Beyond Sunday

Q&A: Jason Currie

December 06, 2023 King of Kings Church
Q&A: Jason Currie
Beyond Sunday
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Beyond Sunday
Q&A: Jason Currie
Dec 06, 2023
King of Kings Church

Join Greg Griffith and Jason Currie whose journey as a pastor's kid and his unwavering faith have shaped him into an inspiring leader, one that's committed to living faithfully and loving unconditionally to an often overlooked section of our society, our youth, which highlights the importance of creating deep connections.

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Have questions or comments? Email us at contact@kingofkings.org.

Thanks for listening!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join Greg Griffith and Jason Currie whose journey as a pastor's kid and his unwavering faith have shaped him into an inspiring leader, one that's committed to living faithfully and loving unconditionally to an often overlooked section of our society, our youth, which highlights the importance of creating deep connections.

Stay up to date by following us on your favorite social networks.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Have questions or comments? Email us at contact@kingofkings.org.

Thanks for listening!

Speaker 1:

Welcome to this month's Greg Griffith Leadership Podcast. Join Greg Griffith as we, together, learn what it means to be leaders of our world as we faithfully love and faithfully lead. Like, share, rate and review this podcast with your friends and others of influence, for they too are looking for people like you to help them lead and love day to day. Without further ado, here is your host, greg Griffith.

Speaker 2:

Alright, thanks so much for being here at Greg Griffith Leads and I'm really excited about today's podcast and today's guest. You're going to just find yourself inspired as we meet and get to know even greater another faithful leader who's faithfully living and faithfully loving, and so thanks so much for joining us today. And today I want to introduce to all of you a guy who I've been seeing more and more of all the time here in Omaha, but I am so thrilled that God has just put our paths together. His name is Jason Curry, jason, welcome.

Speaker 3:

Thanks, greg. Yeah, that's my first thought too. I was like I've seen you all the time now.

Speaker 2:

All the time. I know it's good, yeah, it's great. So, jason, first one, thanks so much for being here. But two, your just leadership and what you're doing with your organization is so inspiring to me, but also how you're just living out your faith life is inspirational. Before we even got to just get to know each other even greater over these past few months and past few years that I've been here, I had people all the time saying to me have you met? Jason Curry and I'm like, well, we ran across each other, but they've always been inspired and that's just because God's doing great things for you. But first, just tell us, how did you grow up and where was Jesus in your life growing up and what was that like?

Speaker 3:

Well, thank you, that's my favorite question. I love actually oftentimes when I'm having groups of people. Instead of sharing details about life, of how many kids and where do you live, it's like share your name and when you came to know Jesus, because that's what unifies us. And so I grew up a small town right in the middle of Michigan, and my dad's a pastor.

Speaker 2:

And so my whole like Michigan or Michigan State, which Michigan for sure, absolutely. It's funny.

Speaker 3:

I showed a picture of my little brother who lives in Indonesia and a tribe and he's got a Michigan flag on his front door, even in Indonesia.

Speaker 3:

So it goes with us wherever we go, even Omaha. But yeah, my dad is a pastor, so my concept of God has always been present and it's almost crazy to think about not believing in a God that loves us. At a young age, remember having just the questions and conversations with my parents to where my dad helped navigate that with certainty and clarity of, through faith in Jesus, that I could go to heaven some day. I was young, baptized young, and had the ups and downs of anybody who comes to know Christ.

Speaker 3:

There's some years of where it feels like you're kind of stale, and then other years you're more inspired, and it probably was definitely after college, when I finally had the total freedom to say, okay, now, what's next? That I finally became open-handed enough to say, okay, god, whatever you have for me, I will do, except be a pastor. I think that was still my prayer. So I have a business degree and I was still. I think I said at that point actually, even if it's a pastor, then I'll do that, but I'd rather not. So it's been an interesting journey. The last you know, I'm 44 years of age now, so yeah, yeah, wow.

Speaker 2:

So. So growing up as a pastor's kid and you said your brother lives in Indonesia, are all of your kids, like all the family that your siblings? Are they all in ministry or?

Speaker 3:

No, my, I mean yes and no. Yeah, Like all vocations, ministry for Christians yeah correct, and so my sister works part-time at her church. My older brother is in the business world and very involved in, you know, in leadership at his church as a volunteer. So, yes, all of us have ended up in paid or non-paid ministry for sure.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what? What would you say, is one of the most joyful and best things about growing up as a pastor's kid?

Speaker 1:

That's a great question of like that's the worst part.

Speaker 2:

But what's the best part? What do you like about it?

