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Josh Wellborn interviews Peter Reeves, Next Gen Pastor - Mount Hope Church

Posted In Youth Resources

National Youth Director Josh Wellborn has been interviewing and connecting with youth leaders from around the country who are developing community in new and unique ways.

In this interview, Josh talks to Peter Reeves, the Next Gen pastor at Mount Hope Church in Lansing, Michigan. They discussed how Peter and his Spyn Student Ministries team are resourcing their students and parents during this season.

Reeves talked about how Mount Hope has adapted to an all-digital youth ministry. They’ve been able to keep a rhythm going by keeping their same flow.

  1. Host a Zoom call with leaders—They meet and discuss where we’re going, who we are, and how to engage students.”
  2. Upload a prerecorded service on Instagram Live—This service “premieres” live, but allows the Spyn team to still make connections and engage with students during the service.
  3. Host a Zoom hangout after service—Reeves said they have 75–100 students jump on to the call where they can talk about what happened in the service.
They are also still able to connect with new students through Planning Center Workflows. Reeves and his team have students connect with them via a digital connect cardonce students fill in their information it automatically uploads it into Planning Center. Reeves says it’s from these Workflows where they are able to get the most work done. “We are able to engage students…we’re helping them grow. We’re helping them take next steps.”

Another area where they are putting a lot of their focus is having student leaders create and upload content for their social media accounts. Students don’t want to just hear from their youth pastors, but from their leaders and peers too. This is why Reeves sees value in giving everyone access to and ownership of the ministry during this time. 

They have spent a lot of time developing content specifically for parents to ensure parents know how to care for and connect with their student(s) at home. It’s about teaching parents to pastor their children and create an environment of worship at home. Reeves said they are offering “prayer bundles,” which include songs, Scripture, and relevant discussion questions they can use to engage their students. The Spyn team then follows up with parents to ask: Is this working? Are you getting the help you need? Do you feel like you’re connecting with your student?

Wellborn asked, “As pastors, how are we helping people to stay faithful to the calling of Jesuswhich is to put the needs of others before our ownduring a time when society is saying, ‘Take care of your own needs’?”

  1. Be an active listener. Reeves was told once: “People want your ear more than they want your advice.” Listen to what people are going through and let them know you hear them.
  2. Model both faithfulness and selflessness. Don’t just tell people not to worry and to think about others. Get out of your house and ask your neighbors, “What do you need? How can I help you?”
  3. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Be positive and hopeful knowing that this situation requires people who are going to say, “We’re going to get through this.”
When asked what pastors should be doing now to prepare for post-pandemic ministry, Reeves final thoughts circled back to creating and putting out content. He said, “People are hurting and wanting to see resources and they’re online anyway.” 

Because this is a priority for Reeves and his team, he empowers his leaders, student leaders, and parents to release content, resulting in taking care of their people. He believes resourcing families to the point where they can encourage themselves and grow their faith is what is going to help pastors and leaders keep their heads above water and see far beyond this season.

“What’s important right now is empowering people to take care of people.”