Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Youthworkers, We Must Pull Together!

Sometimes the brightest events flow for the darkest hours.

The last week has been dark for Coppell, Texas.  Coppell is a small suburban town on the northwest side of Dallas and where many IBC (my home church) families live.  One week ago today (Sunday, October 14) we received information that a senior from Coppell High School was missing and feared dead after cliff diving at a nearby lake.

That evening hundreds of students gathered at the football stadium to pray for and remember Jacob Logan, starting safety for the Coppell Cowboys.

As you can imagine the next 2 days were spent counseling students, parents, teachers and our own hearts.  Events like these seldom make sense.  One junior girl told me that she didn’t blame God, but she wasn’t a real big fan of what he was doing.  I concur. 

By Tuesday afternoon the body of Jacob was still missing.  As we were praying for peace and closure the unthinkable happened.  Jonah Blackwell, also a senior at Coppell, took his life.

Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning and the rest of the week were spent trying to understand in my own mind what God was up to while answering tough questions from students.  You can imagine.

Is it ok for me to be angry with God?
Why is God doing this?
Of all the people, why does God take the best?

I have a lot of thoughts on grief and God and suicide and many other topics, but that’s not where this is going.

You see, although the week has been exhausting there have been some great things happen that wouldn’t have otherwise, not least of which is the simple and beautiful truth that I didn’t have to walk through last week alone.

The youth workers in and around Coppell have always liked each other and many times grabbed some coffee together.  But these events have brought us together in a fresh miraculous way.  From Baptist, to Church of Christ, to Methodist, to Non-Denom, to Catholics, we’ve basically walked this journey together.

I’ve been a youth pastor for 25 years and have advocated and begged for churches to work together for the sake of the community and the Kingdom, but I’ve never seen God do anything like this.

Sunday night at the football stadium, (the night Jacob went missing) I was not alone.  There were at least 10 of us together developing a game plan of how we were going to encourage one another along with hundreds of students. 

Monday morning at Coppell High School, I was not alone.  We were together loving and praying for students.

Tuesday night at the local pavilion, I was not alone.  While trying to comfort students who didn’t understand why a second friend was gone, we were there together.

Thursday morning at the memorial service for Jonah, I was not alone.  We were there together.

This short note from an area youth pastor echoes the heart of many youthworkers in our area.

Hey Team,

I wanted to send a follow up on the day since we were all going in the same but different directions yesterday.  Let us continue to be present on campus in the days to come.  I will be present at lunches for sure and we need to have some presence at New Tech as well.  I know we can't all be there all day but as you can swing by the campus please do so.  God orchestrated some Big things yesterday with Christian students stepping up and leading out in their classrooms and teachers and coaches being bold with the Gospel.  I am grateful for each and every one of you and your involvement yesterday and in the days to come.  God is BIG and yesterday He used each and every one of you in a unique and "just right" way.  We are all uniquely connected to the Logan family and/or the situation.  As a result we really need to be diligent to share information about search details, services details, kids who need care, adults or administrators who need care, organized vigils or gatherings so we are not competing with one another but coming alongside one another etc.  I am humbled to have linked arms to serve our God by serving our community together.  I am blown away at the reality that WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER.

I often times get caught up in the weekly stuff that I neglect building and maintaining relationships with those doing the same things in the same town.  Forgive me for not playing my part in galvanizing the group of youth workers around the cause of Christ in Coppell.  The ONE Network needs some new life and I am committing to help make that happen.  Who's with me?!


What we did together wasn’t really rocket science.  All you can really do during these times is be present, pray and listen.  That’s what we did and it was so good to do it together.

There’s a lot of work to be done in the next days and there are already dozens of stories I could share of how God is using all this for his fame and Kingdom, but the main story I want to tell is this.  There is power in churches and especially youthworkers coming together to serve with one heart.

I’m so thankful there was a great level of trust and relationship before all this went down and even more thankful those relationships have deepened over the last week.

So I have to ask.  Are you connected?  If and when (it will come) tragedy comes to your community will you be able to serve along side other youthworkers?  Can I encourage you to begin to lay the relational foundation now?  Reach out and spend time with other youthworkers in your area.

I don’t know how we would have dealt with the tragedy of last week if youthworkers were not willing and eager to work and pray together. 

We truly are better together.

BTW, if you want some great ideas about building a group in your community check out these videos from the National Network of Youth Ministries.  They're there to help.


  1. Thanks for your blog, David. It was a really rough week, but I enjoyed getting to sit and visit with you in the cafeteria, introducing our kids to each other and partnering in ministry. I loved how there was permission extended (without anything being said) to all of our students of faith to be in community with one another. I'm seriously hoping we can build on that and go from there. Thanks for your thoughts and your friendship.


  2. It was a good time. Who knows what God is going to do in the next days. AND to get to work beside you was cool too.