Speaker 3:

See, I was a middle child so I remember the and part of it's also probably my strengths and my personality, but I just remember the expectations that were placed on me and so it was just a struggle.

Speaker 3:

When I was especially a teenager, the best parts, honestly like in my more mature perspective now would be having a dad that led our church well but also was at home leading with integrity. And so now again, as a dad and in the role that I, that I serve, he, he was my ministry training and it it led me, you know, in so many ways of just watching and catching. You know, not only listening and being taught, but also just catching what he, how he was modeling a faithful life, per even the name, like I love that, like faithfully following Jesus, and I'm sure there's a lot of fun things along the way, but we definitely I mean my yeah there there's those things as a teenager that you're like man, I wish I had more of this or could have done this, or, and it was just a different day and age back then- yeah, I, I wasn't a pastor's kid, so I don't have that as an experience.

Speaker 2:

I do say to my children um, I remind them occasionally, um, because there are so many expectations and there can be so many um things that are hard, and it's a little different, harder for kids. But I also tell my kids when they have things that they would normally not receive. Um, you know, like, like my kids, when we were in Michigan, I just had some really great friends and you know we would go every year and sit at a tiger's game in a suite and have all these things.

Speaker 2:

And I was like I just say to them off the side, I go kids like this is because I'm a pastor and these family, this family loves us like we're their family, and so don't don't miss that. There are some really amazing blessings out of the role that God has in placed us in, and so there are some hard ass, but there's also blessings, and so I yeah, I always ask that because I just think it's a reminder for that.

Speaker 3:

And, like I said, it's a different day Like my kids have been the recipients of that like over an abundance, where I just don't remember that as a kid Again it was, I get caught. 30 years ago, in a smaller town, we just were very, very, had to be very frugal, didn't get to take a lot of the trips or didn't have a lot of the experiences that probably our kids get. You know, just a different, different generation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for sure. Oh, that's so good, so um business to my dad watches this.

Speaker 3:

All that was just cut out Because I couldn't think of, like, what's the most positive thing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, he'll probably call you and be like oh here, bro, here's where we did this.

Speaker 3:

I know For sure.

Speaker 2:

So right, I will be a pastor, but I don't know that I want to be, so business degree. So how did you get into full time ministry and and did that start with Youth for Christ?

Speaker 3:

It did, yes, I. So all through college I volunteered with Youth for Christ in Grand Rapids area, and my first year out of college I kept volunteering. They made me a site director as a volunteer and I helped launch a new high school program. And even in high school I had a youth pastor that was very instrumental in my life, and I just told somebody recently, you know, during those years you know, because you've got the uniqueness of parents and or the uniqueness of of stretching boundaries and not enjoying all the rules I felt like during those years my youth pastor believed in me even as much or more than my own parents. Obviously, that's ridiculous, but he was just so instrumental.

Speaker 3:

And so when I started, when I went to college, I started volunteering at one of the we call it campus. Life is the main program that we offer, and I remember walking into this big house with high school kids having no clue ever that there had been, that there's ministries that are designed for reaching non Christian kids, and I instantly was like this is amazing. And so I volunteered all four of those years. My first year out was leading, recruiting a team to help launch a program at a high school close by, and over the course that year just felt God calling me to pursue Youth for Christ as a profession. And you know, in a roundabout way I ended up meeting my wife, who was at a training in Indiana. I moved out to Omaha six months later and started working for Youth for Christ in Omaha six months after that. So Grand Rapids was a lot of my training ground, my preparation, and then started with Youth for Christ in Omaha in September of 2003.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so let's just fill in some gaps for anyone listening or watching this right. So what is Youth for Christ?

Speaker 3:

What is?

Speaker 2:

our main mission purpose. What does it do?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, our main focus is how do we reach middle school and high school kids with the gospel. So we want every single kid to hear and experience the gospel with somebody they know and trust. So, very relationship driven, we do weekly programs and clubs in 43 different schools in the Omaha area. Those weekly programs lead to other fun activities, like tomorrow I'm going paintballing with a group of seventh grade boys, or camps or all these different things. But it's all about how do we reach and go into the world of kids and, through those relationships, have conversations about Jesus and about faith. And we also have a teen parents program that has about 35 young moms involved and then a program also that's trying to reach military kids. So middle school and high school military kids. So it's all around.

