I had the pleasure of speaking with one of my middle school musical heroes, Glenn Kaiser. Glens was/is the lead singer of Resurrection Band, a hard rock band formed in the late seventies, who really helped me deepen my passion for the lost and for knowing Jesus.
Glenn, and his wife Wendi, live in an intentional Christian community called JPUSA on the Northside of Chicago. Much of what informs Glenn’s thoughts are from how JPUSA live together and reach their community for the sake of Christ.
There may be times during this interview where you may say, ‘What does this have to do with youth ministry?” and you may be right, it has nothing to do with the X’s and O’s of youth ministry and everything to do with you as a leader and a believer.
This is an hour long conversation, and I recommend listening to the whole show, but if you just want the headlines, let me give you my top Glenn Kaiser quotes and observations.
Vulnerability disarms people to where they will at least give the gospel a listen, and if you’re not willing to go that deep get another job.
Part of living in true community is vulnerability. Students have heard it all. Sharing your 10, 15, or 20 year old conversion story may not mean much, but sharing your struggle and your breakthroughs you experience today, because of Christ, will give people a view of what vulnerability in community is all about.
It’s not about the sale. It’s not about butts in seats.
Glenn passionately shares the contrast between kingdom of self and the Kingdom of God. Praying the prayer of salvation is not closing the sale, it’s the beginning of community and conversation.
How do we make contact? Honesty, integrity, talking about the issue, asking questions and listening. Don’t cross that border without knowing who those people are.
Right now, you may be planning your weekly meeting or writing your message, how much input have you gotten from your students vs the internet? How many questions have you asked? How many students have you listened to? Don’t cross that border without knowing who you’re talking to.
Filter coffee not people
This is the tag line for the JPUSA homeless shelter, but it resonates with me when thinking about students and student ministry. I know, at some point, I’ve tried to filter out all the imperfections in the youth ministries I’ve led, but it never worked. The grounds of life got in anyway. Youth ministry is not about perfection, it’s about accepting students, grounds and all.
You’re lunch is not only YOUR lunch
I don’t believe Jesus was a socialist but I also don’t believe he was a democrat or republican either. Jesus said, “Don’t worry about what you will eat. Look at the birds of the air, does our Father not feed each one of them?” As youth workers, you have to be willing to give away your “lunch”, your leadership, your influence, etc. if you want to see the miracles happen.
Integrity rings true with young people
Glenn talks about living out the faith as best he, and the rest of the JPUSA community, can. Integrity, not innovation, is what captures a heart. Someone can innovate better, but integrity is integrity. Integrity is boring, it’s like clockwork. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. You don’t have to be perfect, just be steady. Integrity is something students need even if it’s not exciting.
These are just a few of the nuggets I received as I listened back to the interview and my hope is you will to as you listen for the first time.
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If you’ve never heard of Resurrection Band, I dropped a few playlists below of the band and Glenn Kaiser as solo artist.
Glenn Kaiser Solo Work