Making Connections

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YNET Consultant Stuart Hoadley talks ministry partnerships with Joshua Dodd and James Jensen.

What are your current roles?
Joshua Dodd: Youth Pastor at Dalby Presbyterian.
James Jensen: Youth Pastor Christ Central Presbyterian.

How did you meet?
JJ: I met Josh at YNET Conference one year when he had pity on me cause I was on my lonesome and he let me join his team for dinner. The rest is history!

What are some ways you have partnered together in ministry?
JJ: Perhaps the most valuable aspect of partnership is just chatting out stuff on the phone. Just to have someone you trust in a similar ministry space and thinking helps solidify good ideas and weed out many many average ones!
JD: Initially it started with just hanging out – we went to A-league final, Conversation Days with YNET, Preaching Conference at QTC that kind of stuff. I think this was important because it meant that we actually took a genuine interest in each other and subsequently each others ministries. This led easily to talking through different ministry ideas and issues. We caught up once to brainstorm ideas for structuring a youth year, we worked on some sessions at YNET Conference together, started running a camp together with some others, tried to get our youth groups together for half a day, that kind of thing. But the most helpful thing is just talking through stuff. James seems to have thought through things more deeply than me at times which is great a help.
JJ: Yeah what he said, except he doesn’t give himself nearly enough credit thought-wise.

How has it been helpful to partner together – for yourselves and for your ministries?
JJ: There’s no doubt youth ministry at ChristCentral is much richer, largely due to what we mentioned before about being able to bounce around ideas. So much of the ministry practice, ideology and theology is refined and shaped by our conversations, both over the phone and at events. Whether it’s new ideas, or ways to do things better or different approaches so much of it has been refined by conversations with Josh.
I think too even beyond just our friendship has been the relationships that have developed with some of our teens and leaders as well that have strengthened faith in kids and leadership in leaders particularly through PROPEL camp, but also at other YNET events. There’s a level of trust that flows down from our leadership to the leaders in our teams, that makes the ongoing relationships between ministry probably grow even more when our teams are together at events.

What would your advice be to churches when it comes to partnership in ministry?
JJ: Be quick to listen (something I think Josh does much better than me) it’s linked with humility, I guess, but a willingness to learn from the other people in ministry is valuable to making a partnership work. What I value with Josh is the fact that he won’t just tell me stuff to make me feel good. If he thinks my idea is not great, he’ll tell me. So many times he’s done that and I’ve gone “Yeah, that’s a good point.” Sometimes, he’ll tell me his opinion and I ignore it, cause I still like the idea. I’d rather it that way than constantly hearing ‘yeah good one man’ when it’s not!
JD: In terms of advice about partnerships – its hard to give because I think we fell into it more than it being a result of good planning. That said, I think partnerships are worth developing and investing in. We also appreciate the support of our senior pastors. They have both encouraged and supported the partnership which I imagine matters because these things need time.
JJ: Definitely the support of senior minister has been valuable. I’ve even had mine ask me if I chatted out an idea with Josh, when presenting something to him. Which just continues to build confidence in this partnership, when it’s validated so strongly by senior players in my own team.

How can people pray for your ministries?
JJ: That teenagers on the Northside of Brisbane might meet Jesus and know the depths of his love for them
JD: We’ve just finished looking at Ephesians together as a church and it would be great if you could pray the way Paul did for that church for our youth and church. It would be wonderful to see the eyes of their hearts enlightened so they know the hope to which God has called them.