023: An Interview with Pastor Matt Figgs


What You'll Discover in this Episode:

We are joined today by Pastor Matt Figgs with Calvary Christian Fellowship in Gypsum, Colorado. Pastor Figgs is a bi-vocational pastor who minsters youth at the church and works a full-time job engineering road and bridge projects. Pastor Figgs is very passionate about reaching the next generation by investing in their hearts and minds.

 

How do you speak about ministry to the youth?

It is important to realize the youth are in a culture where their ideas are being shaped about marriage and sexuality. Teenagers are being pressured to be sensual with anyone. Scripture teaches intimacy is reserved for marriage between one man and one women.


The kids are being stretched thin and are under more pressure. Because they are being stretched so thin, they feel there is no time for personal ministry or personal devotion. 


In today's world, youth are being pressed by sin and evil and are unsure of how to handle it. As parents and/or ministers, we need to be honest and speak truth. Sharing this truth can lead to a lasting relationship with the Lord. Encourage them to base everything on God’s Word. 


  • Parents have the most influence in their children’s lives 
  • Keep ministering the youth through tough conversations with truth and heart. Do not be afraid to talk about sensitive subjects. 
  • Encourage the youth to base everything on God’s Word
  • Continue to teach the foundational truths of God's word 
  • Through the struggles, depression, and identity crisis, there is still hope for this generation. That hope can be found in Jesus.
  • Scroll down and leave your comment below!

Resources:


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  • Tom Zimbelman says:

    Excellent podcast. So much content, but I’ll focus this closed on two things: effective time management in our families, ministries and jobs; and the threats that are facing our youth today.

    My wife and we’re just praying this morning for our teenage kids (14, 15, 17) and how can help them learn to take very thought captive to Christ. They attend a Christian high school, but we are finding they are being pulled – stretched thin – by an array of extracurricular school activities (like sports/practice/mandatory tournaments seemingly every day if the week and in weekends). Many of these activities are cutting into their church time, and what Pastor Figgs says regarding making Christ the priority, not just a priority, really hit home for me. My personal prayer and intention as a father is to insure that I, along with my wife, as the primary influencers in their lives, are at the very least discipling them at home. This is now a prime priority for us as parents.

    Secondly, regarding time management, I can relate to both Pastors Figgs and Christianson. I am slammed as a full time journalist, leader of a very active Men’s ministry at church, student at CCU, husband and father. I am encouraged that I am not the only one going through this and that you are very practical ways to handle the busy schedule. Again, it comes down to priorities. My walk with Christ is number one, and then my marriage follows closely after that. My wife and I need to continue to schedule time together in prayer daily and dates weekly. After that our children need to be instructed in the way of the Lord. And then follow the other responsibilities. The Lord is our sustainer, praise God.

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      By the way, I apologize for all the typos. I’ll try to not use my phone next time 🙂

    • Tabitha Lee says:

      Tom, Thank you for sharing your encouraging words, along with some of your relatable struggles of juggling worship life, home life, work life and ministry life! You have a lot of going on in your home with three teenagers! It is so important for us to live intentionally with our kids and not allow ministry to take priority. I am in full-time ministry and it can be difficult at times to create that division. Prayers for you and your family!

      • Tom Zimbelman says:

        Thank you Tabitha. God is good, and provides the capacity. I was meeting with a member of our men’s ministry last night and we were talking about the importance of our ministry, but also not allowing it to overshadow our greater priority in our family relationships. He asked how I was doing, I told him that I had prayed for greater capacity and God has been faithful. He is our strength!

  • Tabitha Lee says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with Pastor Matt and Pastor Jeff. We must teach our youth the truth from God’s Word and build relationships of trust with them. I was a Youth Director for a 6 year period and I learned so many valuable lessons. One of my regrets was not being more forward about what God’s Word said on the “uncomfortable” issues. With two 15 year old sons, I unfortunately have had to learn first hand the dangers of the internet and our sinful flesh. Thankful that much of that season is in the past. But some of the lessons I have learned through that season, I now faithfully pass on to others, so that I might save some. Our enemy is doing everything in his power to steal, kill and destroy this generation. It is our faithful teaching of God’s Word and the grace of the gospel that will be our only defense. Continue to fight the good fight!