Speaker 3:

The bullseye is non-Christian kids and sharing the gospel, but at the same time, we probably have five or 600 Christian kids that are growing and being encouraged, and not only are they meeting other Christian friends in our groups, but I just feel like if we're not, if we don't care about the lost or the non-Christians around us, it stunts growth and so helping even Christian middle school and high school kids care about their lost friends, know how to talk about their faith and then be even, in some different ways, held accountable to like hey, we have to be doing this, we have to be reaching your friends, and so our focus is non-Christian kids. It was started in the 40s, right after World War II, by Billy Graham and Young Pastor so he was the first employee ever and then it started spreading. Instead of just big rallies it became local chapters. So Omaha started in the 50s by volunteers. And then now here we are, you know, over 60 years later, still doing ministry, pursuing lost kids.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Wow. Well, I mean I always think and you're right on like ministry to teenagers and sharing the gospel with teenagers and helping them do that. That's pretty simple.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's only getting more and more simple right oh my gosh, but in a way like authentic relationships is our simple approach, as much as it's getting complicated by all the challenges that kids have these days and the distractions. Authentic relationships still can overcome all the challenges that kids are facing.

Speaker 2:

Let's talk into this, because I think right now, people yours and my age, I have teenagers. I have two teenage daughters, I should say a preteen and a fully teen, and then there's people that are post our age. You know. So the millennial, exennial generation right now is raising teenagers as a part of that, and I think I feel like I hear the same things.

Speaker 2:

I heard my parents say about me as a teen and I think that their parents said about them as a teen and I think I want to know what would you say as one who is investing so heavily in teenage empowerment, equipment and engagement with relationship, but also with Jesus. What would you say like is that you're seeing from teens today is something that they are desiring most? Right, and I'm using desiring over need, because I think we say need oftentimes and think they need this, but that's maybe not what they're desiring. What are they desiring most that we can give them?

Speaker 3:

You know I try not to use the word authentic relationships over and over but.

Speaker 3:

I think there is. Kids are recognizing more and more the things that really don't matter, and at a sometimes a younger age, and so they want to be a part of things that do matter and conversations that actually are beyond what is just on social media, and so I think that's one of the main things is to try to engage them and give them opportunities to engage them in significance and we all say it, we all recognize it like where their identity really is, that they are a masterpiece that they are. You know God's workmanship and creating his image, that identity for us to be able to call them up to that in a way of your scene and your known and your loved, and you are uniquely special in God's eyes and in my eyes, and so I, a true, genuine love, like I said it, over overcomes what is so many of the temptations of the world. There is, I mean there is. I'm a glass half full, positive person, and so there is a lot of negatives when it comes to cell phones and social media, but I have read other people that point to.

Speaker 3:

Statistically, this next generation is much more willing to share their faith because it is easier to send that on a text or a snap chat or the same thing that the negative whites easy to send negative things. It also is easier to be a little bit more vocal of your faith, and we've probably seen a lot of the same statistics that kids are willing to go to church if a friend invites them. So, and I we experience that. I experienced that in my own home with teenagers also if if a friend invites them or if they invite a friend to church, absolutely there's not an opposition in the Omaha area to kids go on a church if they have a friend that invites them. So the digital connectivity is can be seen both negative and really positive. So how do we, how do we look at it as an opportunity instead of instead of only negative?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's interesting you say that at first. I think the power of imitation has is something that we all have known. I mean, this is not even a generational thing, this is a human thing, right? If someone will invite me to something personally because they care for me, I am much more receptive to saying yes. Then, just seeing something going on, I want to check this out. But I think for teenagers that's even my daughter, her and her three or four friends all all have this thing where they've said they're going to go with each other to each other's churches just to check it out on a Sunday, you know, and and they all worship at way different churches. I mean, like it's, they're not anywhere similar in size or style or anything like that and but it's invitation of relationships with one another and in relationships with others.

Speaker 2:

I think. I think you're keying on to something I really like and that's that's the. You know we live in a text lingo phrase. By the way, I just found a new text thing that I'm going to use. It's it's TLDR and it's when someone sent you a text too long, didn't read, and I'm like, and that's me Like, if you're going to send me a really long text, I'm not reading it.

Speaker 3:

I can't wait to test this. So yeah, too long, didn't?

Speaker 2:

read Too long didn't read. Yeah, I just learned that one.

Speaker 3:

But I did you say your daughter sent you that no.

Speaker 2:

Oh, no, no, no, she sends me a lot of other one letter words right, but I like the kind of the letter abbreviation I see and why. And to me this is relationally what we can share with teenagers I see in you dot, dot, dot, right and. And relationally to say I see in you leadership. I mean I tell my girls every day at some point I try to say you're a leader Right Now. They usually respond the way kids respond no, I'm not. But I know that deep down that's a landing, that's landing and that's that part.

