I wouldn’t have so much financial stress.” It’s more like, “if my boss would pay me more, I wouldn’t have the financial troubles I have.” A reality check is realizing that we need to take personal responsibility for our lives.

I think of King David, after he committed adultery and conspired to commit murder. He seared his conscience by doing what he wanted, not what God expected. He didn’t change until the prophet Nathan looked him in the eye and said, “You’re the man.” That is what you call a “reality check.” A truth that broadsides us back into reality.

A few years ago Pastor Kirk (my friend and mentor) did that for me. I had planted a church, with a group of friends whom I loved and still love very much, each of them are now doing some kind of ministry in church and several of them in full time ministry. No doubt, it was a great experience, but it just wasn’t working. In hind sight I can see I chose to plant a church for convenience, not that there’s anything convenient about it except, it was the only available opportunity that fit with what I thought I should do. Needless to say, and I won’t go into the whole story, we weren’t doing well.

When I was in the middle of this project, my wife, Janae kept saying to me, “you need to call Pastor Kirk.” To be honest the last person I wanted to speak with was Kirk Pankratz. I was embarrassed and felt like a failure. I didn’t want to tell Pastor Kirk, “my church is not growing, I’m depressed, we’re broke, my wife is mad at me. So I just wouldn’t call him.

Out of the blue, Pastor Kirk calls me. He invites us to come up and hang out with his family. Hesitantly, (meaning I couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough) I said yes. Now, the rest of this story is a divine reality check.

Kirk, asked me, “So, how’s it going?” I, the paragon of virtue that I am, begin to spill the truth. “Everything is great!” I said. I don’t even remember what else I said, but it was just more nonsense. Then, Pastor Kirk turned to Janae, as if I hadn’t said a word, he asked Janae, “how’s it really going?” She blurts out with no hesitation at all, “It’s horrible, and he is working himself to death. We are not growing, we are struggling financially, (code for Broke!) and he won’t stop!” all the while I am kicking her under the table.

There I am, in a heap, officially “reality checked.” I knew it was all true, and that my stubborn pride was hurting my destiny, my family, my team, and myself. Kirk and Nancy said something to me that was life changing. “…as long as you don’t give up on Gods plan for your life you’re not a failure.”

So here is a reality check for you. To change is not to admit you’re a failure but it is the true path to success. Don’t let pride and arrogance hold you back from your purpose in God. What ever needs to change, just admit your wrong, and change, and God will move quickly on your behalf. Consider yourself “Reality Checked.”

-David Gadberry