    • Autumn C Duncan says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more that we need to fight the good fight for our children. The enemy is after this generation and the pressure they face, it too much. We have been in the same boat with my stepson who is 17 years old. It was a tough conversation but such an opportunity to teach them about repentance, grace and forgiveness. 🙂

      • Tabitha Lee says:

        Thank you for sharing Autumn! We need to pray for our kids! So many coming from difficult situations, only the Lord can restore and use all these things together for there good.

    • Kristie Gallagher says:

      The Lord is so good that He uses the difficulties that you have gone through to help others going through the same things. It does seem like the enemy has a greater stronghold on this next generation, but we know, like you said, that the faithful teaching of God’s word is our defense and will pull down those walls. God is so faithful to continue to work and we want to be available and faithful to continue proclaiming God’s word.

  • Alejandro Anchondo says:

    I have been in Youth Ministry for some years now. The sad truth is that what Pastor Matt and Pastor Jeff are seeing in their area is not unique but rather far spread around the country. The great thing is that answer and solution is the same in every place, Jesus Christ. We always say that Counseling is simple in-depth person discipleship. This is what the Youth need in order to have strong faith and continue with the Lord long after they leave our youth ministries. However, the difficult thing is firstly the battle for their time and attention. More and more by the witness of their compromised parents church has become a secondary item. Their faith is important as long as it is convenient to get them to church, it doesn’t get in the way of that sports scholarship, or homework. Except, those things are either becoming idols or would be improved by the change in focus to the Lord first and those things later. Secondly, Pastor Matt spoke of one on one discipleship and that is as well difficult. With so many scandals around the country we have to be safe while we minister to the youth. A young men’s discipleship or young ladies discipleship group might be the better option while still getting the distractions away and a closer focus on those with doubts and needs.

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      Good points, Alejandro. I share your concern about what seems to be the idolatry of youth athletics. I enjoy sports, sure, and I am grateful for my athletic kids. But the battle for scholarships, reputation, or just simply yielding to some very real pressures in our culture is a consistent and intense battle. The time is sucked-up quite quickly with very little room for discipleship – early morning to evenings are often taken out by school/sports.

      I am also just as or even more concerned about the media influence on our kids (phones, social media, streaming, etc). Discipleship groups, as you mentioned, can be a safe and effective way for teens to learn the joys of fellowship with Christ – and also avoid the anxiety-producing aspects of our media-crazed culture.

    • Kristie Gallagher says:

      My son is a youth pastor also. I so agree with you that it is so hard to get their attention and that they would make church and growing in the Lord a priority. It seems now even parents do not see the great value in having their kids attend church. Jesus truly is the answer for all of life’s problems.

  • Ulyana says:

    I do agree with Pastor Matt when he mentioned that we are living in such dynamic of multi culture life and we do unfortunately try to allegories the Word of God into our own ways. As serving in Pro life ministry leading the Stork bus ultrasound sonography and counseling, to gave a free sonography to safe the baby, but most our focus to point parents to Christ… my heart is on discipleship and one and one counseling, it’s so essential for all us. We need to know where we stand with God and by whom authority we operate. I often say if we not put Christ in the center of our pregnancy center, it will be another plant parenthood center, and that is not what the Bible teach us. Only God can saves and redeem us. Our number one mission is make disciples. Jesus was creative in discipleship and we should be too! As a church is to be built up and is to mature into the fullness of Christ, and manifests the gifts of the Holy Spirit, it takes discipleship. And as a church, we want the youth to live a Christ-like life, there will be the need to take up the mandate of discipleship and discipling others with the word of God.

    • Melissa Hermosillo says:

      I love that ulyana! We need to have those one and one counseling sessions. I am all for that! I think we are living in a time where that doesn’t really happen anymore because we live in a society where more is better and there is no time to give someone an hour of your week but if there is something I remember is those times where someone took the time to see me and do one on ones asking how my heart is, where I am and where I am going and I pray we can be that to many people who are desperate for someon to listen to them! Thank you

  • Autumn C Duncan says:

    Having three children and knowing the enemy is going after them makes me pray harder for them and keep them focused on the Lord. I really like Pastor Matt’s comments about teaching the youth that not dealing with sin will have a lot of consequences in their life. We can examine the suicide rate from middle school to high school. Sin and evil of the world is getting pressed on them and they don’t know how to handle it. We need to be honest with them and speak truth. Sharing this truth can lead to a lasting relationship with the Lord. I love how he reminds us that we have the most influence as parents. I want to be able to stand in front the Lord and say I did all I could for the children He blessed me with to raise.