Speaker 3:

So, yeah, yeah, and I can go into that old quote. You know, leadership is influence. Like, even if they don't see themselves as a leader, like you have influence and who help open ended, like who do you see that you have influence over or in their life and don't let them just no, I don't and never so it is. I mean, kids don't always understand that. You know what we've read and learned like leadership is influence.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yeah. So Youth for Christ and building the relationships with teenagers and helping them see, especially teenagers that are not yet connected with Jesus. How, like one? How do you recruit volunteers to help out with this? I mean, I think this is something that sounds to me like every, every person would in a church today. I mean, you've heard the refrain over and over. I almost it's like just just cliche that I go. Is this like everyone says? We missing young people, we want young people back. Right, I can tell you all the you know, the people that are older, the gray hairs that are like where are all the young people in the church? And I'm like they're here, right, but but how do you? So? Everyone would want to be able to help with this. How do you, how do you go about that?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I love that question because we are. We need more help. I mean our, our goal is that every single one of our schools would have 20 leaders investing in it, and we probably have five or six of our 43, 44 sites that have that many leaders already. And so the ideal leader not the ideal, the most natural volunteer and leader is if you already know a teenager and any capacity. It could be your neighbor kid, it could be your child, it could be your grandchild.

Speaker 3:

If you already have a relationship and you care about them and their friends knowing Jesus, then we essentially want to tee you up to be able to have conversations about Jesus through those relationships, because there's a whole bunch of parents that are coaching, that are, you know, even high fiving kids in their neighborhood, but how often are they actually taking the opportunity or creating opportunities to also have faith conversations? I don't meet many like it is just the honest truth of people aren't taking that step, like, and you just can't believe the, the, you know, you can't. You can't believe the mindset that it's just well, they're going to, they're going to catch it or you know. So that's the ideal, because then you walk in with the relationship of maybe a year or five years.

Speaker 3:

Some of my favorite like volunteers right now are a grandma that is invested in her granddaughter and then all 10 of her friends and she's been able to see like half of them come to know Christ has helped baptize like half of them. And then there's just even me as a dad. I volunteer at my son's middle school and all these kids that I've coached, that I've gotten to know that, have been in my backyard literally playing basketball or boxing with boxing gloves from a neighbor kid like I get a show up on Friday mornings and we have fun together and then we have real conversations about mental health and social media and Jesus. Like we're having these regular conversations and so for me, we're just. We just want to tee people up and if they don't have relationships with teenagers, will be able to put them in relationships with teenagers.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's so good. And let me, let me just point this out because I don't think, I don't think I, I didn't realize this until about two years ago, when I started to learn more. You, for 43, 44, 44, 44 sites, you're in.

Speaker 3:

Oh sorry, 43 schools and three other. I thought you're asking. Hold, I was not allowed to do that.

Speaker 2:

I already said I'm 44, you did, you are.

Speaker 3:

But 43 schools and then a teen parent program we call Paralyze, and then two military sites.

Speaker 2:

So and out of the 43 schools, how many are public schools? All of them. So so when we hear God's not in schools, that's not true. No, that's not true. And youth for Christ is bringing Jesus in schools, and I would say to Jesus needs to be in our public schools and our private schools and our Christian schools in every way possible and so so. So if you're listening or watching this right now and you're saying, I have a heart and a desire for my public school to know Jesus, and youth for Christ is a national organization. So, from California to the Vermont, to the you know Great Plains and to New York Island, right, whatever that song is, we can be in public schools and sharing the gospel message in ways that are not not not just abusive or intrusive, but are ways that public schools are saying there's a difference. Have have the schools noticed a?

Speaker 3:

difference they have and we have more, you know, access now that we did even five years ago. I mean just because of some of the negative results from COVID. We have schools asking us just because the behavioral issues, the you know friendship issues that continue to arise, and how schools allow us is we're just an outside group using their building like any other you know, basketball team that uses their gym or Boy Scouts group that uses their cafeteria they allow us to have programs there before school, after school, in the evenings, and so it's been. Schools are asking us more and more and our staff to spend more and more time on the school campus, or staff or coaching paid, or as volunteers, their substitute teaching. They are spending as much time as they can in the school building and some of them literally just get paid to walk the halls to be a positive presence on the campus. So, yes, public schools are asking for help and they need help. They recognize that it is, that it's a tough day in age to be a teenager.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and if I could go back to even the volunteer question, it is. It's how do we, how do we get into more and more churches and do things like this just to express. These are the opportunities that we have and if you are willing to come even just check it out like within the last 24 hours I was thinking about how I love to travel, I love, I loved going to Rome to see it and experience it and what it, what it feels like and if we just can keep getting people the opportunity to come travel to one of our sites and actually see it and feel it, most of the people will be like this is amazing. We want to get involved. So just come check it out. Come contact me, contact us, and go check out a program where you already know a kid or it's in your geographical area. We'd love to have you come just explore and see what it's like. Yeah, what's?

