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Dan Leeper is a F.A.T. Dude


From the desk of Pastor Dave DeHaan...

“The older I get, the faster a year goes by!” If you are over the age of 30, you are beginning to understand this reality. If you are over the age of 50, you take this truth for granted. If, like me, you are somewhere in between, you are frantically attempting to keep pace with this reality. (If you are under the age of 30, you will have to trust me on this one. Soon you will understand...very soon!).

On June 1, 2010, I began serving officially as a pastor at New Covenant Bible Church overseeing CareGroups, evangelism, assimilation, youth ministry, and serving our senior pastor in an executive role. Let me tell you, from my heart, that serving as an associate pastor at NCBC is a true joy for me. I can now see how God was preparing me for this role through my previous job experiences both within the church and in the marketplace. There is nothing else I would rather be doing than serving as one of Christ’s undershepherds in THIS local church. Thanks be to God!

Of the ministries I oversee, the one that I find most challenging on a week to week basis is the youth or student ministry. By “challenge” I am not saying that our 7-12 grade students (two of whom belong to Micki and me) are a problem. I am saying that being entrusted by parents to assist them in the discipleship of their teens is a HUGE responsibility. Last year, when the elders asked me to lead the youth ministry, I did so with fear and trembling fully aware that this was an area of ministry where I had limited experience.

Since that time, I have found God faithful in answering my prayers for help. First, I discovered that the commitment to youth ministry characteristic of the two churches that merged to form NCBC was being continued as we began our new life together. Second, God has surrounded our students with a dedicated team of adult leaders who love teens and want to point them to Jesus. Third, He has enlarged my heart for these students and empowered me to minister in ways I did not think I was able. Finally, God has provided an outstanding partner in student ministry in Dan Leeper.

Dan and Holly Leeper and their boys, Carson and Malachi, began attending NCBC shortly after we came into being. Soon after meeting Dan it became clear to the elders that he is F.A.T. dude -- Faithful, Available, and Teachable (and a phat dude). We discovered that Dan  is  a gifted expositor of God’s Word who has a shepherd’s heart and a heart for serving youth.

Dan began serving in the youth ministry last fall. As we increasingly gave him more responsibilities with the youth ministry, we found that Dan willingly received and discharged those duties with passion and compassion. On January 29, 2011, the elders unanimously approved Dan to serve as a Pastoral Intern for Youth. Since that time, he has continued to faithfully serve in the youth ministry. He typically teaches each week (either at the Wednesday youth group meeting  or in one of the Sunday youth classes). For the last several months he has taken sole responsibility for planning and leading our weekly youth group meeting. During that time Holly has become personally involved in the youth ministry. She has connected well with the female students and has been an excellent example of Christian character for them.

Recently, the elders enthusiastically approved expanding Dan Leeper’s role as a pastoral intern for youth. While I will continue to work with Dan in terms of pastor-elder oversight, he will take the lead role in shepherding our students, working with the youth ministry leadership, and shaping the vision of the youth ministry.

Personally, I am very grateful for God's provision of Dan and Holly. It has been encouraging to watch them connect with the students and invest in their lives for eternity. In addition, I am encouraged because Dan’s leadership of the youth ministry will enable me to invest more in the other ministries I oversee. God is at work in each of those ministries, but I am convinced that He wants to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. In the year(s) to come I would like to focus more directly on overseeing the mission of the church (i.e. executive pastor function, support staff oversight, and shepherding our values into all our ministries), developing a local church-based strategy for evangelism, CareGroup oversight and development (particularly leadership development), and assimilation (the process of shepherding a person from first-time visitor to church member).

A year in each of our lives can go by very quickly. By God’s grace, as each year of our life together goes by, we will be amazed by God’s provision and by all that He accomplishes for His glory.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)