Implementing Chair One: An Interview with Donnie Chase
What does it actually look like to prioritize disciple making in your youth ministry? We sat down with youth leader, Donnie Chase, for a little insight on how he implements Chair 1 ideas into his ministry.
Before you were introduced to a disciple-making ministry philosophy based on the life of Christ, what did your ministry philosophy look like?
I actually grew up with Sonlife. My youth pastor when I was younger was a Sonlife Trainer. He taught Foundations, so I have been familiar with Sonlife since I was in high school. I have realized over the years, though, that there are many major differences between being in a youth ministry and leading a youth ministry. I have tried, in certain aspects, to imitate and inherit models from my youth pastor, while still developing my own ideas and style.
I have always tried to evaluate what makes youth feel special and important to help develop my youth ministry. There were many times when I questioned myself. Why am I doing what I am doing? Why do all of these things matter? I have realized, though, that it’s not about just making a good ministry. It’s all really about making disciples!
How have you prioritized Chair 1 in your own life as you’ve sought to model being a disciple-maker for those you lead?
Through different conferences that I have gone to, I have always learned about different ways of sharing my faith. I always knew that it should be a priority in my life, but I didn’t always do it. I was afraid of rejection and losing friendships, so I only really shared my faith when I had to. I realized the hypocrisy in this- telling my youth to go out and share their faith but not really doing it myself. When I realized this, I got serious about sharing my faith whenever I got the chance. This really helped in my youth ministry because I was authentic. I was an example to my students rather than just a person telling them what to do.
What are a few strategies or tactics you’ve employed to build your ministry?
We have a few different things that we use. First, we have CPR cards. On these cards we write the names of the friends or family that we want to cultivate, plant, and reap relationships with. Second, I’ve worked on a simple, repeatable definition of disciple making . We use this during evangelism and nurturing to introduce others to Jesus. Finally, we have a ministry team of students. These passionate students come together and engage in peer care and share to grow and serve together.
What does success look like for you when you think about Chair 1?
Over time, success has changed to me. I get excited every time Kingdom has a new person. I love to see students picking up the discipling torch and getting fired up for Christ. I know God wants to use everybody, so success to me is seeing every students living up to their potential for Jesus.
What would you say to encourage other ministry leaders seeking to implement this disciple-making priority?
Youth ministry is not about the pizza parties. Or the embarrassing games. Youth ministry is about building and equipping the believer. It’s about instilling self leadership in students to create an authentic ministry. One tip that I would suggest is to find a mentor who is passionate about disciple making. Many of the people I have met through Sonlife have been mentors for me. They are my resources whenever I am struggling through developing my disciple making ministry. Finally, in order to implement disciple making as a priority, the entire process has to be bathed in prayer.