    • Charlie Colleton says:

      Absolutely agree — dealing and addressing the hard/awkward conversations head on and in a real, genuine way is so crucial to our youth understanding and believing!

    • Alejandro Anchondo says:

      I was encouraged too. It is worse when things get left unaddressed and questions go unanswered. The generations to come will have new questions and new needs but the same Lord will provide the answers and solutions. This is one of the best things about knowing the Bible is the Sufficient Word of God. Not matter what comes our way we have what we need for our generation and the next. I am going to be a Dad in the next few weeks. I have the similar prayer you do. The best thing is that I can pray confidently because God answered and addressed all my questions and needs and will do the same for our children.

    • Sari Sue says:

      Autumn, having a good, healthy relationship with your kids is important too. A parent that cares about teaching his/her kids truth is likely to be an amazing mother or father. I teach in a small Christian school and the ability to learn, recognize, and accept truth is so obviously connected to home. My students who do not come through very nice homes are cynical, destructive, and tell so many lies/stories. It is heartbreaking. The students who have been loved and feel secure are so much more rational and are able to recognize the truth.

      • Autumn Duncan says:

        I couldn’t agree more. I saw the exact same thing in teaching. The students who came from a healthy home environment were completely different than the ones who came from a high level of dysfunction. I enjoy trying to teach those children boundaries and other important skills that were not being taught at home. Thank you for continuing to teach our next generation!

        • Sari Sue says:

          I enjoy it too. The most amazing changes have come from students who do not have a godly home but take the truth home from school. Praise God we have seen amazing changes in their parents!!

  • Kristie Gallagher says:

    So many good nuggets in this podcast. As Jeff and Matt talked about the importance of time management. Working full time, the importance of spending time with family, devotions and preparing for Bible study. Such an important principle in this busy time of life. Then Matt talked about all the pressure that young kids face now with sports, school, and extracurricular activities. We need to be an example to them of time management and spending time with the Lord as a high priority. The pressure for kids today is immense. Suicide is at an all time high and the confusion with gay marriage and LGBTQ. The youth need to be founded on the truth of what God’s word says. It is important that the difficult conversations are talked about with them having an open and honest conversation. Be willing to listen to their thoughts but constantly pointing them to God’s word because that is our truth and foundation. The culture is constantly changing but scripture remains the same.

    • Charlie Colleton says:

      Yes & Amen, Kristie! The sufficiency of the Word needs to be something that we all find ourselves leaning on — Ministers, Parents, and our Youth! Letting our youth know the importance of who and what God wants them to be; knowing that it is indeed possible to have our thoughts linked to and with His thoughts.

    • Alejandro Anchondo says:

      Hey Kristie,

      I totally agree that the culture around us is constantly changing. The Enemy always has new tactics and distractions for each generation. Scripture however is always the same declaring the truth of the Unchanging God. This is another reason why having good time management is so important. We need to have time to get with the Lord and be filled up by Him. We can’t pour into the Youth of our next generation if we aren’t filled up ourselves.

    • Melissa Hermosillo says:

      Kristie I love that you say open and honest conversations where we are willing to listen. The only reason why we wouldn’t have those conversations are because we don’t listen to them and they know it and feel it so the back away, which makes total sense! My prayer is that we become more accepting, because if we don’t they will have those conversations with someone else, and leave just as confused. So I love the whole open and honest conversation thing you just said! Thank you:)

  • Charlie Colleton says:

    As a full-time Young Adults & Youth Pastor, this segment really hit close to home for me. I have been involved in youth ministry for just about 10 years now, and have seen such a drastic change in the struggles of ministering to youth in our society. Going back to the beginning of the conversation though, when it comes to serving in youth ministry I have found, just as Matt has, the following to be crucial: Time Management, Intentionality, Discipleship, & Genuineness. We are living in such a sensationalized lustful generation, where pornography is free & right at our finger tips, as ministers (or even as a parent) we need to realize that we cannot pretend this is not happening and avoid discussing it. It needs to be handled in a real way, in a biblical way. When we disciple, the way that we choose to live our lives, how we choose to live above reproach, or not, speaks volumes to our youth. Reminding them, and ourselves, to be found “being about the King’s business,” like making personal devotions a priority. The things that we speak to our youth must be genuine, for instance, if I’m going to make it a point to press the importance of reading the Word every day, yet they never see me reading my Bible, why would they? Speak to them regarding their ability to be an example for those in their lives, even their parents. The Word speaks on our youth not being a hinderance to the things that God is capable of doing in and through our lives. The societal influence that surrounds us needs to be addressed on a regular basis, and we as the adults, have to be willing and ready to have the tough/hard conversations.