Speaker 2:

what's one thing you're you're right now really, really excited about for, for what you're doing in your family life and your personal life, in your professional life right, what? What are you excited? What? God, what's God land, that's exciting.

Speaker 3:

You know I've my oldest has launched a college and he's doing well and he's loving it and it just that's just as a dad, you know, one of the greatest hopes is when they have that independence and freedom to choose where they're gonna go and who they're gonna serve. Just seems like he's doing really well. You know, within the ministry we've just hired our sixty second like staff member and launching programs another public school program for Burke, and then launching, relaunching a program for ralston kids trying to get program started in other schools, private schools in the area. And so we are. God is just opening doors and providing the like, the minimum level of financial support and volunteer support. But in order to truly reach kids more effectively, we do need more volunteers. So I look at, just yeah, highlights of my kids bring me a ton of joy and they're, they're doing, they're doing well.

Speaker 2:

That's really great. That's so good. Yeah, it's a joy to be able to watch our children for sure, for sure. What's one prayer need that like for you, for Christ, right that you're heading as you're like man, we're really gonna need God to open this door.

Speaker 3:

Who I am. I am really encouraging our team I don't want to say pushing on them, I just said it. I'm really. I'm really encouraging our team that we have to invite more people to get involved, and so that is volunteers and also people to give financially, and we just cannot allow Fear or anxiousness to invite people to get involved. So I would say just even that, per request, that Courage over fear or hesitation to invite people to get involved yeah, yeah, that's great.

Speaker 2:

well, we're running out of time. Anything you want to share with us, anything you're like gosh is one thing on my heart. I really want to Just say yeah, or what would you tell a leader today?

Speaker 3:

I you've probably already heard me say this, because, if you're around me enough, I have a high sense of urgency for the gospel, and we have to all carry a greater sense of urgency for the gospel.

Speaker 3:

The number of people that are just not Sharing their faith on a regular basis, actually speaking, talking about like the statistics are astounding.

Speaker 3:

And it doesn't mean we have to be presenting the gospel all the time like we do we do need to be doing that but Just to be having faith conversations open up the door. People are willing generally to have faith conversations and I part of that's fueled by, again, 20 years of working for you, for Christ. Now a big part of that's fueled for me. I lost my wife, my lost my wife a couple years ago to cancer, and when you walk through that and you realize the, the reality of eternity is so far more important than than the here and now, and there are people that are losing loved ones or are losing their own life that that don't know Jesus personally, it fuels a deeper level of urgency. And so how do we, how do we, as leaders, influence others to have a greater sense of urgency for the gospel and for what really matters and not all this stuff that people are investing so much time and energy into.

Speaker 2:

I really, I really think that's a great spot for us. To just end with an encouragement of if you're faithfully leading and faithfully living out and faithfully loving, don't just talk about you know people needing to know Jesus. Don't just talk about young people needing to come back to church or to be like go and do it, and do it by empowering not only yourself, but empowering someone else. Bring someone else along. You talk about it. Encourage others to do it, because we're not alone in this and the reality is there's a great Jesus sent the disciples out two by two, and it was because we can do so much more together. Then we can do individually. And that means sometimes it means you know saying hey, I'm tired, I need you to step up. Sometimes it's just we're both encouraged and you're celebrating, high fiving each other, and sometimes it's just picking up one another. So this is so great and so helpful. So thank you.

Speaker 3:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for the invitation to be involved so how can people find you or find out ways more to learn more about you, for Christ.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I probably should have some sort of fancy like hashtag or something like that. Our website, our website is. You know, if you Google greater Omaha, youth for Christ, or website is shortly go YFC, greater Omaha, yfc, because again that speaks to our mission of go into the world of kids. So we are go YFC dot org and People there can navigate, find out more about us and get involved. Through that page and I'm on that page, they can find me.

Speaker 2:

Great, and so that's a view in the Omaha area. If you're anywhere in our nation, just Google youth for Christ and you'll find a local chapter in a local way to get plugged in and to make a difference. Jason, thanks so much for being here. Thank you for listening today and again like rate, review and share this with someone out there who you know is joining you in the walk to faithfully lead, faithfully live and faithfully love. Have a great day, everybody.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for being a part of this month's Greg Griffith leadership podcast. Join Greg next month for leadership insights to faithfully love and faithfully lead. Now go beat the rhythm today.

Leadership and Faith
Youth Outreach