Language Matters | Josh Sperry

Language matters - josh sperry

I recently read a book that I highly recommend called Axiom by Bill Hybels. It is full of powerful leadership proverbs that are both moving and challenging.

But one chapter in particular captivated my attention. The chapter was simply called Language Matters. Bill Hybels will take weeks to come up with one word that will change a vision statement from a slogan to something that captures the heart and attention of every individual that hears it.

For example, the 3 core values at his church are evangelism, discipleship, and compassion. We have heard these all in different ways in the church. But the core value of compassion is explained this way: “to unleash unprecedented amounts of compassion into our broken world.” This statement captivated me! It makes you want to be a part of putting it to action.

Our language and the words we use matter. Our words can take a crucial conversation with a coworker from being offensive and changing the relationship negatively to being a crucial conversation that gains respect and also results you were hoping for. Our language can take a conversation in discipline with our children from being hurtful to bringing hope and positive change. My language as a pastor can bring a vision statement from being something people have heard before to a vision statement that captivates the hearts of the church and moves them to action for God’s kingdom. Language matters.

“My language as a pastor can bring a vision statement from being something people have heard before to a vision statement that captivates the hearts of the church and moves them to action for God’s kingdom.”

I am reminded in James 3:3-5, “We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mount. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way,

the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.” Our tongue is the most powerful tool we have in our arsenal. But used wisely, it can do incredible things. Today, think about the words that you use in conversation and life. They have the power to do great things and make an eternal difference. Spend the time today to think through the power of your words. Our language matters!

Today, think about the words that you use in conversation and life.”


Josh Sperry is the youth pastor at Life Church Tricities

Follow him on twitter: @joshuasperry

By |February 4, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

4 Reasons Why We Do NW Youth Conf (and you should to)

NW Youth Conference is just around the corner. Each year students from across Washington and North Idaho come together for a weekend that is designed to be much more than another church gathering. Here are 4 reasons why we do NW Youth Conference:

1. IT’S FUN.
I’m sure some of you were expecting a more spiritual reason up top. Probably bummed out that I didn’t go with a classic “Sunday School” answer. But lets be honest…God enjoys it when His people are having fun. One of the reasons we do NW Youth Conference is so students can have some fun…together…with students from all across the region.

One of the ways NW Youth Conference impacts us is we leave understanding that we are a part of something BIGGER than just us. I think this is important for students to understand. Often, young people can feel like they are all alone in this thing called Christianity. Being in an environment of a few thousand people worshiping Jesus helps put things in perspective.

It is healthy for our student ministries to understand this as well. God is moving throughout the Northwest and beyond. We are a part of something much bigger than just us. We are a part of God’s Kingdom!

We want students and leaders to be inspired. Inspired by how great God’s love is for them. Inspired that the Gospel is for them. Inspired that the message that has changed their life can change the life of someone else.

Everything that goes into NW Youth Conference is about seeing lives transformed. When you get a student (or a youth pastor/leader for that matter) in an environment where Jesus is the focal point, lives are changed. Every year we see students put their faith in what Jesus has done for them. Every year we see leaders and youth pastors refreshed and encouraged. Every year we see God do what only He can do – TRANSFORM lives.

We would love for you to be a part of NW Youth Conference this year!

Here is some more info about the event:
October 11-12
New Life Church – Renton, WA

Scotty Gibbons
Al Force
Mark Zweifel
Tyler Sollie

United Generation

Special Guests:
Nick Vitellaro
And More…

By |September 24, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

5 Phrases Every Youth Pastor Needs to Use

Here are 5 Phrases that I think every youth pastor should learn to have in their vocabulary.


I remember the pressure I felt first stepping into my first staff position.

“I need to have all the answers… And asking for help is a sign of weakness, and if I show weakness no one will follow me, and if no one will follow me, I will lose all my MySpace friends.”

We all need to swallow our pride and ask someone who has been in the game for a while. Quit trying to do it all the hard way. If someone can help you, lean in to their wisdom.


Those words go further than you think. As simple as they may be, they still have a powerful and profound impact on the recipient.

When was the last time you said “thank you” to your lead pastor for believing in students enough to have you on their team? When was the last time you thanked an elder or board member for their investment in the life of your church? When did you last thank a parent for trusting you with THEIR kid?

How about your interns, youth staff, students…or Jesus?


This is different than that casual, “How are ya?” as you walk past someone not expecting an answer, but just trying to be nice statement. Do you find yourself stoping and taking an interest in how OTHER people are doing? It is healthy for us to care about other people. As youth pastors, it is important for us to care about how other youth pastors and leaders in our city or relational networks are doing. For some of us it might be a good thing to stretch our selves to take an interest in others beyond the boarders of our current relational network.

When was the last time you took an interest in them beyond the numbers they are running, the event they had, etc., and simply just cared about their condition?


4. NO.
This is an area that many of us can be weak in. Now before you take this thought too far I want to bring clarity to what I mean. I am not saying that we should all learn to say NO to everything we don’t want to do. If that is your heart and spirit, you wont be in ministry very long. There are things we all simple HAVE to do.

I think youth pastors need to learn to say NO to the things they SHOULDN’T DO. Learn to say no to areas that will waste your time. Learn to say no to things that keep you focused from the main thing. Learn to say no to doing everything yourself. Learn to say no to holding on to bitterness, a bad attitude or unhealthy habits.


This phrase can be a difference maker. I have seen situations in my life and in others that could have turned out completely different if a little humility was involved and the words “I’m sorry” were used. No one gets it perfect every time. You are going to let people down. You gain credibility when you learn to own your mistakes instead of deflecting them.



Tyler Sollie
Tyler SollieNetwork Youth Director
Tyler is the Network Youth Director for the Northwest Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God. His passion is to help people know Jesus and make Him known.
By |July 25, 2013|Blog|0 Comments