  • Melissa Hermosillo says:

    Standing for the truth means believing the bible is the absolute truth no matter what society is teaching us now. Not being afraid to speak the truth even if it means speaking against what people now are believing and even what students are standing up for. I think in youth ministry we often think everyone in the group thinks the bible is the absolute truth.. but that isn’t the case. And just like Pastor Matt Figgs said, people are bombarded with so many “truths” now and there is actual pressure on these kids to think and act a certain way, it is way too hard to believe in the scripture if we are not constantly being reminded of it. I need to be someone who stands up for the truth and remind them because when they are tired of believing in all those lies, they will give the truth a chance and they will find Jesus. So instead of being ashamed of thinking different, we must think it is an opportunity to remind them of the absolute truth that will set them free when they believe it and make it theirs.

    • Sari Sue says:

      Melissa, I think you’re completely right. The word says people believe by hearing God’s word but they are not going to experience the life change (God’s grace) until they make the decision to accept the absolute truth for themselves. The older you get, the easier it is to not care/not be ashamed about what other people think about you.

  • Ulyana says:

    I do agree with Pastor Matt when he mentioned that we are living in such dynamic of multi culture life and we do unfortunately try to allegories the Word of God into our own ways. As serving in Pro life ministry leading the Stork bus ultrasound sonography and counseling, to gave a free sonography to safe the baby, but most our focus to point parents to Christ… my heart is on discipleship and one and one counseling, it’s so essential for all us. We need to know where we stand with God and by whom authority we operate. I often say if we not put Christ in the center of our pregnancy center, it will be another plant parenthood center, and that is not what the Bible teach us. Only God can saves and redeem us. Our number one mission is make disciples. Jesus was creative in discipleship and we should be too! As a church is to be built up and is to mature into the fullness of Christ, and manifests the gifts of the Holy Spirit, it takes discipleship. And as a church, we want the youth to live a Christ-like life, there will be the need to take up the mandate of discipleship and discipling others with the word of God.

  • Sari Sue says:

    Pastor Matt was speaking specifically to middle and high schoolers but I can say that as a 31 year old, single woman the culture continues to pressure. I believe the culture, the enemy, and the flesh are going to pressure people no matter their age. My own personal experience has shown that some well-meaning Christians tend to get impatient (on my behalf?) for my being unmarried and having no children. I have had people suggest to me that the reason I haven’t met someone is because I am not going out to bars and other similar places. Godly men will not be found there. And although I believe they mean well, I have so much more in my life to offer than simply whether or not I got married since the last time I saw that person. Although the details are different, the same struggle remains as those faced by younger people…the pressure to fit a mold of what the world says you should be.
    On another note, I relate to the struggle with time management and personal devotion time. All of these basic issues are a struggle for people at every stage of life.

    • Erin Knorr says:

      Sari, great points! I hundred percent agree with you that the culture and the flesh is pressuring people no matter what their age. I can really relate to you. I also think you hit it spot on when you said that the younger people are pressured to fit into this mold of what the world says. Its interesting that their mold is more based on ‘do whatever you think is best for you’. Very much a selfish centered thought, if I am being honest.

      • Sari Sue says:

        It is TOTALLY a self-centered way of living. It is no wonder that it seems the majority of people are dissatisfied, discontent, and hungry for true peace. “The heart is deceitful..”

  • Erin Knorr says:

    This was a great Podcast that talked about really practical things that are happening in the culture today. It was interesting hearing the perspective of the youth from a Youth Pastor and his take on it. I would agree with him, that right now this idea that ‘we should do as we feel is right’, to do whatever feels right to yourself, is very popular right now. Whether that is ‘loving’ whoever they want to love or doing whatever they feel is right. Which as both Pastor Matt and Pastor Jeff pointed out this is very opposite of what the Bible says.

    One thing that really stood out to me when listening to this, is youth group should be fun, but it should not be an entertainment. Meaning that the heart behind it should be motivated by discipleship. I think it is important that we talk about what is going on today in the culture and how to live out a biblical life in the midst of all this darkness. Because being a youth is hard in todays culture. Because being in high school is such a impressionable age and it is sweet to see the heart that Pastor Matt has for the youth. It was really encouraging. To really encourage our youth to have a devotional life.

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